Monday, 28 June 2010

International Fixtures

European Women’s Championships (Armenia). Malta v Wales
European Women’s Championships (Armenia). Wales v Scotland
European Women’s Championships (Armenia). Scotland v Malta


Friday, 25 June 2010

Ryan Richards chosen in NBA Draft - but Europe should be his next port of call

Ryan Richards always dreamt of making the NBA, always wondered what it would be like for a kid from Kent to hear his name called out on Draft night from that stage within Madison Square Garden.

Last night, it came, eventually. “With the 49th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select…” And there he was. Chosen. Wanted. In.

Not quite. As many second-round picks before him have found, this doesn’t mean the automatic offer of a contract and a place in the rotation. Remember Sergiy Gladyr? Or Richard Hendrix? They were the No. 49s of the past two years. Neither has yet surfaced in the league.

What Richards has to do now is exactly what he had to do for over two hours on Thursday evening.

Listen. And Wait.

Even at 19, the England Under-18 international has already made a lifetime’s worth of dubious choices, relying on (often) questionable advice. Like when he left the productive academy in Gran Canaria two summers ago after being seduced by an offer to join Great Britain coach Chris Finch in Belgium. He could have stayed put and continued his basketballing education. Or accepted a college scholarship to Kansas. Or if he really wanted to turn pro, gone to Real Madrid. Instead, he ended up spending a wasted year sitting on Finch’s bench before heading back to the Canaries.

In recent days, Richards has been telling all and sundry that he will not return to Europe – that he is determined to stay Stateside and play in the D-League if necessary.

“People will say you need to wait out, play for a high-level team in Europe and then go to the NBA,” he told “But you look at guys like Tony Parker or (Thabo) Sefolosha and they didn’t play in great leagues. They worked hard and they had the talent and potential. If you get a great coach on a good team, you can come to play in the NBA.”

The exceptions don’t make the rules. And while scouts have raved about Richards’ talent, two months in the Swiss League does not make you ready to take on Tim Duncan, even in practice. “He's young, he's played very, very little, so this is a developmental project," San Antonio general manager R.C. Buford said. Regardless of poor counsel or youthful bravado, it is time instead to take stock. And if the Spurs believe he should go back to Spain, sign a two-year deal, and start acquiring experience, then that’s exactly what he should do.

The Spurs GM has a peerless track record of playing the long game with his team’s European recruits."He's a gifted athlete, and a pretty good shooter," Buford declared. "That shooting '4' role for us has been pretty important. We'll see how long it takes him to get ready for this opportunity.” Time, thankfully, is still on the young Englishman’s side and the ACB remains a better proving ground than the NBA’s developmental league. He’d earn more money in Spain, too. And as a second-round pick, the rookie salary scale will not apply when the NBA finally comes calling. He will be quids in, either way.

It’s good to have a dream. Richards could yet be the UK’s first NBA superstar. He could yet pull on that Spurs uniform and hear his name announced on the court. But if achieving his goals means a detour back across the Atlantic to serve his apprenticeship, then so be it.

He waited for two hours. Despite the voices in his ear, he can wait a little longer.


Thursday, 24 June 2010

Great Britain’s women remain a work in progress, admits Tom Maher

With four weeks of hard graft behind them, Great Britain’s women have left their training camp in Stirling and headed for Bulgaria for the start of an extensive schedule of warm-up games ahead of their Eurobasket qualifiers.

Tom Maher’s status update? “We’ve made a lot of progress,” the Australian declared.

But there is still much to do between now and GB’s competitive opener against Slovakia on August 14. More good habits to instil, he says. More details to fine tune. And further gears to find to compete at a level that might give the side an opportunity to surprise their group rivals and earn the kind of respectability required to put their Olympic Games place beyond question.

The carrot of being in London 2012 – as much as Lithuania 2011 – looms large for a group that was relegated to Division B earlier this year before earning a surprise reprieve to remain in Europe’s top level.

“We want to prove that we belong there,” states centre Sarah McKay. “Some people in FIBA might agree with us which we why we’re still there but we want to prove that we deserve it.

“We have to show everyone that we belong as a team. We got lucky by re-instated into Division A and we realise that’s a blessing. And so we need to use that our advantage and step up a notch.”

