Deng doubts for GB
Bulls star may focus on NBA career
Last Updated: 07/08/12 12:25pm
Luol Deng: Might not play for Team GB again
Luol Deng has raised doubts over whether he will play for Great Britain again after helping the team to victory over China.
Britain prevailed 90-58 on Monday to record only their second-ever Olympic win, the only other coming the last time London hosted the Games in 1948 against Ireland.
It proved an emotional night all round for the team, with coach Chris Finch confirming his intention to step down while veterans Robert Archibald and Nate Reinking retired.
But the biggest blow would come if Deng was lost to the British team.
Deng played this summer against the wishes of his Chicago Bulls paymasters, who wanted him to have surgery on a wrist injury suffered in January.
While 27-year-old Deng won that battle in order to live his Olympic dream, he indicated he might give priority to his NBA career now that the Games are over for Britain's basketball teams.
"I can't sit here and say I'm going to play for GB," Deng said when asked if he planned to continue his international career.
"It depends on the situation, what's going on. I love playing for GB and hopefully I'll play for them again in the future."
Deng has insisted his wrist was fine throughout, and there was certainly no sign of a problem as he turned in a string of excellent performances for Britain, averaging 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
"Did I look like I needed surgery?" Deng said. "I'm fine right now. I feel great. There are a lot of things I need to improve in my game right now and that's what I'm focused on."
Deng has been the face of the team since making his debut in 2007, an inspirational leader on and off the court.
His commitment to date has never been in doubt, but much of that has been based on his dream of becoming an Olympian.
Asked if he had regrets about insisting on playing this summer, Deng said: "No. If the Olympics is next month, I'm playing again.
"I'm enjoying it and it's something nobody will ever take away from me. I'm always going to remember this moment, walking out for the opening ceremonies and playing with guys I played with my whole life.
"Seeing my parents out there and (youth coach) Jimmy (Rogers), I can't explain it. It's one of those stories, if I missed the Olympics, I'd always think about that."
Britain's victory over China came after defeat in their previous four games but Deng believes they can be happy with their efforts.
"I had a lot of fun out there," he said. "We could have done better at winning, but I'm happy I was out there and playing, and it felt good to win (against China).
"I thought we played well. We still have a lot of learning to do, we have some young guys. We put ourselves in positions to win and for some guys it's a new situation so hopefully we learn something from that.
"But we were definitely in every game. We competed hard and I think we'll get better from there."