Irish senior men’s head coach, Jay Larranaga, has named his squad ahead of the start of their European qualifiers next weekend (Saturday, August 15).
The side will entertain Sweden (Saturday, August 15) and Luxembourg (Saturday, August 22) at the National Basketball Arena, while they face Georgia (Wednesday, August 19) and the Slovak Republic (Saturday, August 29) on their travels.
A number of players plying their trade domestically have been named in the squad including Nivea For Men’s Superleague Player of the Year Colin O’Reilly, while Ulster Elks guard Ian O’Boyle and DART duo Paddy Kelly and Michael Westbrooks are also included.
Vastly experienced campaigner Conor Grace has been named captain in a season which saw him help Greek side Ilysiakos gain promotion into the first league. Larranaga has also brought Bryan Mullins of Sasp JL Bourg Basket into the fold, while Jason Killeen is also included after an excellent season in the USA.
Larranga said: ‘We are very optimistic about these second round of qualification games.
‘We understand that it will be very difficult to qualify, but we are encouraged by the progress we made over the 4 games last year.’
He added: ‘Jason killeen and Michael Williams will give us some much needed depth inside particularly against Sweden and Georgia who hurt us last year with their interior scoring and rebounding.
‘Bryan Mullins is an outstanding playmaker and lockdown defender who will greatly improve our overall team chemistry and defence. Colin O'Reilly should build upon his MVP season in the Superleague and continue to grow into one of the team leaders.
‘Conor Grace also had an excellent year in Greece and will anchor our team with his selfless play and toughness.’
Ireland’s two homes games will form part of a double header with the Irish senior women’s side, with their game against Montenegro opening proceedings next Saturday at 2:30pm.
Ireland senior men's squad:
4 Aaron Westbrooks/Trinity College, Conneticut 6ft 4"Forward
5 Jason Killeen/Augusta State Jaguars 6ft 10"Centre
6 Ian O’ Boyle/Ulster Elks 6ft 3" Guard
7 Isaac Westbrooks/Leicester Riders 6ft 3" Guard
9 Jay Larranaga/Basket Caserta (Italy) 6ft 3" Guard
10 Colin O’Reilly/UCC Demons 6ft 6" Forward
12 Bryan Mullins/Sasp JL Bourg Basket (France) 6ft 1” Guard
13 Michael Williams/awaiting club 6’10” Centre
14 Conor Grace/Ilysiakos (Greece) 6ft 9" Forward
15 Justen Naughton/ Evessa (Japan) 6ft 9" Forward
21 Michael Westbrooks/DART Killester 6ft 4" Guard
24 Paddy Kelly/DART Killester 6ft 2” Guard
Head Coach: Jay Larranaga
Assistant Coach: Mark Keenan
Assistant Coach: Pat Price
Team Manager: Fiona Robinson
Captain: Conor Grace
15/8/09 Ireland V Sweden, Dublin, 5:00pm
19/8/09 Georgia V Ireland, Tbilsi, 7:00pm
22/8/09 Ireland V Luxembourg, Dublin, 5:00pm
29/8/09 Slovak Republic V Ireland, Levice, 6:00pm
European Basketball Qualifiers
20th Sep 2008; National Basketball Arena, Tallaght
Ireland 88 80 (46) (C Bracey 22, C Grace 20, D McGrath 15) Slovakia 95 80 (50) (R Rancik 24, M Sykora 16, R Lesko 16) AFTER OVERTIME
13th Sep 2008; Away
Luxembourg 70 (34) (T Schumacher 26, P Rajniak 12, F Muller 11) Ireland 97 (57) (I O’Boyle 19, D McGrath 18, C Grace 14, J Larranaga 14)
10th Sep 2008; National Basketball Arena, Tallaght
Ireland 77 (33) (Donnie McGrath 32, Colin O’ Reilly 15, Damian Matacz 10); Georgia 94 (37) (Victor Sanikidze 31, Tyrone Ellis 20, Zaza Pachulia 16)
6th Sep 2008; Away
Sweden 82 (29) (J Blom 19, J Jerebko 16, M Lindqvist 13) Ireland 63 (28) (C Bracey 18, D McGrath 17, C O'Reilly 11)