Gareth Murray discusses GB Men’s upcoming EuroBasket qualifying double-header

Scotland and Glasgow Rocks’ Gareth Murray will once again represent Great Britain as their EuroBasket 2021 qualifying campaign begins in Podgorica this evening.

GB make the step up to the EuroBakset qualifiers, and a group that contains France, Germany and Montenegro, following on from last year’s Pre-Qualifier success. Despite the progression, Murray insists the squad feel the same heading in to any game, regardless of the opposition.

“It’s the same feeling as always when you are playing against most teams at this level. We are the underdog and we must play perfect team basketball to give us a chance of winning games.”

Following on from Friday’s opener in  Montenegro, GB return home to face Germany, who are ranked 18th in the world, on Monday night.

“Germany are a physical and well drilled team that have many skilled, high level players. As with every game, you must go in with mindset you are going to win.” he added.

“The team strengths are our speed and athleticism. We need to play team defence and play with pace and good ball movement on offence. We have to make them work on offence not give them easy transition points and play smart team defence. In offence, we have to be aggressive while sharing the ball making the extra pass to make them scramble on defence.”

With Newcastle’s Eagles Community Arena providing a court slightly closer to home, Scottish fans have the opportunity to travel and support both Murray and the team.

“It’s great playing in different parts of the country giving fans the opportunity to see high level basketball. There possibly could be more people taking the two to three-hour trip to watch the game.”

The Scot joins up with GB from a Glasgow Rocks side in red-hot form, currently sitting top of the BBL Championship after 12 games. The forward believes there are a several similarities, as well as differences, playing internationally compared to domestically.

“The differences are the players are bigger, stronger and more skilled at this level. The similarities are we both play a lot of middle and side ball screens actions. Defence is the same idea of helping from the baseline with the same rotations and ball screen coverages.”

With Murray approaching 60 caps for GB, the 35-year-old offered some advice for young Scottish players looking to follow in his footsteps.

“My advice to anyone wanting to move up levels, you must work on the fundamentals of basketball.  You must continue working on your strengths, but most importantly work on the things you’re not so good at. The more hours you can commit to getting better the hard work will pay off.  Only practicing three to four hours a week is not enough to become a better fundamentally skilled player.”

A limited number of tickets are still available for the game, which tips at 8pm on Monday night. Tickets for the game can be found online here.