OG Anunoby willing to represent Team GB in the future

OG Anunoby

Londoner OG Anunoby has opened the door to a Great Britain basketball career after leaping to stardom with the Toronto Raptors.

Anunoby, 20, is already making waves in the NBA after becoming only the fourth British-born player to be drafted since 2004 after Ben Gordon, Joel Freeland and Ryan Richards.

New GB coach Tony Garbelotto this week named his first squad for the FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifiers with Greece and Estonia.

Anunoby, who left Britain as a four-year-old, was not in it as he is busy making a name for himself as a rookie in Toronto.

But the small forward, a Manchester United fan who still has family in London, revealed he has been asked to suit up – and could one day represent GB.

He would certainly be a big boost for a programme currently missing the likes of LA Lakers star Luol Deng and retired former skipper Drew Lawrence.

Anunoby said: “Yeah, people asked. I’m not sure yet. It’s something I will definitely consider. I still have family over there. I’m going back in the summer.

“My dad’s a big Arsenal fan. But right now I like Manchester United. I don’t remember much about London. I was pretty young. But I remember it raining a lot!”

Anunoby was regarded as a risky pick when the Raptors, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference with 9/5 win/loss record at the time of writing, chose him with the 23rd pick in the draft.

Anunoby

He suffered a season-ending knee injury playing for the Indiana Hoosiers earlier this year, but Toronto took a chance and have been rewarded.

The 6’ 8” small forward has enjoyed a stellar start to life in the pros, and had 16 pts on 6-8 shooting in a 129-113 win over the Houston Rockets earlier this week – his first start in the NBA.

Tasked with guarding five-time All-Star James Harden, he helped hold one of the game’s most potent offensive weapons to just 8-25 from the field.

Down the stretch, he even hit Toronto’s first field goal in more than three minutes on a 3-pointer which helped them see out the game against one of the best teams in the league.

Now, fans in the UK will get a chance to see him in prime time when the Raptors face the Washington Wizards on Sunday – and so will his sisters.

Anunoby said: “They usually have to stay up late for games so at least this time they won’t have to. It’s a goal of mine to inspire kids in Britain so it’s good they’ll get to see me.”

Born in Harlesden to Nigerian parents, he was raised from the age of four in Missouri, and has an older brother playing in the NFL.

But he credits his Arsenal mad dad with helping to get him where he is now, saying: “My dad always preached discipline.

“He told me to always put in my best effort, be respectful in everything I do. It’s really important to me.

“I played soccer when I was younger. In the States too. But I stopped in Year eight and I grew a whole lot.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey isn’t complaining. He told the Toronto Star: “The young fella has no fear and that’s what we love about him.

“Does he make mistakes? Yes. And our job now is grow him, cut down on some of his ‘oh crap’ moments that give up a three-point shot or backdoor, whatever it is. We have the patience to do that with him.”

NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K18’ on BT Sport – a live NBA game every Sunday at 8.30pm. This week on November 19th the Toronto Raptors will host the Washington Wizards on BT Sport 3.

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