Maher, along with assistants Ken Shields and Vanessa Ellis, have spent a lot of time on the basics during their two-a-day practices. More, in truth, than any of the trio would have liked.

The varying backgrounds of a squad drawn from everywhere from the USA to the EBL has meant that the integration process has been slow. The Australian, both on and off the court, pulls few punches. Britain is starting from a few steps behind its international counterparts. It will take more than a month to catch up.

“It’s ongoing,” he confirmed. “Why Australia kicked up from the middle of the pack to the top four was that legacy from one camp to another. They put a few years together and kept building. And the new players who came in learnt from the ones who were there before. It’s a quicker way of teaching that than just coaching it, where the players teach each other informally.

“We’re not a team who can consider ourselves an All Star team that just comes together. We have to establish a skillset that is ingrained as a habit. And if you do it as a national team, you hope that the clubs and coaches below will adopt that as a style or technique. And the coaches will borrow from it so you can maximise your growth under the national side. In that way, the younger kids who come up, their basketball IQ progresses because of better teaching.”

Britain’s squad is overwhelmingly youthful. And that inexperience won’t be easy to overcome, even for a coach who has two Olympic medals in his drawer as well as the knowledge gained from stints with China, New Zealand and the WNBA. The players are adjusting, slowly. “Last summer was a short programme, just three weeks,” Mackay points out.

“So we only got a small feel for him. We didn’t have any serious competitive games as a senior team. The university team had a few games but it’s nice to feel him out properly as a coach and see what he wants from his system.”

Maher demands a lot. And his charges are keen to impress. So far Mackay, Kim Butler and Azania Stewart look the front-runners to form the frontcourt with Rose Anderson and Johanna Leedham as the starting guards. Two more cuts will be made before the qualifiers. Injuries may yet factor in but the rotation is far from set.

“The thing is that I think we can put a good starting five out who can compete,” Maher appraises. “But there are a couple of defensive holes in that. That’s a real worry. The easy fix is to say ‘we won’t start this person because we’ve got a better defender on the bench’. But we don’t.

“So we’re not anywhere near a stage where we can lock up a team or where we know we can have a great day by scoring 90 points because we know we can hold the other team under 70. Certainly against the top ten teams in the world, we’d be in trouble.”

For the optimists, it is a rude reality check. “But that’s where we are,” he adds. “We have to take time to develop. But we can’t leak points early. We have to make them graft and make them work hard in the first quarter.”

Three games against the Bulgarians this weekend in Pravets will see where GB stands. In truth, the hard work for Maher and his team starts now.


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Adidas renew Great Britain kit deal

Global sports apparel manufacturer adidas has shown its support to British Basketball by agreeing to continue its association as the Official Apparel Partner through to 2014. This agreement will see all GB teams playing in adidas kit at all major championships for the next 4 years.

British Basketball, who also recently secured deals with Butlin's Holiday Camps and IT equipment provider Hire Intelligence, were thrilled with the agreement.

James Tombs, Head of Commercial and Business Operations for British Basketball commented: "We are delighted that adidas will continue their commitment to British Basketball as the Official Apparel Partner for a further 4 years. Since adidas became our partner in 2008 the Standard Life Great Britain team has continued to impress on the European stage and we look forward to working proactively with adidas in the build up to London 2012 and beyond."

Adidas already have individual sponsorship agreements with a number of BBL clubs, including Glasgow Rocks, as well as Great Britain players, including Kieron Achara.

Martin Filson, Sports Marketing Manager for adidas, added, “adidas is delighted to commit to British Basketball for another 4 year term as the Official Apparel Partner, supporting both the Senior and Under-20 Great Britain squads in the build up to London 2012 and beyond.”


Joel Freeland set to withdraw from GB squad?

The exodus of players from the Great Britain senior squad continues.

Following confirmation that Nick George is the latest to withdraw from the original line-up for training camp named by coach Chris Finch, sources in Spain are hinting that Joel Freeland might also follow suit and remain on the sidelines this summer, dealing a potentially devastating blow. The Malaga forward was expected to become the new fulcrum of Finch's frontcourt.

Ogo Adegboye and Ashley Hamilton, who both featured for the Futures squad in Lille last weekend, are expected to be called up as replacements.

