Last Updated: July 13, 2012 9:45pm
Chris Finch: Delighted with strength of British team
Great Britain coach Chris Finch believes he will send his best ever team on to the court for the Olympics.
Finch's team take on Portugal in Sheffield on Saturday and Sunday in their final warm-up games before they head to London.
As they prepare to play in front of a home crowd for the first time this summer, Finch proudly announced: "This is our best team, no doubt about it. We've never had Joel (Freeland), Dan (Clark), Pops (Mensah-Bonsu), Rob (Archibald) and Luol (Deng) all together and available on the same roster before."
Finch, enjoying a return to the city where he was a player and coach with the Sheffield Sharks, also believes that the mentality of the GB programme, as a whole, has never been stronger.
"One of the biggest things that has changed is the expectation to go out and win," he said. "That's huge.
"Our players, staff, coaches, they go out there and expect to win, and that's true at all levels now."
Chicago Bulls star Deng, who was part of the last GB team to play here in Sheffield when they beat Switzerland in 2007 to gain promotion to Europe's top tier, agreed with Finch that his was the best squad to date.
"We've come a long, long way," Deng said. "The Switzerland game we were still in Group B. Now we're competing with the best in the world. There's still some work to do, but we're definitely heading in the right direction.
"Back then, a lot of these guys weren't there. We had guys who were young, including me, just starting out. Now everybody here is a professional with experience."
Britain have lost all their warm-up games so far this summer, but the last two, close defeats to leading sides Spain and France, have given them cause for optimism.
"We're not worried about the results," Deng said. "Even though we lost those games we felt great about the direction we were going in. We're in a great position. Nobody expects us to do anything but us."
Even so, Deng is not happy with where the team is at. "No, but you could ask me that even during the Olympics and I'd say the same," he added. "I feel like we're the kind of team that will always be getting better, and will always feel like we can do better."
There, at least, he disagrees with Finch, who said his team might even be ahead of schedule in their preparations for London - for which he gives the likes of Deng credit.
"I think we're probably a little ahead of where we want to be, and I think the key is Luol's inclusion since day one," he said.
"Normally we get guys coming into camp at different times, but this year everybody who is here has been here since the start.
"Of course, there are still things we need to work on. We need to work on our late-game fitness, making plays when we're tired, and our execution and understanding.
"What we're trying to find right now is our rhythm. As a team we've had it for short amounts of time. We know what it will look like and feel like, now we just need to find it."
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
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