As he prepares to move to Canada to become head coach of the University of Calgary, UWIC Archers coach Damien Jennings admits it will be tough to say goodbye to British basketball.
It is sad to say goodbye to UWIC Archers and Great Britain, admitted Damien Jennings , but two years ago I decided I wanted to coach full-time so have been reviewing several overseas options as there simply arent many full-time coaching jobs in basketball in the UK that can match the situation I was in.
I really wanted to finish the cycle with the GB squad group we had recruited at UWIC given their commitment to our Archers Academy and perhaps we all just felt 2011-12 was the most important year of preparation so I turned down previous calls to leave for full-time coaching until the role at the University of Calgary fortuitously went to interview after the season had finished.
Damien Jennings leaves the Cardiff university with a record of success behind him: The Archers programme has made gigantic steps since 2006 from our days mid-table in EBL Division Two to winning over 35 medals/trophies in the EBL and BUCS combined.
Making five successive BUCS finals with three back-to-back championships along route, accumulating a 46-game unbeaten run, whilst achieving the EBL One Playoff title within three seasons of being promoted makes me incredibly proud of all the efforts of those that supported our ambition.
Over six years we have not just become an apprenticeship hub for GB talent but have helped nurture over 30 international basketball players representing six different countries!
As for the EBLs contribution to the future it is about establishing an appropriate, sustainable funding structure; development focused clubs and an investment in the improvement of coaching so that the EBL and the UK can be a genuine alternative to the USA system for our most talented players and a genuine vocation-based option for our aspiring coaches - I would like to think for at least six years we tried to achieve these ambitions in our business model at the Archers but unfortunately a sustainable funding stream became the glass ceiling.
GB womens assistant Damien Jennings believes that the future of team is in safe hands. Britain failed to get a win in their five games at the Olympics, but produced some excellent performances that drew praise throughout the sport, and went agonisingly close to beating silver medallists France.
The Olympics was obviously an excellent experience said Damien Jennings . To be more specific the whole preparation phase, given that we were together since May 6th was an invaluable experience and journey.
The future for Team GB and British basketball looks bright with Temi [Fagbenle] making the step-up to senior level from the Under 20s we took into Division A last summer and three of the Futures players making the final Olympic 12 - with Azania Stewart and Jo Leedham also eligible last year for the World University Games side we took to China - so again it just highlights that the youthful age, yet experience, of at least half of the Olympic 12 displays a future with prospects.
Damien Jennings guided the GB Under 20 team to promotion in 2010, and they exceeded all expectations last summer with an eighth place finish in their Division A debut. Damien Jennings also coached the World Student Games team in China with some encouraging results. Courtesy of: http://www.englandbasketball.co.uk
Eurobasket.com All-English WBBL Awards 2016 - May 17, 2016
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Playoffs MVP: Abigail Asoro (183-F-93) of Northumbria; Player of the Year: Amber Stokes (178-SG-90) of Nottingham; Guard of the Year: Amber Stokes (178-SG-90) of Nottingham; Forward of the Year: Baendu Lowenthal (183-F-88) of Sheffield Hatters; Center of the Year: Ashley Harris (187-F/C-90) of Nottingham; Domestic Player of the Year: Helen Naylor (180-F-87) of Sheffield Hatters; Import of the Year: Amber Stokes (178-SG-90) of Nottingham; Young Player of the Year: [read more]
Lee Ryan is counting down the days to when his Oaklands Wolves side step onto a Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) floor for the first time. One of two new clubs announced yesterday as competing during the 2017-18 campaign, the 'Wolfpack' are ready to get their teeth into the challenge of joining the UK's women's elite - along with fellow newcomers Basketball Scotland. 'This is great recognition for the work we have done here in a relatively short time,' enthused the play-caller.... [read more]
Lee Ryan is counting down the days to when his Oaklands Wolves side step onto a Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) floor for the first time.