However Pops Mensah-Bonsu has re-confirmed his commitment to feature in the Eurobasket qualifiers.

"I'll be there," he said.


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Great Britain coach Tom Maher trims squad to 14

Great Britain’s women coach Tom Maher has trimmed his squad to 14, just days before wrapping up the team’s training camp in Stirling.
Jo Wood, Kate Butters and Lauren Thomas-Johnson have all been released after three weeks of twice-daily practices.

“They’ve all been honest soldiers,” said Maher. “Of the three, Kate has the best chance of getting back in but they all worked hard.”

The Australian will now put his remaining players through two more days of workouts before GB travel to Bulgaria for their first warm-up tournament ahead of the European Championship qualifiers.

Kim Butler, who is set to move to the Israeli League next season, has recovered from injury.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Nick George will not play for Great Britain's men this summer. The Italian-based forward has withdrawn citing "personal reasons" but his loss is another blow to coach Chris Finch.


Cheshire, Plymouth make early signings

Cheshire Jets have confirmed that Colin O'Reilly has signed up for the 2010/11 season, the first player to be confirmed as a definite in the new roster.

The 6'7" Irish forward arrived last summer from UCC Demons.

"The highlight in the season past for me was the winning run we went on to close out the regular season and gain a top 4 finish," he said. "We played great basketball throughout, which was enjoyable for the fans and for the players to play in. Obviously the two cup semi wins were big for the club and its profile but the way we achieved the wins gave great pleasure to the team."

Plymouth Raiders have announced their second signing of the summer, England international player Taner Adu. The 6'3", 26 year old Adu comes to Plymouth following a season in the BBL with Essex Pirates where he averaged 17 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He will be a key player for the England team this summer in their round of friendly games, and Raiders Coach Gavin Love was delighted to have secured his signature.

"Taner is a great pick up for us," said Love. "A number of BBL teams offered Taner a contract, but I think our reputation here, together with the opportunities that he will get playing for the Raiders helped swing the balance in our favour. Taner spoke to former Raiders players Haggai Hundert and Dean Williams (both teammates at Essex) and they were able to tell him a lot about the club and the area."


Friday, 18 June 2010

International weekend schedule

A bunch of international friendlies this weekend..

Under-20 Friendly (Bristol). Great Britain v Finland (7.30)
Under-23 Friendly (Lille). Great Britain v France (8pm)

Senior Women’s Friendly (Linlithgow). Scotland v Austria (5pm)
Under-20 Men’s Friendly (Bristol). Great Britain v Finland (6pm)
Under-23 Men’s Friendly (Lille). Great Britain v Belgium

Under-23 Friendly (Lille). Great Britain v Luxembourg

Robert Archibald likely to skip Euro qualifiers

Robert Archibald is set to sit out Great Britain’s European qualifying campaign this summer after telling team chiefs he needs time off to recover from injury.

The Paisley-born centre missed several games this season for his Spanish club, Unicaja Malaga, due to ongoing back problems. And although Britain need to qualify for Eurobasket 2011 to guarantee a place in the London Olympics, GB coach Chris Finch admits he may have to do without the former NBA player.

“He requested some time after the season to decide on whether to come or not,” Finch revealed. “Right now, he’s on the fence. I can see him sitting out. He’s had a long season and the way he plays the game puts a lot on strain on his body. But we’ll keep a spot open for him as late as possible”

Archibald, currently in Chicago, has insisted that he hasn’t yet made a final decision over his plans following discussions this week with British
Basketball’s technical director Ron Wuotila.


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Steve Parillon cut loose by Glasgow Rocks

Glasgow Rocks coach Sterling Davis has axed Steve Parillon after telling the forward that he isn’t part of his plans for next season.

The volatile Virgin Islander, who averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds for the Kelvin Hall outfit last term, is out of contract this summer but will not be offered a fresh deal.

“Steve helped us a lot, especially during the latter part of the season,” said Davis. “He had some good games and contributed to our run to the play-off final. But it’s best that we part ways at this point.”

Davis, along with a number of other BBL coaches, will fly to Las Vegas next month to scout for potential replacements at the NBA’s summer camp. “I want to see who is available,” he confirmed.


