Search

Former Haringey youth basketball stars return to the capital for the Olympics

16:52 04 July 2012

GB basketball players Drew Sullivan (left) and Pops Mensah-Bonsu

GB basketball players Drew Sullivan (left) and Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Ian Tuttle

From the London Youth Games to the London Olympics – Drew Sullivan and Pops Mensah-Bonsu have come a long way since their formative years on the court.

Both men represented Haringey’s basketball team during their adolescence, taking on other boroughs in the capital’s annual Youth Games.

The pair eventually departed for America, with Sullivan going on to play in Spain, Germany, Russia and Cyprus.

The captain of Great Britain’s men’s team, the 32-year-old has been playing in England since 2010, and is currently contracted to the Leicester Riders.

Meanwhile 28-year-old Mensah-Bonsu - who grew up in Tottenham and attended St Thomas More School in Wood Green - has played 61 times in the American NBA for the likes of Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors, and now represents the Turkish outfit Besiktas Milangaz.

But the pair were back in London on Sunday as Team GB landed at Heathrow airport following a preparation camp in Houston, Texas – and the rapturous reception they received has only increased the anticipation ahead of the Games.

“It was awesome to come through and see all the fans waiting for us,” said Mensah-Bonsu, who started out as a junior at the Hackney White Heat club. “It is a real lift for the side to know how big the home support is for us.

“I can’t wait to play some games at home now that we have had a taste of the support we can expect from our fans this year.”

Sullivan, a former 100m and 200m athlete who competed at schools level in Haringey and started playing basketball with the Islington White Heat club in the 1990s, added: “It’s starting to hit home how close we are to the Olympics – it’s real now.”

Team GB’s warm-up games in Houston were hardly encouraging, as they suffered defeats in all of their five games against Nigeria, Lithuania, Russia and then Russia and Lithuania again.

“I was disappointed with my play personally against Lithuania, it was a major reason why we couldn’t get the job done,” said Mensah-Bonsu, who

“I shot 50 per cent from the free throw line and those stats are unacceptable for a player of my calibre. I joined the training camp a little late and I’m still integrating after a tough season in Turkey.

“The last two games, we had them – we just needed to make the right plays at the right time and that will come.”

Sullivan said: “We really missed Pops last year [at the Olympic trials] for the energy and leadership he brings.

“Having him back firing is like having a whole new player and it’s exciting to have our best players all fit and all on the court.

“Every year the team gets better and better. Our core groups has been together for four or five years now.”

Great Britain will spend the next few days at Team GB’s training camp in Loughborough, and will then continue their schedule of warm-up games when they take on France this weekend.

0 comments

Latest Islington Sports News

07:31
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

Most of the lads have got some relaxation over the last week or two – and now we’re re-energised and ready for the big push.

Yesterday, 13:15
Highgate captain Jake Sharland was dismissed for a duck in their defeat to Brondesbury on Saturday. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate skipper Jake Sharland expects no favours from neighbours Hornsey when his side attempt to clinch survival by beating them in Saturday’s derby showdown.

Yesterday, 07:11
Mesut Ozil (left) and Alexis Sanchez celebrate at Vicarage Road as Watford's Jose Holebas looks on

OK Arsenal fans, you can come out now…for the time being at least. The dismantling of Watford on Saturday evoked distant, pre-navel gazing memories of how things used to before Arsenal scrutiny became ‘hip’ in the football industry.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue

The match stats team at bettingexpert pored over the recent history of league contests between Arsenal and Watford – who meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday – and discovered that, while the Gunners secured a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last term, all of their goals came in the second half.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Times ABC's Jules Philips. Pic: Dieter Perry

Islington super-bantamweight Jules Phillips is getting ready to go to war – four months after leaving the Army behind.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

London Blitz chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy is determined to make amends for last year’s BritBowl defeat to London Warriors when the teams clash again in the end-of-season showpiece.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Arsenal promo

Here’s your chance to see the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg pull on the Arsenal shirt just one more time.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now