There's not very many more experienced coaches in British Basketball than Durham Wildcats Head Coach Dave Elderkin , back for another tilt at the top of the game in Britain as he guides his young side through their rookie BBL season.
Elderkin is a very realistic, thoughtful coach whos always looking forward and planning. No surprise then that he could still pick out some good points from Durhams defeat at local rivals Newcastle Eagles last weekend.
That was a very tough loss. What was tough about it was weve made slow starts in the previous few games for whatever reason. Weve worked really, really hard on making a positive strong start tonight, changed the starting five but Im really, really disappointed with the start.
We gave Eagles the confidence to go for every shot and they just about made everything they took. But contrary to that I thought when we started subbing the English kids in I thought we did a much better job of the second quarter and I think that at one stage we pulled it back to thirteen. So I have to look at the positives.
Elderkin has been searching for a winning formula all season and after bringing in point guard DJ Galvan for forward Fred Hinnekamp he was also without the services of star shooting guard Ralph Bucci (193-G-75, college: St.Rose, NY) against The Eagles but he had already decided that he needed to change his starting five.
'I was very critical of them last week against Leicester and I've been very critical of them for a while now. But getting on to these guys just isn't working so I think it was more of a constructive approach trying to give them positives about the way the changes would benefit them and so on.'
'There's nothing wrong with the stuff that we run its just putting the ball in the basket has become a problem for us and this league is really tough to play in because everybody plays hard, everybody's got good athletes and everybody's got good shooters.'
'We have to play 30 games in the BBL plus all the University games so its a tough challenge but were hopefully seeing the end of the season in sight and we'll be able to bounce back from it.'
Not that Elderkin in any way regrets moving Durham in to the BBL no matter how tough it has been. They have been given tremendous off court support in making the transition from EBL.
'It's a big step up. The jump from EBL 2 to EBL 1 is not massive but the massive jump is from the EBL: to the BBL. I don't regret making it at all.'
'We've made a lot of good friends and have a great partnership with Durham County Council which has resulted in the partnership with Durham University growing tremendously this year. Their support has been absolutely fantastic and its giving these English guys a chance to taste it at this level and they're not letting me down at all.'
Whilst Durham have struggled and currently sit at the bottom of the BBL, in comparison with some sides in recent years that have found themselves not only rock bottom but out of the BBL, the Wildcats have been unlucky in a lot of games this season and have impressed many.
'We've beaten Cheshire twice and should have beaten Mersey but our Americans had a dreadful game against them. We've got guys here who've played at big schools and are used to big audiences and they're going in to gym's where there's not a great atmosphere but tonight the atmosphere was fantastic and I thought that would really lift them but it didn't.'
However, Elderkin did excuse 6' 9' American Centre Mario Flaherty (206-C-88, college: Houston Baptist) from criticism. The big man had a great game with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. Even then though Elderkin had words of caution for his star performer.
'Mario is an absolute warrior. The problem we've got now with Mario is that he has absolute belief in himself and he has absolute confidence in everything he does and he's just taking on stuff he shouldn't be doing as he's trying to compensate for others. When we got him out of that towards the end of the third quarter and gave him a rest our teamwork actually improved but make no mistake I absolutely love the guy.'
In the end though even Flaherty's efforts could not disguise the fact that Durham are very short of experience at this level and perhaps missed Ralph Bucci for that reason more than any other. Understandably Elderkin was not saying too much on the reasons for Bucci's absence.
'There was some stuff going around and Ralph and I talked it over and he just asked if he could take some time off while he considered the situation and at the moment that's all I'm prepared to say. I have heard he will be coming back to training this week but well wait and see.'
Going forward Elderkin is very optimistic about the future and is adamant that The Wildcats have a future both this season and in the future.
'I want to see this season out and try and pick up a few more wins on the board. We want to continue to develop the programme but we are looking forward to next season and we know what we have to do we have to do a really good recruitment job on the American scene.'
'We are absolutely not a one and done season team, I want to emphasise that right now. As I say the relationship with the University has strengthened. We had concerns with how the University would view working with a professional partner but they absolutely love it.'
'After the live Sky television game last week the Vice-Chancellor sent us a note to say what fantastic branding we had as Durham University was very present. He's absolutely 100% for it and is actually looking at now how other teams in the University might copy this model.'
The Wildcats have also had great buy-in from Durham County Council who are right behind the franchise's bid to establish themselves in British Basketballs top-flight.
'They've done a brilliant job. Their principle involvement has been in helping us develop the community programme, numbers are growing on that on a weekly basis and they've done a fantastic job with the venue. The one thing that was a positive from the TV game was how good the venue looked.'
'The new lights have made a terrific difference. I was looking at it and thought, my god I can even watch the DVDs now and analyse the games. It looked good and Fab (Flournoy) did a great job on the commentary and as he said the atmosphere in there was electric.'
'That's three good crowds in a row we've had now. Obviously we had a big crowd for The Eagles game at the start and then found out what life was really like in the BBL. But we've stuck at promoting the games and we've had three really good home attendances since the turn of the year.'
A positive note to end on and one that shows despite his long time in the game Elderkin is as keen as ever and determined to establish the Durham Wildcats on the big stage. The British basketball public wishes him and his team well.