GB coach Chris Finch looks to Futures as senior shake-up begins

Great Britain Chris Finch will set his young guns the target of winning a spot in his senior squad when he takes charge of his new Futures squad for the first time on Friday in a friendly against France in Lille.

With injury concerns hanging over several first-choice players for this summer’s Eurobasket qualifiers, the American admits that there are some places up for grabs.

And he will look to the Under-23 ranks for fill any gaps that arise when he puts the group through its paces over three games this weekend.

“There are three things I’m looking for,” he said. “This is a chance to work with some guys I haven’t worked with before so I want to see if I can improve them. I also want to see if there are people we can bring into the senior camp.

“And I’d like us to start getting some success at an age-group level which we haven’t really had with either Scotland, England or GB.”
Finch will hand the reigns to point guard Justin Robinson, the only Futures squad member with a full cap to his name. “We want to keep pushing him to grow into a point guard with the confidence and assurance we need at the highest level,” he added.

The reigning NBA D-League Coach of the Year has already begun the process of trimming his senior squad to 16 with BJA British Player of the Year, Tafari Toney of Sheffield Sharks, suffering the axe.

“We have a lot of depth and experience at his position,” he confirmed. “Tafari just isn’t projected to get into the final 12.”

Finch also confirmed that he will have a shorter bench staff this summer with Nick Nurse and Paul Mokesky as his only two assistants. Everton’s Tony Garbelotto and Essex’s Tim Lewis, who were previously assistants, have been assigned scouting roles to spy on GB’s qualifying opponents.


Ryan Richards remains in the NBA Draft

Great Britain prospect Ryan Richards has decided to throw his hat into the ring for the NBA. But will anyone play catch?

The Kent-born forward has opted not to withdraw his name from next week's NBA Draft after receiving praise for his workouts over the past month, meaning he will one of those waiting to hear if he is chosen in the annual selection-fest at Madison Square Garden in New York.

48 players who had declared as early entry candidates for the Draft have withdrawn, the league confirmed following the deadline.

Richards, who spent time on loan from Gran Canaria in the Swiss League last season, was considered a long-shot when he arrived at the NBA's pre-Draft camp in Chicago but earned rave reviews. He subsequently worked out for a number of teams, including Memphis, Minnesota, Utah and Golden State, but is likely to be told to gain further experience in Europe if chosen, despite stating he wants to remain in North America.

He said: “I’ve played in quite a few leagues in Europe, I’ve been around a lot of people that could have been in the league but they stayed in Europe, that played in the D-league, that played in college and from what I’ve hear and just from what I’ve seen and (when) I’ve worked out with other players I think that I’m ready to do it now.”


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

England name 17-man squad for summer friendlies

England coach Paul James has named a 17-man squad for this summer's friendlies with several Great Britain caps included in his line-up for games against Scotland and Lithuania later this month, as well as tournaments in France and Northern Ireland later this summer.

James said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with some of the most talented English players who have either excelled at Under 20 level or are on the fringes of making the GB squad. There is no substitute for playing in international competition and exposing these players to competition of this type can only be good for English and British basketball."

Ogo Adegboye, Saint Bonaventure University (USA)
Taner Adu, Essex Pirates
Chris Ayer, Springfield Armor (USA)
Devan Bailey, Central Connecticut State (USA)
Eric Boateng, Arizona State University (USA)
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, University of Washington (USA)
Dan Clark, Estudiantes (ESP)
Sam Cricelli, Worthing Thunder
Ben Eaves, Rhode Island University (USA)
Matt Guymon, Unattached
Ashley Hamilton, Loyola Marymount University (USA)
Joe Ikhinmwin, Seminole State College (USA)
James Jones, Everton Tigers
Tayo Ogedengbe, Guildford Heat
Justin Robinson, Rider University (USA)
Colin Sing, Essex Pirates
Morakinyo Williams, Duquesne University (USA)


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Baskonia lift Spanish title by stunning Barcelona

Caja Laboral Vitoria have lifted the Spanish Championship after completing a stunning 3-0 sweep of Euroleague champions FC Barcelona 3-0 in the ACB Finals.

Led by Argentine international Tiago Splitter, the Finals' Most Valuable Player, Baskonia secured a 79-78 victory when San Emeterio converted a free throw after being fouled on a made basketball with 0.5 seconds left in overtime.

