BBL Rosters 2014/15 Season

Bristol Academy Flyers– Head-Coach: Andreas Kapoulas;

Verdict: All quiet on the news front so far for the BBL newcomers although head-coach Andreas Kapoulas has spent a lot of time with the GB U20s. Now that his national commitments have ended, keep an eye out for announcements coming soon.

Cheshire Phoenix– Head-Coach: John Coffino; Ins: Devan Bailey* (re-signed), David Aliu* (Manchester), Aleek Pauline (Vilsbiburg, Germany), Demond Watt (KR, Iceland), Sasha Cuic (Kvarner 2010, Croatia), Roderick Wilmont (Fort Mayne Flite head-coach), Brad Karp (Saint Xavier University, NAIA Div.II); Outs: Dominique Coleman, Victor Moses and Reggie Middleton (import slots filled)

Verdict: The summer signings have been a statement of intent from Cheshire with former NBA D-League coach John Coffino taking the reigns from John Lavery. British duo Devan Bailey and David Aliu have penned two-year-deals with the latter joining from Manchester. Demond Watt recently won the Championship in Iceland while guards Aleek Pauline and Rod Wilmont  have plenty of experience. Brad Karp had an impressive season in the NAIA Division 2 and 6’10” Croatian centre Sasha Cuic is another solid addition.

Durham Wildcats– Head-Coach: Lee Davie; Outs- Danny Huffor (Glasgow); Devin Ginty**

Verdict: Durham quietly went about their business last summer before announcing all their main signings just a few weeks before the season started. The same process seems to be occurring this summer with no news mentioned as of yet. Danny Huffor turned them down for a retun to Glasgow while the Wildcats are on the look out for new imports. Point guard Devin Ginty has received coaching offers from the US.

Glasgow Rocks– Player-Coach: Sterling Davis; Ins: Danny Huffor (Durham), Tommy Freeman (Windsor Express, Canada); Outs: EJ Harrison (retired)

Verdict: After a disappointing league campaign, Sterling Davis has gone about strengthening his squad and the additions of Danny Huffor and former Worcester forward Tommy Freeman are good starts. Huffor began his pro career with the Rocks before joining Durham last season in his comeback year.

Leeds Carnegie– Head-Coach: Matt Newby; Ins: James McCann* (San Diego, USA), Matthias Weissl* (Salzburg, Austria), Zak Wells (Hemel Storm, EBL)

Verdict: Matt Newby is confident of competing in the BBL this season and plans to assemble his squad accordingly. American James McCann and Austrian Matthias Weissl were first to sign up and have both committed to two-year-deals in conjunction with courses at Leeds Met University. Former GB Under-20 big-man Zak Wells joins from EBL side Hemel Storm and Leeds are expected to retain a few players from last season’s roster.

Leicester Riders– Head Coach: Rob Paternostro. Ins: Jamell Anderson, Connor Washington* (both multi-year deals), Derrick Roland (CD Boston College Santiago, Chile), Levi Noel, Rashad Hassan, Barry Lamble, Harrison Gamble (all re-signed), Anthony Rowe* (re-signed), Neil Watson (Southern Mississippi, University); Outs: Jay Couisnard (La Rochelle, NM1 France), Drew Sullivan**, Anthony Downing (import slots filled)

Verdict

London Lions– Head-Coach: Vince Macaulay; Ins: Zaire Taylor (Worcester); Perry Lawson, Rod Brown (both re-signed**)

Verdict: The Lions made the high-profile signing of reigning MVP Zaire Taylor and are targeting GB captain Drew Sullivan to follow his former team-mate to the CopperBox. No other news has been announced yet, but it is understood that Rod Brown and Perry Lawson are two players returning.

Manchester Giants– Head-Coach: Jeff Jones; Ins: Stefan Gill, David Watts, Callum Jones (all re-signed), Darren Best (Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows, EBL D2), Jamie Kohn (Salzburg, Austria); Outs: David Aliu (Cheshire), Rob Marsden (Cognac, NM1 France), Mike Bernard

Verdict: The Giants were dealt an early blow this summer with the confirmed departures of key duo Rob Marsden and David Aliu on the same day. Since, Jeff Jones has agreed deals to re-sign trio Stefan Gill, David Watts and Callum Jones while Australian-born forward Darren Best joins from Division 2, having been Player of the Year last season. Austrian/US guard Jamie Kohn also has previous EBL experience and spent the second half of last season with Salzburg.

Newcastle Eagles– Player-Coach: Fab Flournoy; Ins: Andy Thomson (La Rochelle, NM1 France), Drew Lasker (re-signed); Outs: Malik Cooke (Kormend, Hungary)

Verdict: It’s no surprise that the Eagles are assembling a strong squad once again. Andy Thomson returns from a two-year BBL hiatus in France while Drew Lasker comitts to a 10th season in the BBL. Darius Defoe and Charles Smith are both set to return while Newcastle may be on the look out for a trio of new recruits. Malik Cooke is the only confirmed departure so far.