Bernardini re-signs at Leicester Riders - May 30, 2016
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Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders (BBL) confirmed in their roster 28-year old American (has also Italian passport) guard Tyler Bernardini (198-88, college: Pennsylvania). He has played there for the last two seasons. In 32 BBL games he recorded 11.5ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg and 1.2spg last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-British BBL Honorabl... [read more]
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders (BBL) confirmed in their roster 28-year old American (has also Italian passport) guard Tyler Bernardini (198-88, college: Pennsylvania). He has played there for the last two seasons. In 32 BBL games he recorded 11.5ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg and 1.2spg last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-British BBL Honorable Mention and All-Bosmans Team. Bernardini was voted All-Ivy League Freshman of the Year back in 2008 at his college time. Bernardini has played also professionally in Italy (AV Cantu). He attended University of Pennsylvania until 2012 and it will be his fifth season as a professional player.
A competitive pool of 22 players will battle it out to represent Great Britain at the U20 European Championship Division B in Greece this summer. There are some particularly prominent returnees from last year's U20 campaign on the initial list which could offer Head Coach, Andreas Kapoulas the benefit of continuity. They include the likes of Jules Dang Akodo, who has been playing professionally in the Slovenia Telemach League, while there is also a spot for Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye who h... [read more]
A competitive pool of 22 players will battle it out to represent Great Britain at the U20 European Championship Division B in Greece this summer.
There are some particularly prominent returnees from last year's U20 campaign on the initial list which could offer Head Coach, Andreas Kapoulas the benefit of continuity.
They include the likes of Jules Dang Akodo, who has been playing professionally in the Slovenia Telemach League, while there is also a spot for Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye who has previously worked with Coach Kapoulas at Bristol Flyers in the British Basketball League (BBL). He comes into the camp off the back of an impressive Freshman year in the States where he top scored and secured All-Team honours in his Conference at Bradley University.
Meanwhile Deane Williams was also on board last year and he recently helped his College side Augusta University reach their Tournament Final, with Pharroh Gordon also excelling and posting a great season at St Rose College.
Of those players searching for a potential GB debut at the U20 level, the exciting Kyle Carey has made people sit up and take notice with Lancashire Spinners. Elsewhere on a list packed with so many talented performers, Andre Arissol of Leicester Riders also led Charnwood College to the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL) title and Shaquille Walters provided the main thrust behind Peckham Pride conquering the U18s National League Final Four.
The invitees will all attend a preparation camp at the University of Essex in Colchester on 27 June as Coach Kapoulas puts the candidates through their paces. He will be joined by Assistant Coach, James Vear who has fulfilled the same role in recent years - with Josh Merrington also joining the coaching line-up as an Assistant, having worked with Charnwood College and Leicester Riders last season.
Prior to heading to Greece for the FIBA U20 European Championship Division B, the team will compete in a warm-up tournament in Portugal between Friday 01 July and Monday 04 July, when they will also face Sweden and Belarus. They will then step out for further friendlies against host nation Greece and Portugal prior to the start of the U20 tournament in Chalkida.
GB have been pitched into Group C, where they will play Albania (15/07), Ireland (16/07), Kosovo (17/07), Netherlands (19/07) and Greece (20/07) during the first phase.
The 22-player candidate list is as follows:
Andre Arissol - Charnwood College / Leicester Riders (GBR) Harvey Barr - Solent Kestrels (GBR) Moses Byekwaso - Preston College Titans (GBR) Kyle Carey - Myerscough / Lancashire Spinners (GBR) Liam Carpenter - Crailsheim Merlins (GER) Jules Dang Akodo - LTH Castings Skofja Loka (SLO) Malik Eichler - MacDuffie Prep School (USA) Pharroh Gordon - College of St Rose (USA) Sedale Hanson-Young - Cheshire Phoenix (GBR) Selby Hind-Wills - Solent Kestrels (GBR) Boban Jacdonmi - Chattanooga State Community College (USA) Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye - Bradley University (USA) Callum Lawson - Western Wyoming Community College (USA) Fraser Malcolm - Black Hills State University (USA) Sam Newman - Ipswich Basketball Club (GBR) Kingsley Nwagboso - Connors State College (USA) Theo Oghide - Southwest Baptist University (USA) Earl Russell - Western Wyoming Community College (USA) Joshua Steel - University of Duquesne (USA) Shaquille Walters - Peckham Pride (GBR) Deane Williams - Augusta University (USA) Findlay Wood - University of Essex (GBR)
Reading Rockets add Marzette to their roster - May 20, 2016
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Reading Rockets (EBL D1) added to their roster American guard Alex Marzette (196-84kg, college: Robert Morris). He played last summer at Pontiac 66ers (MPBA) in the U.S.. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Marzette's college team won GLVC Tournament in 2014. He was also voted All-CCAC 1st Team in 2015. Marzette graduated from Robert Morris College in 2015 and it is his second season as a profes... [read more]
Reading Rockets (EBL D1) added to their roster American guard Alex Marzette (196-84kg, college: Robert Morris). He played last summer at Pontiac 66ers (MPBA) in the U.S.. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Marzette's college team won GLVC Tournament in 2014. He was also voted All-CCAC 1st Team in 2015. Marzette graduated from Robert Morris College in 2015 and it is his second season as a professional player.
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