Vitoria won Games 1 and 2 in Barcelona last weekend to set up a home clincher in the Buesa Arena.


Love inks Toppert as Plymouth Raiders re-build

New Plymouth Raiders coach Gavin Love has made shooting guard Cody Toppert his first signing for the 2010-11 season. The 27 year old has both German and American nationality, which means that Raiders are still permitted to bring in three American players.

Toppert graduated from Cornell University in the USA in 2005, averaging just over 11 points and 3 rebounds per game. But it was his career in basketball after leaving Cornell that really excited Love. He went on to play for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the NBA Development League, exciting fans with his long range shooting ability. After a season in New Mexico, he moved to New Zealand’s top league where he played for the Taranaki Mountain Airs and finished the season as the third highest scorer in the league. He then moved to Portugal where he played in the premier league for Barreirense and put up some impressive statistics. Last season, Toppert played in the German league for Goettingen in the Bundesliga and BC Scholz Recycling Weissenhorn in Pro B.

“I’m over the moon with getting Cody on board,” said Love. “He brings a very high basketball IQ, and he’s played for a lot of very high profile teams internationally. Ive spoken with Cody a lot, and I think he’s going to be a great fit for this team. He can really shoot the ball, and he’s going to bring a lot of experience to the team.”


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bosh, Warriors win PBWA awards

The Professional Basketball Writers Association
today  announced  the  Golden  State  Warriors  as the winners of the newly
re-named Brian McIntyre Media Relations award.

The staff, headed by Executive Director of Public Relations Raymond Ritter,
won  the  award  in  balloting  among more than 150 members of the PBWA for
exemplary service in dealing with media that covers the league.

The  award  is now named after McIntyre, the NBA’s Senior Vice President of
Basketball  Communications. McIntyre has been with the league for more than
30  years  and  has  developed and implemented many of the league's current
communications  and  media  relations  policies  and procedures. He created
numerous awards, including the Sixth Man Award, the Defensive Player of the
Year  and the Most Improved Player. He was responsible for initiating White
House  visits  by NBA championship teams, the creation of a media relations
training  tape  for  players,  the  institution of satellite postgame press
conference feeds at major NBA events, and a host of other initiatives.

“We’re  very  proud and honored to have our media relations award now named
for  Brian.  whose  tireless  efforts  to make the relationship between the
media,  the  league  and its teams have earned him universal respect,” said
PBWA  president  Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “And Raymond and his staff
are deserving winners of the first Brian McIntyre Award.”

The  award  was un-named when it was won in previous years by the staffs of
the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers.

As  well, the PBWA announced that Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors is this
year’s  winner  of  the  Magic  Johnson  Award,  presented  to a player who
combines on-court performance with steady cooperation with the media.

“Chris  understands  the  needs  of the media and fulfills his duties with
respect for the job the media plays in this day and age,” said Smith.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Milton Keynes confirm New coach

Mike New is the new coach of Milton Keynes Lions, the club have confirmed.

The veteran American, who was previously a player-assistant before hanging up his boots at the end of the BBL season, succeeds Vince Macaulay in the role.

New, who initially came to Britain when he signed for Newcastle after a year-long stint in Japan, played for several UK teams including Manchester and Edinburgh before finishing his playing career with the Lions.

Macaulay added "Mike knows what we are about as a club, he buys into our systems and has helped in many areas of the club, it was he who knocked down the two free throws that clinched us the BBL Cup in 2008 so he is already a legend with many of our fans"


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Inside Camp GB: Tom Maher predicts progress for Britain's women

Great Britain women’s coach Tom Maher has admitted one major injury during his team’s month-long training camp in Stirling could derail their hopes of reaching the next Olympic Games.

The hugely-respected Australian, who led his homeland to a silver medal in Sydney in 2000, has pledged to push his 18-strong squad to the limit to fully prepare them for this summer’s European Championship qualifiers.

The GB side, including recent WNBA Draftee Jo Leedham, is still battling to earn a spot at London 2012 after narrowly escaping relegation to Division B last season. And although there is so much at stake, Maher is wary of losing anyone in the build-up to their quest to reach the finals in Poland next year.

“We don’t need injury problems,” he said. “Our depth isn’t great and that’s an issue for us. But I’m very confident we’ll be a respected team and that people will watch out for us.