One of two new clubs announced yesterday as competing during the 2017-18 campaign, the 'Wolfpack' are ready to get their teeth into the challenge of joining the UK's women's elite - along with fellow newcomers Basketball Scotland.
'This is great recognition for the work we have done here in a relatively short time,' enthused the play-caller.
'Our players have proved that they can compete over the past two seasons with us winning the Women's League and Trophy in 2014/15 and having three players compete for Brixton this season.
'Having our own WBBL franchise will now give us a new challenge and raise the standard of everything we deliver.
'The league is impressive and has already elevated the level of the women's game - I believe that we can add to the growth of the sport and provide another opportunity for elite players,' continued Ryan.
'It is also perfect timing for our recently launched youth programme.
'We currently have three girls in the England Under 16 squad and this will give them and their teammates the opportunity to compete all the way through the Basketball England junior leagues into the top flight WBBL.'
The team will play its home fixtures out of the impressive Oaklands College and everyone involved with the facility and the club are looking to build upon their past experience of hosting international youth camps and games involving England.
'We are ready to create a fun home game experience for current and new supporters throughout Hertfordshire and beyond,' confirmed Michael Ball, Director of Basketball.
'Oaklands Wolves intend to make Sunday afternoon their home game day and we will be looking to help grow the WBBL fan-base.'
You can find out more about Oaklands Wolves via wolves.oaklands.ac.uk and on social media via their official facebook page and on both Instagram and twitter as Oaklandsball
The Women's British Basketball League is delighted to confirm the participation of two new franchises for the 2016-17 WBBL season. Both Basketball Scotland and Oaklands Wolves will take their place alongside eight other existing WBBL clubs when the action tips-off in October. The Basketball Scotland programme will be based in Edinburgh at Oriam [the new National Performance Centre for Scotland] which will become a home for Scottish performance basketball. 'The purpose of establishing a... [read more]
The Women's British Basketball League is delighted to confirm the participation of two new franchises for the 2016-17 WBBL season.
Both Basketball Scotland and Oaklands Wolves will take their place alongside eight other existing WBBL clubs when the action tips-off in October.
The Basketball Scotland programme will be based in Edinburgh at Oriam [the new National Performance Centre for Scotland] which will become a home for Scottish performance basketball.
'The purpose of establishing a WBBL team in Scotland is driven by our desire to continue developing opportunities and this will offer the highest standard of female basketball in the UK,' said Basketball Scotland Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Pringle.
'The franchise will also play a key part in Scotland's preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and we hope it will become a long term part of our pathway, which will help develop Scottish athletes that can represent Great Britain. 'Our vision for the programme is that it will be led by a core of Scottish players and supplemented with some additional talent to make sure the Scottish athletes are pushed every day in practice.
'The focus will be on the development of Scottish talent and while we still want to win games, the opportunity for Scottish players to compete at this level and develop their skills is the prime driver.
'We will also be revealing the team name and logo soon, which will be very exciting.'
Meanwhile Oaklands Wolves are also thrilled at joining the WBBL and will play their homes fixtures at their impressive facility at Oaklands College, which has been a home training base in recent years for the England Junior National Teams.
'This is fantastic news for our basketball programme, our players and the College,' declared Michael Ball, Director of Basketball at Oaklands College.
'Oaklands Wolves will aim to add to the excitement of the WBBL and bring a young and fast-paced style of basketball to fans around the league. "It would not have been possible to make this happen without the support of the College - they are always fully behind the basketball programme and are especially keen to see our elite female student athletes get the same opportunities as the boys.'
He added, 'The team will be based upon our Academy players with the addition of professional and university players. Just as we are trying to produce the next generation of International players from within the basketball academy, we are going to try to add GB International players.'
Further club, coach and player announcements in respect of both Basketball Scotland and Oaklands Wolves will be made in due course.
Finally, while two new franchises have joined for 2016-17, Brixton Topcats have opted to withdraw. The WBBL are extremely grateful for the significant contribution the South London club have made towards the successful establishment of the league since it was established in October 2014.
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