Finch finishes reign in style
August 7, 2012 09:58 am
Great Britain's men's basketball coach Chris Finch and two of his most senior players have walked away on a high after helping the team claim their first Olympic victory since 1948.
Finch confirmed after the 90-58 win over China his intention to step down as Britain coach, while Robert Archibald retired from the game and Nate Reinking stepped away from international basketball - although he already sounded like a man having second thoughts afterwards.
"We answered every challenge thrown at us. We fell a little short in (the Olympics) and that's disappointing because I felt like we were in line for a breakthrough summer, but it's been incredibly satisfying personally and professionally," Finch said.
The former Sheffield Sharks coach, who has now risen to the rank of assistant with the Houston Rockets in the NBA, is leaving to put more focus on his career in the United States, but was able to reflect on the remarkable progress British Basketball has made since he took the job in 2006.
"The odyssey has been an amazing one," he said of his time with Britain. "I said at the beginning the challenge was to build something here. That's what I took the job for but I never thought I'd still be here seven years later."
Reinking, 38, has not ruled out a return at club level, although he has no club lined up for next season. And as he talked to reporters in the wake of the win, he already seemed to be wavering on his retirement.
"We have been through a lot of wars together," he said through a few tears. "It was good to go out on a win. It makes me more hungry and want to keep playing because we are almost there and I just want to get over that hill."
Archibald, a former NBA star with the Memphis Grizzlies and three other teams, walks away from the game at the age of 32.
But his likely successor at centre, Eric Boateng, could not understand why Archibald was leaving so soon.
"I don't know what's wrong with him," Boateng said with a smile. "He could play for another 10 years. For me, he's definitely a leader and his experience is very important to us young guys."
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