“The players have a really professional attitude. Not many of them have played in big college programmes or big money teams but they’re mindful of who they’re representing. Hopefully, we can win some games as well but I’m sure we’ll be a respectable basketball team.”

Stalwart Kim Butler is carrying a minor knock that sidelined her earlier this week but is expected to recover. Maher is also spending a lot of time on basic drills in the first week to try and integrate his new players into his plans.


Great Britain Under-20 coaches make first cuts

Great Britain’s Under-20 coaches have made their initial roster cuts in the build-up to their summer EuroBasket Division B Championship campaigns.

Following four days of assessment at a joint camp in Manchester, the squads have been cut leaving 16 players in the men’s side and 15 in the women’s, who will continue to fight for places for the upcoming friendlies.

Aside to the mainstream tactical and performance objectives of training camps, the combined workout was designed build a culture for future GB senior teams, goals integral to success going forward.

For the duration of the camp both genders are training side-by-side and receive off court medical screening and education about the performance pathways to senior representation.

Men’s under-20 Head Coach Tim Lewis said: “The standard of players is higher than it was last year, maybe a little bit smaller, therefore we are looking at different ways of playing and what suits us. If the team buys into what we are doing it will be a really exciting summer ahead of us.

“We have four weeks and five test-games scheduled to get ourselves ahead of the game and if we can do that we put ourselves in a decent position for the EuroBasket Championships. Exciting stuff! “

Women’s counterpart Damian Jennings is happy with progress so far.

“One aspect I have been really pleased with is the player chemistry,” he said. “It can sometimes take three to four days to get chemistry but from day one this large squad of 20 players have been talking and creating a buzz which is fantastic and really refreshing to see.”

As part of their preparation the under-20 men’s team played two practice games against the Scotland under-23 team. Game 1 was closely contested with GB claiming a 83-72 victory, but it was Game 2 where GB came into their own with a comprehensive 81-52 win.


GB U20 men’s squad:
Lawrence, Andrew – University of Charlotte
Noel, Levi – Notre Dame Prep School
Van Oustrum, Nigel – Franklin Pierce University
Marcotullio, Alex – Northwestern University
Stannard, Jack – Bridtol Flyers
Thompson, Jack – Milton Keynes Lions
Hesson Myles – Bormingham A’s
Gilchrist, Robert – Worcester Academy
Martin, Ryan – Westminster Warriors
Anderson, Jamel – Essex Pirates
Thompson, May Raheem – Quinnipiac University
Neighbor, Will – Daytona Junior College
Soko, Ovie – UAB
Hall, Will – Deerfield Academy
Rolls Tyson, Josh – Birmingham University
McKay, Ali – Essex Pirates

GB U20 women’s squad:
Avery, Nicky - UWIC Archers
Barroilhet, Tamzin - Bourges
Buchan, Mairi - Old Dominion University
Durojaye, Mary - Robert Morris University
Joseph, Kashmere - Seton Hall University
Shaw, Hannah - University of Miami
Stoddart, Charlotte - Manchester Mystics
Shiels, Kristie – Leeds Carnegie
Chiemeka, Katrin – Davidson
Clark, Ella – Barking Abbey
Busch, Renee - Sevenoaks Suns
Brough, Rebecca – UWIC Archers
Taylor Kathryn – Kent Prep School
Allison, Rebecca – Old Dominion
Jones, Georgia – Oral Roberts

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Gavin Love confirmed as new Plymouth Raiders head coach

Plymouth Raiders have appointed former club captain Gavin Love as their new head coach, despite interviewing several candidates in the USA lat month.

Love re-joined the Raiders half-way through last season as an assistant to Gary Stronach following a career as a player that spanned 13 years.

The Englishman has revealed he has already been in touch with several potential signings since he agreed to take the job, with two offers already made for next season.

"This is a great opportunity for me," said Love, "and I'm confident that I can put a team together that will excite the fans and give us a great chance to get the club back to where it deserves to be. I can't wait for the players to get here now and to start pre season training. The team I want in place will be dynamic, exciting and I want us to play a brand of basketball that fans will want to come and watch."

