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Kelleher insists U16 Improvement needed to help realise Euro dream

IRELAND'S U16 boys head coach Paul Kelleher believes a lot of improvement is needed ahead of the European Championships despite their 71-32 recent success over Wales.

The Boys in Green continued their preparations for their European Championship Men Division B assault with a friendly game with the Welsh at the National Basketball Arena last weekend.

"Overall, I think it was a poor performance for our guys," said Kelleher. "We lacked a lot of intensity and weren't getting in the passing lanes. However, we have three weekends to get better and prepare for Estonia.

"We definitely need to work on making better decisions on the perimeter, but these are why we play these pre-tournament games," he added. "We have a lot of work to do but I'm sure we will be ready when we travel to Estonia."

Ireland certainly need all the preparation they can get as they get ready to face the might of England, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Belarus when they travel to the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

Also at the weekend, it proved to be a case of mixed fortunes for Ireland's U16 Development squad, with a double overtime defeat to Wales followed up with a thumping 58-36 success on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, Cork, Belfast and Dublin are continuing preparations for the visit of US college basketball giants University of Pittsburgh later this month and the beginning of August. Neptune head coach Pat Price believes the visit of Pittsburgh is a huge boost to basketball in this country.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to host University of Pittsburgh," said Price. "Jamie Dixon has done an outstanding job at Pitt, making them one of the elite programmes in America. They use the international trips as a preparation tool for their seasons, and for them to play six games during their tour of Ireland is quite valuable."

The fabulous DCU Sports Complex is the venue for the Dublin leg of the trip with Pittsburgh set to take on an Irish XL on Tuesday, August 3 (7.30pm) before facing treble champions Killester on Wednesday, August 4 (7.30pm). Check out www.basketballireland.ie for further details. Earlier, this month this year's Basketball Ireland Annual Award winners were announced in a special 'time out' on Basketball Ireland.


Young Referee of the year: Karen O'Neill (Dublin). Referee of the Year: David Caballé (Cork). Men's Underage Schools Coach of the Year: Marie O'Toole (Presentation College, Bray). Women's Underage School Coach of the Year: Joe Shields (Calasanctius College, Oranmore). Male Underage Schools Player of the Year: Lorcan Murphy (Presentation College, Bray). Female Underage Schools Player of the Year: Carol McCarthy (Calasanctius College, Oranmore). Boys School of the Year: Presentation College, Bray. Girls School of the Year: Calasanctius College, Oranmore. Young International Female Player of the Year: Rheanne O'Shea (St Paul's, Kerry). Young International Male Player of the Year: Roy Downey (Neptune, Cork). Senior Men's International Player of the Year: Conor Grace (Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden, Netherlands). Senior Women's International Player of the Year: Susan Moran (St Joseph's University, USA). Male Collegiate Player of the Year: Cian Nihill (NUI Galway). Female Collegiate Player of the Year: Niamh Dwyer (UCC). Male Senior Player of the Year: Declan Wall (Team Garvey St Mary's, Kerry). Female Senior Player of the Year: Tammy McKenna (Oblate Dynamos, Dublin). Men's Senior Coach of the Year: Brian Clernon (Team Garvey St Mary's, Kerry). Women's Senior Coach of the Year: Cormac O'Donoghue (Scruffy St Paul's, Kerry). Female U20 Player of the Year: Valerie O Driscoll (AOS Security Glanmire, Cork). Male U20 Player of the Year: Liam Conroy (Maree, Galway). Women's SuperLeague Coach of the Year: Mark Ingle (DCU Mercy, Dublin). Men's SuperLeague Coach of the Year: Vincent O Keeffe (DCU Saints, Dublin). Women's SuperLeague Player of the Year: Lindsay Peat (DCU Mercy, Dublin). Men's SuperLeague Player of the Year: Stuart Robbins (UL Eagles, Limerick). Volunteer of the Year: Paul Meany. Irish Wheelchair Player of the Year: Pat O'Neill (Kilkenny). Tom Collins Award: Jimmy Diggins (Mercy Mounthawk, Kerry). President's Award: Margaret Miley (Templeogue, Dublin). Team of the Year: Killester Men's SuperLeague Team (Dublin). Club of the Year: UCD/Marian (Dublin).