One of North East basketball’s hottest prospects will take on Europe’s biggest names after sealing his place in the national team for a second successive summer.
Newcastle Eagles Academy star Tosan Evbuomwan broke into the Great Britain Under 18 squad last season as a raw rookie with bags of potential.
And 12 months on the teenage sensation – set for a high profile move to top US college Princeton later this year – has been tipped to take the 2019 FIBA European Championships by storm.
“Tosan will be expected to play a far bigger role this summer,” admitted GB Under 18 assistant coach Ian Macleod.
“He’s had a good year on the back of his performances in the EABL and Division One and he’s matured considerably as a player.”
Macleod knows Evbuomwan better than most with the Newcastle Eagles assistant coach playing a key role in the teenager’s development through the junior ranks.
And he believes the 6ft 6in Royal Grammar School pupil has learnt the lessons of last summer’s baptism of fire in Latvia.
“In many ways Tosan’s involvement with the Under 18s last summer was a shock to the system,” added Macleod. “I think Tosan would admit that he struggled a little bit at the start with the step up to international level. It was an eye-opener for him.
“But he adapted well and he’ll return a much more effective and experienced player.”
Evbuoman was named one of Sport Newcastle’s Rising Stars earlier this year and heads to NCAA Division One Princeton following a breakout season with Team Newcastle in the second tier of British basketball.
“He’s had a huge year on and off the court but Tosan’s always been good at time management and getting his life balance right,” explained Macleod. “He’s a very laid-back character and never lets anything get on top of him.
“I fully expect him to enjoy the experience this summer before he heads off to college.”
Great Britain face reigning champions Serbia, a highly-rated German team and two-time winners Turkey in Greece next month.
And Macleod is predicting a thorough examination of his players’ credentials against three of the continent’s leading outfits.
“It’s a tough competition and tough draw,” he admitted ahead of GB’s opening Group A fixture against Turkey on July 27.
“The tournament features some of the best young players in the world and a few of them are being drafted this summer. Serbia and Germany are golden generation squads and Turkey are always huge.
“It will be a true test of the guys but we’re all relishing it.”
Evbuoman has been named in a 17-man preliminary squad but is fully expected to make the final cut following a training camp and pre-Championship friendlies in France.
Macleod, meanwhile, already has one eye on the future as he prepares to assist at his third consecutive Under 18 competition.
“It’s the third year for me with GB but nobody dreams of being the backup,” he added. “I’ve loved every minute but hopefully this will be my last year as an assistant!”