Plymouth Raiders– Head-Coach: Jay Marriott; Ins: Brent Benson (Birmingham), Nick George, Louis Sayers (both re-signed), Josh Wilcher (Reading, EBL), Kris Douse (Limburg, Germany), Gerald Robinson (Hottur, Iceland), Daveon Boardingham (University Southern Mississippi); Outs: Tom Woods; Donald Robinson (J Hradec, Czech Republic NBL)

Verdict: After missing out on the playoffs, Jay Marriott was quickest to act this off-season, re-signing British duo Nick George and Louis Sayers before snapping up Brent Benson from the expelled Birmingham Knights. Division 1 Player of the Year Josh Wilcher has joined from Reading and will be given his chance while Plymouth have attempted to address their rebounding problem with the addition of US big-man Daveon Boardingham while former player Gerald Robinson and Kris Douse both have BBL experience.

Sheffield Sharks– Head-Coach: Atiba Lyons; Ins: Mike Tuck, Colin Sing, Zach Gachette* (2-year-deals last summer), Olu Babalola, BJ Holmes (both re-signed), Nick Lewis*

Verdict: Sheffield mounted a serious challenge for the title last season and Atiba Lyons has acted quickly to ensure the main core will be returning. The quartet of Mike Tuck, Nick Lewis, Colin Sing and Zach Gachette all signed two-year deals last summer while BJ Holmes has agreed a new deal to return alongside Olu Babalola. Sheffield have since announced that Lewis has signed a new 2-year-deal.

Surrey United– Head-Coach: Jack Majewski; Outs- Brandon McGill**

Verdict: Another team that has offered its fans virtually no news at all. Jack Majewski has promised a much-stronger squad this time around after such a poor start to last season.

Worcester Wolves– Head-Coach: Paul James; Ins: Alex Owumi, Jamal Williams (both re-signed); Outs: Zaire Taylor (London), Kai Williams (Umea BSKT, Sweden)

Verdict: Losing Zaire Taylor is a massive blow to the BBL Trophy and Playoff champions while Kai Williams is another player not returning after signing for a team in Sweden. However, re-signing captain Alex Owumi is a key move and being owned by the University is a strong move for the Wolves.

* = 2-year-deal
** = not confirmed by club

Smith- ‘I would love to finish my career in Newcastle’

Smith in action (www.bbl.org.uk)

Smith in action (www.bbl.org.uk)

Charles Smith admitted the decision to re-sign for the Newcastle Eagles was one of the easiest he has ever had to make and would love to end his career with the club.

There were offers from teams in France and Sweden but Smith insisted Newcastle was the only place he wanted to be.

“The club means everything to me I would do anything for the club. I’ve been here since the beginning it is part of my family now.”

Smith has enjoyed an illustrious career in the BBL having made his debut for Newcastle back in 1999. The 37 year-old has won 15 trophies with the Eagles in 11 seasons but for the second time in the last three years, failed to win anything last season.

“It hurts a lot every time we don’t win a trophy! Continue reading

Battle awaits Knights

18d30ec03ad052ec9c738f7f778c0221Birmingham Knights’ second import signing Armond Battle is excited about the challenge of helping the BBL new-boys in his first season as a pro.

The 23 year-old joins compatriot Brent Benson along with other confirmed signings Emile Hopkins, Ryan Lewis and brothers Michael and Martyn Gayle and is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I am very excited to start my professional career with the Birmingham Knights. The fact that they are a new team is intriguing and will be great experience that I am excited to be a part of.”

Battle added: “The Knights are giving me a chance to fulfill one of my life long dreams and I cant wait to contribute my skills to the team.”

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Love adds Holloman to complete roster

Plymouth RaidersPlymouth Raiders have completed their 2013-14 roster with the addition of American Garrius Holloman.

The 6’6″ forward spent his rookie pro season in New Zealand earlier this season where he played a combined 17 matches for the Hub Jets and then Waikato Pistons, averaging a total of 17.7ppg.

And Coach Love told the Plymouth Herald he believes he has assembled a competitive team for the upcoming season:

“I think we can compete this season. I’m really happy with the team I have.”

“Yes, we’re young. Most of the guys have just one year’s experience, which may be the one downside you feel when you look at the team but we have great size, we’re very athletic and we’re quick,” Love added.

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Blast from the Past: Ryan Zamroz

Zamroz  lays the ball in for the Riders. Image: Ville Vuorinen

Zamroz lays the ball in for the Riders. Image: Ville Vuorinen

Ryan Zamroz had an impressive season with Leicester Riders in 2010-11 and believes his time in the BBL was a good platform for bigger things in Europe.

The 26 year-old averaged 18.4 points per game with the Riders and has gone on to excel in spells in Sweden and France since.

“I enjoyed my time with Leicester. Although I had played a season in Australia, the UK was my first introduction to Pro basketball in Europe and helped establish my career here.

“The UK is a beautiful place with a lot to see and playing with Leicester allowed me to see and experience it.  Not to mention meeting some great people there in Leicester as well!” Zamroz added.

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