Luol Deng will play in his first EuroBasket this summer as the Great Britain national team was able to secure insurance for the Chicago Bulls forward. Deng announced the news on his foundation's website. Deng has played in EuroBasket qualifying for Great Britain, but the nation has struggled to make a dent in continental competition, largely due to injury and insurance problems for the team's two stars, Deng and Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon.
Great Britain has been granted an automatic berth to the 2012 London Olympics as the host nation, but a good showing at EuroBasket will do wonders for the team's confidence. EuroBasket 2011 begins on August 31 in Lithuania. Great Britain did avail itself well in qualifiers last summer, going 6-2 and quickly sewing up one of five automatic bids to EuroBasket.
But the British has a difficult task ahead, as their Group A features reigning champ Spain, host nation Lithuania and FIBA World Championship runner-up Turkey (plus Poland and a last-chance qualifier to be determined). Deng's availability is a massive boost to G.B.'s chances of a few wins in group play, but moving to the knockouts will be a tough task.