This is my first time refereeing at EuroBasket. It's been an amazing experience. I was a replacement referee so I only found out I was going about eight weeks ago and it's been a whirlwind process from preparing over the last couple of months to now being here. The level of basketball, the level of organisation, the whole big tournament feel is incredible.
How did you get to this level for refereeing?
I started out as a basketball player Boroughmuir Blaze Club in Edinburgh alongside Bill McInnes [British Basketball Chairman]. I then progressed into officiating, qualifying as an international referee in 2003 so I have 10 years of experience at that level.
I refereed the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, along with three World University Games and both the U20 men's and women's Division A European Championships. All that was missing off my refereeing CV was a major European Championship so I was delighted to get this opportunity. The fact I've made it through the first round, survived the cut for the second round and now have the potential to cover the quarter- or semi-finals or even medal matches is a huge achievement for me but is also a huge achievement for British officiating as well.
My wife, Mariann, is also an international FIBA referee, behind a great man is a great woman as they say.
Why are international competitions important for GB referees?
A lot of the British referees are used to officiating in the FIBA club competitions with the women's Euroleague and the men's EuroChallenge, and we also do the youth competitions over the summer. But in terms of top international basketball and where British Basketball wants to be, it is very important to have highly skilled officials. Basketball is a technical game and it is only going to grow successfully by not only working with top coaches but with good referees providing quality officiating to ensure the game is played in the correct spirit.
I'm here as the accompanying referee for GB but it would be possible for British referees to be nominated as neutrals. The BBL is improving but it is not recognised as one of the top leagues in Europe, it is regarded as a developing league so some of the other domestic championships have higher quality basketball and therefore higher quality officiating. BBL as a league is developing, British Basketball's programme on an international top competition level is developing and me being here at EuroBasket is proving that British officiating is continuing to improve with the exposure to the high level competition as well.
Is GB being recognised through its refereeing and the performances of the GB teams?
Yes without a doubt. In the last three years, Neil Wilkinson from England was at EuroBasket two years ago and Haydn Jones from Wales has been at the two Women EuroBaskets, so I definitely feel the more the British Basketball programmes featuring on the international map. British basketball officiating is more than capable of performing on that same level.