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Kapoulas Aims For U20 European Championship Glory

Bristol Flyers head coach and GB U20s assistant Andreas Kapoulas says this month’s European Under-20 Championships will present him and his GB squad with a great opportunity to build on their inaugural campaign at Division-A level.

Kapoulas returns for his second summer with the U20 National Team, alongside head coach Douglas Leichner, and fellow assistant James Vear.

“It’s a real pleasure to work with Douglas and James again this summer.” he told bristolflyers.co.uk,

“We have great chemistry as a coaching staff and we understand, respect and ultimately trust each other. I think that’s very important because the players can see it and they feed off it.”

The GB U20s flew out to Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, at the weekend ahead of the tournament, which gets under way on Tuesday, July 7th. The side also features three Bristol Flyers players in Tamas Okros, Deane Williams and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye, all fresh out of SGS College’s Basketball Academy, having each secured full-athletic scholarships in the States.

After an 11th place finish at last year’s tournament in Greece, Kapoulas is keen to build on the team’s first taste of Division-A Basketball.

“Team preparations have gone well,” he added. “We have a number of guys returning from last year and the leadership and experience of players like Luke Nelson has been truly beneficial to the whole group.”

The team linked up for training camp this week, after competing in the EuroHopes tournament having beaten Poland, before going down narrowly to Belgium and hosts Spain.

Kapoulas continued: “The loss to Spain showed us what we need to do to be more successful. As a coaching staff we were able to evaluate different aspects of our game and work on rotations and execution before we head to Italy.”

The team begin their campaign on Tuesday against Turkey, before facing Slovenia, Germany and Lithuania in the opening phase of the tournament.

“At the moment our full attention is on our first game against Turkey,” the Flyers coach said. “They have performed well over recent years and they have a number of talented players who have played together for a long time. They are defending their title from last year in Crete, and once again they are one of the favourites to go all the way.

“However, we really believe in our team, we take pride in our style of play and we want to represent Great Britain to the best of our ability.

All games in the U20 European Championships will be live streamed on YouTube.

Full details of the tournament in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy are available on the official website here.

U20 European Championship First Round (Lignano & Sabbiadoro)*

07/07/15 v Turkey 17.45 BST
08/07/15 v Slovenia 15.30 BST
09/07/15 v Germany 13.15 BST
11/07/15 v Lithuania 17.45 BST

*Further games will be scheduled and are dependent upon results of the opening phase.

Image credit: GB Basketball/Ville Vuorinen