Update: Great Britain beat the Czech Republic, 87-68, on Saturday, and beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, 82-74, Wednesday. (9/1//08, 7:04 pm EDT)
First a correction. Reported to have signed with UPIM Bologna, Achara's basketball services were actually acquired by Pallacanestro Cantu.
The Italian club initially withdrew Achara from the British training camp in Belgium, but FIBA Europe rules stipulate that was incorrect. British Basketball was able to regain the 25-year-old's services with Pallacanestro Cantu's help.
British Basketball performance manager and former Duquesne men's basketball staffer Ron Wuotila said, "FIBA Europe regulations are crystal clear about players being released for international duty and going forward we will expect all clubs to follow those to a tee."
In opening action Wednesday night, Great Britain lost the 2009 EuroBasket qualifying opener to host Israel, 102-92, in overtime. Nate Reinking's free throw put Britain up, 85-83, with 3.4 seconds of regulation remaining. Meiro Tapiro, sent to the charity stripe on what Great Britain assistant coach Tony Garbelotto diplomatically termed a questionable foul against Reiking, sank both free throws to force OT. Israel scored nine of the final 10 points to seal the victory. GB's Luol Deng led all players with 30 points.
Achara will be available for Great Britain's next Division A, Group D competition against the Czech Republic game at the O2 Arena in London Saturday evening. The Czechs beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 70-56 in its first action of the qualifing competition. GB's next two games also will be in familiar surroundings -- in Birmingham and Liverpool.
- Achara's nickname is "Special K."
- Deng is referred to as a talisman in the BBL game story, "... Britain were (sic) still in the game with 100 seconds remaining – trailing 93-91 – when talisman Luol Deng fouled out, and the home side never looked back."
- Information from the Duquesne University, British Basketball League, British Basketball 24/7 and Eurobasket websites.