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

Leicester City's Wes Morgan (centre) celebrates after scoring against Manchester United

It’s funny how tribalism can consume you in football. Over the last few years, I imagine that most of us have been guilty of retreating into our respective corners of fandom, and with good reason: there isn’t a lot else to like.

16:53
Islington Police Warthogs RFC

Karl Latham gave Islington Police Warthogs belated cause for celebration by becoming their only try-scorer at the Commissioner’s Cup Sevens tournament on Sunday.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista celebrates Danny Welbeck's winner against Norwich

Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla of Arsenal (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Although they spurned the chance to win the league title, Arsenal Under-21s still have a chance to reach the top tier of second-string football via the play-offs.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
James Harris in action for Middlesex

Middlesex seamer James Harris feels squad rotation is essential if the club are to successfully negotiate a punishing schedule during the coming weeks.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Local league players and officials at Market Road with coaches Sarah Cleary (right, front row) and Natasha Ademakinwa (second from right, back row).

Female coaches are backing a campaign to give Islington girls what they never had – a genuine opportunity to play competitive football in the borough.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Islington & Camden Under-15s

Islington & Camden Under-15s gained revenge for their English Schools Trophy defeat as they won 3-2 at Barnet and clinched the Middlesex championship with two games to spare.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Islington CC cyclists in action

Islington Cycling Club plan to celebrate their third birthday and continue their expansion by establishing a junior section later this year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe