Friday, 9 October 2009

Lewis, Jennings take U20 roles

British Basketball have appointed Tim Lewis and Damian Jennings as the head coaches of the U20 men and women respectively.

Lewis led the men's U20 programme this summer and was also one of Chris Finch's assistant coaches with the senior men's team. Meanwhile Jennings - who replaces Sergio Lara-Bercial - has been heavily involved with the senior women's programme as an assistant coach and this summer formed one quarter of the coaching team for the FIBA Europe Champion U18 All Star game in Poland. He is also the head coach of UWIC Archers and UWIC BUCS.

Head of Basketball Operations Ron Wuotila said: "We are excited about Damian's appointment. He has excelled in the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate programme and has put up some good results at UWIC. His work with the senior women's programme provides him with an intimate understanding of what is required at the Division A level - we are thrilled that he is up for the challenge of leading our U20 programme.

"Tim will return to his post as the U20 head coach. This past summer there were some considerable advances in the technical performance of the U20 men's team and Tim deserves full marks for this shift and the expectation will be that the technical progress continues in 2010. Tim's passion and commitment are to be commended.

"For both of these coaches and all of the eligible players, the work starts now. We will be distributing player development plans to each returning player in the coming weeks. The potential is high for both programmes with many key players returning and some very talented players moving up from the U18 level."

The U20 men finished 13th at the European Championships B Division in Macedonia this year and Lewis is hoping to improve upon that disappointing showing at next year's tournament.

Lewis said: "I would like to think that we can stake a claim year in year out within the top four teams. Ultimately qualifying for the A division as the men have done.

"I look forward to working with British Basketball in developing a core of British based athletes that can be monitored, supervised and worked with throughout the year, whether they play at home or abroad.

"We have a core of the players that will rejoin the squad from last year's programme which will hopefully give us that edge that we are looking for. Some of those returning players were major contributors to the U20's last summer and we will ultimately look to them for leadership and continuity."

For Jennings his new role presents the opportunity to link up the U20s with the senior programme, as Lewis and Finch have worked towards, due to time already spent with the new women's head coach Tom Maher, both at the training camp this summer and the World University Games.

Jennings said: "I am really looking forward to linking my work with the senior programme with that of the U20's. Having worked so closely with Tom Maher during the 2009 training camp, and particularly the World University Games I saw first-hand the imprint needed at the U20's level to prepare them for life in senior GB basketball. For those in the U20's that work hard enough to take that opportunity my aspiration is to ensure they are as ready as possible once called upon.

"My role therefore is one of creating readiness for senior basketball; creating clarity to junior GB players regarding the physical, mental, motor and emotional skills required to compete and produce at the highest international stage.

"For those of this age group the aspiration of representing their country at U20 competition should not be enough - their commitment is a 365 day journey to goals that should be set on senior basketball and becoming the best, most rounded basketball player possible."

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