LONDON 2012: Freeland given taste of NBA after defeat to USA in Manchester
NEW NBA man Joel Freeland admitted Great Britain's heavy Olympic basketball warm-up defeat to USA has given him a taste of what to expect next season.
STATES-BOUND: Great Britain basketballer Joel Freeland is excited about what is to come after making the move to the NBA next season
Freeland, who will join the Portland Trail Blazers, was part of Chris Finch's team that lost 118-78 to the superstars from the NBA at the Manchester Arena on Thursday night - including LeBron James, last season's MVP.
But Freeland insists that while he is excited about rubbing shoulders with the best the game has to offer, his focus is on the Olympics with Team GB.
"Of course this has given me a taste of what I can expect next season," said the Surrey-born 27-year-old.
"You can and you can't take a lot from this match. These are the best players in the league, but they're playing all at once, which is a little bit different.
"It's still given me an indication of the type of players I'm going to be coming up against next season and I need to be ready for it.
"For me, it's good that I got to play against this team ahead of going into the NBA.
"Obviously, I'm starting to be excited, but I'm not thinking about that too much now. I'm thinking about the Olympics and what we're going to do.
"We're focusing on Russia and preparing ourselves for that game. I've got time to prepare myself for the NBA - plenty of time after the Olympics to get myself ready, but at the moment, I'm just focusing on doing well at the Olympics."
Freeland, who has also played league basketball in Spain, was left with mixed emotions after the exhibition match with the USA.
He was left unhappy about the standard of his own performance, but was delighted to see a capacity crowd that gives a taste of what's to come at the Games in London.
"I've just got to look back at the tape to see the things I've done wrong during the game and learn from it - that's all you can do," he said.
"Things go like that - sometimes you have good games and bad games. Unfortunately I had a bad game, but still you can't get down on yourself all the time.
"You've got to pick yourself back up, stay positive and concentrate on the next game and correct the little things you did wrong.
"The home crowd were amazing, they boost you when you've got no energy and you get tired, it's going to be huge at the Olympics."
Meanwhile, Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng - Great Britain's talisman - believes the match against his NBA peers shows just how far British basketball has come, but he still expects the USA to win gold in London.
He said: "I think America are clear favourites. Every guy in that team can walk into another team in the country. Their bench could be a starting five and not a lot of teams could do that.
"For British basketball, we took a step forward. A lot of people will look at the score, but to get the respect of those guys to put on a fantastic show, we've really come a long way."
© Sportsbeat 2012