Former Leopard lines up for GB

Former Leopard Josh Steel will be hoping to lead Great Britain to success in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this week.

The Harlow-born guard was the youngest player to ever start in a Division One play-off final when he helped the Big Cats win the treble in 2012 aged just 15.

Having also played for Leopards’ Division One rivals Kent Crusaders followed by a short spell at American college Duquesne, Steel now played for British Basketball League side Surrey Heat.

The 21-year-old has been included in a 14-man GB squad for a pair of must-win games in Glasgow this weekend with Britain hosting Estonia on Friday before Israel visit on Monday.

Steel was surprisingly overlooked for the England squad who were overshadowed by neighbours Scotland in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, but Britain will rely on Steel to play a key role as they look for the two wins which will send them through to the second stage of qualifying with a place in China next year being their goal.

The 6’5” player learned his basketball at Harlow Hawks before moving on to Barking and then Leopards, and averaged 9.7 points 4.2 rebounds and 2.9assists for Scorchers this season as they surprised most observers by finishing fifth in the BBL.