Kyle Hosford says it’s a “great honour” to be named the new captain of the Irish senior men’s team, as head coach Mark Keenan selected his final 12-man squad for the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers Round 1, which start on Thursday.
The UCC Demons player replaces Jason Killeen, who retired from international basketball following their victory in the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries last August.
Hosford will lead Ireland for the upcoming campaign, which begins on Thursday against Cyprus in Nicosia, followed by a home game against Austria three days later at the National Basketball Arena.
Ireland head coach Mark Keenan said: “This is a natural progression for Kyle, after being vice-captain during our summer campaign.
"John also showed great leadership and spirit during our summer campaign and he always leads by example on court, with his effort and work-rate. We also have many other strong leaders within the team that will fully get behind the two guys and shoulder the responsibilities also.”
Hosford added: “Being named captain is obviously a great honour, we had great success in August and a great team spirit.
"This has been the most excited the team has been in a long while. This is the opportunity the whole panel has been waiting for.
"So now it’s finally here, we will come into camp with plenty of energy and focus. We know what the bigger picture for basketball in Ireland is and we want to take a huge step towards this goal.”
Keenan has made four changes to his final 12, compared to last summer’s squad at the successful FIBA European Championship for Small Countries. Taiwo Badmus (UMF Tindastoll Sauoarkrokur), Brian Fitzpatrick (Odessa BC), James Gormley (Baloncestro Aguimes) and Stephen James (Griffith College Templeogue) are all drafted in.
Gormley and James trained with the extended squad last summer, while Badmus and Fitzpatrick have both been involved with previous international setups.
They replace CJ Fulton, Will Hanley, Neil Randolph and Jason Killeen. US-based CJ Fulton and Will Hanley were unavailable, while Randolph missed out as he returns from injury and Killeen has retired internationally.
The Ireland squad fly to Cyprus on Monday and hold their first practice sessions in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Ireland will also play Switzerland in Group A of qualifying. The group winners and the best-ranked second-placed team from three qualifying groups will progress to the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers Second Round.
Tickets for Ireland versus Austria at the National Basketball Arena can be purchased online. The game will also be live on TG4 from 4.50pm.
Taiwo Badmus (U.M.F Tindastoll Sauoarkrokur), Jordan Blount (Thor AK), John Carroll (Bueno Albacete Basket), Brian Fitzpatrick (Odessa BC), Sean Flood (Omnia Nicosia), Kyle Hosford (UCC Demons), James Gormley (Baloncestro Aguimes), Stephen James (Griffith College Templeogue), Lorcan Murphy (Griffith College Templeogue) Adrian O’Sullivan (Tradehouse Central Ballincollig), Eoin Quigley (Garvey’s Tralee Warriors), Ciaran Roe (Killester).
Dylan Corkery (Tradehouse Central Ballincollig), Paul Dick (Belfast Star), Cian O’Sullivan (Unión Baloncesto Archena), William Hanley (Unattached), Cian Heaphy (C&S Neptune), Conor Quinn (Belfast Star), Neil Randolph (Griffith College Templeogue).