At the same time as announcing Love as Head Coach, the Raiders announced that former Raiders player Mark Cahill will be returning to the team as Strength & Conditioning Coach as part of a support team that also includes Andy Murphy - the team's new Sports Injury Consultant.

"We'll be training eight times a week," said Love. "That's made up with five on court sessions, and three strength and conditioning sessions. Mark is going to be very active with the team, devising individual workout programmes for every player.

“We want to be the team in the best shape in the BBL this year - it's a long season, and the guys have to be ready for it. Our pre-season is going to be really intense as well, with the Royal Navy playing a huge part in fitness and team bonding work. I really can't describe how excited I am to get started."


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Future GB stars given Euros incentive

Following the announcement of the GB Future’s team, it has been revealed that one place in the final senior men’s roster is being kept open until after the tournament in Lille (18-20 June) with the intention of awarding that coveted spot to the most stand-out player in the ranks of the rising stars.

The Future’s team - which includes senior cap Justin Robinson - offers the selected players international experience and Head Coach Chris Finch recognises the potential this pool of young players has and how the senior team could benefit from the Future’s programme.

Finch said: “I am very excited to get the chance to work with all of these players and be able to evaluate their games and how they may be able to help the senior men's team.

“We are confident that some of these players are ready and have the potential to make the senior squad and we are also confident that there will be some pleasant surprises during the week as well.”

As a predominantly under-23 team the GB Future’s programme is a vital tool in bridging the gap between under-20 and senior,and in readying young players in preparation for Olympic Games to come, as part of the recently documented T16 strategy.

Finch continued: “The timing is perfect for the Future's programme. It's always been our policy to keep widening the net of players we wish to involve in the national team and we are now at the point where we have some really talented and potential-laden individuals.

“The Future’s is part of our Olympic development programme but many of these kids will make up the backbone of the national program well beyond 2012.”

At the Lille tournament the GB Future’s will take on France (18 June), Belgium (19 June) and Luxembourg (20 June) for the title.


Rob Yanders ready to fight for Great Britain place

Just four weeks after receiving his UK citizenship, Glasgow Rocks captain Rob Yanders has set his sights on leading Great Britain to glory in the 2012 Olympic Games, even if the route passes through his native USA.

Milwaukee-born Yanders is set to link up with GB for the first time next month after coach Chris Finch handed him the chance to fill his troublesome point guard slow.

The 31-year-old admits that playing in the summer’s European Championship qualifiers will be a massive step up in class from the British Basketball League. However he believes he’s ready for the challenge of earning a spot in the final 12-man squad.

“Playing internationally will be a higher level and I’m excited about playing with talented guys,” Yanders said. “But I have to give myself credit. I’m on the same level mentally. And in the BBL, I’ve wrecked it.

“I am backing myself to make the team. That’s not being cocky but if I don’t back myself, who will? I’ve spoken to Chris. Nothing’s guaranteed but he’ll give me a fair shot. Hopefully, he’ll keep me around and I can get used to playing at that level again and run myself all the way to 2012.”

Yanders is also eligible to play for Scotland if his GB dreams fall through and he is keeping the door ajar.

“I’ve been here five years and Glasgow is my second home now,” he said. “So representing Scotland’s something I wouldn’t rule out.”


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

England unveil 11-game summer programme

Paul James wants England’s hopefuls to make an impression this summer and force their way into the Great Britain squad.

Despite the cancellation of the 1st FIBA Commonwealth Championship for Men that was scheduled for August in Bangalore, England Basketball has arranged an off-season programme including a series of four friendlies against Scotland and Lithuania at Worcester.

With England ineligible for FIBA competitions, the 11-game series will give some fringe stars the opportunity to experience international basketball.

James said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with some of the most talented English players who have either excelled at Under 20 level or are on the fringes of making the GB squad. There is no substitute for playing in international competition and exposing these players to competition of this type can only be good for English and British basketball."

Peter Scantlebury will be James’ Assistant Coach for the six-week programme that also includes tournaments in Calais and Belfast.

June 25-27 Training & Scotland, 2 games University of Worcester
July 4-8 Training & Lithuania, 2 games University of Worcester
July 13-17 Tournament Calais / Dunkerque, France
Belgium U23
Ivory Coast
Aug 4-8 Tournament Belfast
Ireland All Stars
Melbourne Tigers
University of Pittsburgh