GB Basketball captain Drew Sullivan relishing USA test

06 March 2012 / 17:34

Great Britain basketball captain Drew Sullivan is targeting a shock victory over the USA when the two sides face each other in a one-off game before the Olympics.

The Leicester Riders small forward, who has captained the national side since 2006, believes the match against the number one ranked side in the world will set a benchmark and prove how much Team GB has improved in recent years.

Great Britain picked up their first ever Eurobasket tournament victories last year against Portugal and Poland, and Sullivan is hoping to push on further in the Olympic warm-up game which will be held in Manchester on July 19.

"I think it will be a good indication of where we are ahead of the Olympics," said Sullivan. "The USA team are ranked number one in the world and it's a good opportunity to play such a high-profile game in England.

"We're not ignorant enough to think that we're up there with them but we know we're making huge strides every year. The level of talent at training camps for the national team has got better every year and it will continue to do so this year and in the years to come. I think the gap is definitely closing.

"Our goal isn't to close the gap. Our goal is to be as good as these teams on a regular basis and hopefully surpass them."

Sullivan could be given the unenviable task of marking LA Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, one of the best players in the world.

However, Sullivan, who captained the Mersey Tigers to a treble in 2010-11, is ready for the challenge, adding: "I've had the opportunity to mark some of the best players in Europe so why not mark the best player in the world?

"It's going to be a huge challenge. To my mind, Kobe is the best player in the world at the moment. But you've got two choices - you either run away from the challenge or you stand up to it.

"Luckily I'm in a no-lose situation. If I get him to miss a couple of shots, I've done well."

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