Great Britain have moved up into the world’s top 25 in both the men’s and women’s rankings in the updated lists following the London Olympics.
The men rose twenty places to a new high of 23rd while the women leaped into 24th position from their pre-tournament 49th.
The ranking improvements reflect a truer sense of where GB are in the world having competed with the elite teams at the recent Olympics. On paper, a combined one win out of ten doesn’t look good for Great Britain but the performances on display were an indication of how far they have come since forming in 2005.
Finishing last in their group is by no means an embarrassment for the GB women in a group containing four of the world’s top ten teams. The women may not have won a game but three of their five defeats were by losing margins of less than ten points.
An historic win came close against France, the eventual silver medallists, but for three pointers in the dying seconds from Celine Dumerc on two occasions as GB fell to an agonising 80-77 defeat in overtime. Jo Leedham had a game high 29 points and finished the tournament as joint leading scorer in terms of points per game averages with 16.2.
The men managed to win their final game against China, who were a member of the world’s top ten before the rankings update. The emphatic 90-58 victory was Great Britain’s first Olympic win since their last appearance at a games in 1948.
GB were close to pulling off a major upset against Spain but fell short; losing 79-78 with a controversial final 7 seconds. Chris Finch’s men came within five points of Brazil and led Australia by fifteen points before a second half collapse.
The work begins now in the road to Rio with both GB teams needing to qualify by right for the next Olympics which will be the long-term goal. A re-building process will also begin for the men’s side as Finch has stepped down as GB coach with Nate Reinking and Robert Archibald announcing their retirements with others possibly following suit.
GB will compete in next year’s Eurobasket because of their participation in the Olympics and this will be a chance for both teams to justify their ranking and even attempt to break into the top 20. The draw for the men’s tournament, in Slovenia, will be held in November this year with qualifying starting tomorrow. The women’s qualifiers are complete and the draw, for the tournament in France, will be conducted on September 21st.