- National Teams
The culmination of the British Universities and Colleges Sport basketball season, the Final 8’s are to take place at the end of this week, and the 8 team field is set. This promises to be 3 days of top British basketball, with some of the top basketball talent this country has on court, ranging from top scorers in Division 1, to dominant BBL players.
Hoopsfix has put together a preview of all eight teams competing, with full rosters and a little rundown of each, check it out!
Big thanks to Matt Newby and Ladi Brown for help with the writeup
Qualifying from up North, Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie, a recent powerhouse on the BUCS basketball circuit with their third straight Premier North regular season title. They are led by the all around play of Captain Ladi Brown, and Adrian Fenyn who is killin’ EBL Division 1 this season, leading in scoring (25.5), rebounds (11.5) and second in field goal percentage (63.8).
Leeds Met have literally cruised their way through the regular season in the Premier North, going 9-1 with the only team coming close to challenging them (and beating them) being Worcester. Except for both Worcester games (where Carnegie won the first 95-91, and lost the second 64-80), their next margin of victory was 15 points, with the vast majority being 20+. They took down University of Stirling 91-79, in a game that was a lot closer than most expected in the Sweet 16’s, to seal their ticket to Sheffield.
Leeds Metropolitan will be eager to improve on their two bronze place finishes in 2008 and 2009, but coach Matt Newby is well aware of the competition:
“There are no easy draws and the brackets this season have presented some great match ups for the quarter finals, the weekend will be an excellent advert for both University and English Basketball. Looking across the draws no team has an easy route to the finals on Sunday and in a straight knockout tournament you have to deliver, each team has earned their place in Sheffield and no one wants to lose on the first day.”
Roster (*denotes starter)
*Zoltan Supola 6’2 (SG)
*Albert Margai 6’1 (PG)
Gyorgy Polya 6’5 (SG)
David Siddal 6’2 (PG)
Connor Gent 6’5 (SF)
Oliver Hylands 6’7 (PF)
*Adrian Fenyn 6’5 (PF)
*Ladi Brown (Captain) 6’4 (SF)
Istvan Herczeg 6’8 (PF)
*Michael Medved 6’6 (PF)
Big thanks to Lynda Clark, Anthony Trigg and Paul Elderkin for help with the writeup
A newcomer this year, is the University of Durham who are led by the ever talented Paul Elderkin (who has some ridiculous bunnies, I’m looking for him to smash on at least a couple of people over the three days!), and American guard Scott Morton. It’s a pick your poison type of scenario where you double one and the other will drop 30 on you; I really don’t see many teams being able to shut down the backcourt.
Not a two man team by a longshot; Morton and Elderkin have great supporting cast of Mark Elderkin at guard, and Stephen Jones and Michael Davies in the frontcourt, as well as a good bench rotation.
Durham is another team that cruised through their regular season, going 9-1 (one of their wins being a walkover), and literally smashing every team they play. In their regular season victories, they won by an average of just under 41 (40.6) points per game. Their only loss on the season, a 93-92 aberration to Sheffield Hallam, they without starters Paul Elderkin and Davies (still no excuse after walloping them by more than 40, 108-66 first time around).
I wonder how they will fare against top premier competition, although they have proven themselves against Middlesex winning 95-91 to qualify for Sheffield. Despite being the only team to qualify from lower conferences (Northern 1A), I put my money on Durham as the dark horse of the competition.
Roster (*denotes starter)
Apostolis Apostolidis 6’4 (G)
Ian Hewitt 5’9 (G)
*Mark Elderkin 6’3 (G)
*Scott Morton 6’5 (G/F)
*Paul Elderkin (Captain) 6’5 (G/F)
*Stephen Jones 6’5 (F)
*Michael Davies 6’5 (F)
Nick Plosser 5’11 (G)
Anthony Trigg 6’9 (F)
John Morgan 6’0 (G)
Sam Chambers 6’7 (F)
Adam Henderson 5’11 (G)
Big thanks to Reed Doucette for help with the writeup
Oxford are a disciplined team that runs an effective half-court offense, but can mix it up with good athletes who like to get out on the break and score in transition. The core of the team has been intact for two years now so have the added benefit of knowing each others style of play, having great team chemistry.
Despite cruising to a comfortable second place finish in the Premier South with an 8-2 record, both of their losses came to the only two teams in their league that have qualified for the Final 8’s (LSBU and London Metropolitan), which doesn’t bode well for them. Regardless, they are a team that nobody should count out, led by big man Steve Danley, and guard Tom Parker. They despatched of Warwick 115-66 in the Sweet 16’s to seal their place in the Final 8’s.
On their chances at Sheffield, Doucette said
“We know we’re going to face some really stiff competition in Sheffield, but we’re excited for the challenge and we think that if we play hard and smart we can be in a good position to win some games.”
Roster (*denotes starter)
*Reed Doucette 6’5 (Captain, PF)
*Stephen Danley 6’8 (C)
*Skomantas Pocius 6’3 (PG)
*Tom Parker 6’3 (SF)
*Tommy Duncan 6’2 (SG)
Karolis Bauza 6’4 (SF)
Scott Doyle 6’1 (SF)
Jisung Park 6’0 (SG)
Maher Bitar 6’1 (PG)
Martins Vaivars 6’4 (C)
Big thanks to Ian Berry for helping with the writeup
Despite Northumbria having the second worst record of all teams going to the Final 8’s at a very average 5-5, they are a team with a gritty never say die attitude. They are led by the play of 6’4 Chris Pearce, who is a stat sheet stuffer doing a little bit of everything (currently tearing up D2 averaging 20 (3rd in the league) and 8 (good for 5th)), and boosted by the return of big man Nils Steuber who has been injured for a large part of the season.
Despite all of their losses coming against fellow Final 8 competitors and all their wins bar one coming against teams who have been knocked out, Ian Berry remains confident;
“I know there is going to be a lot of good competition, but I think on our day we can beat anyone”.
Dylan Gomez 6’4 (SF)
Toby Hutton 6’1 (PG/SG)
Chris Pearce 6’4 (SF)
Ian Berry 6’0 (PG/SG)
Valentin Golchev 6’2 (PG/SG)
Josh Merrington 6’3 (SG)
Joe Kamanga 6’4 (PF)
Oliver Blake 5’8 (PG/SG)
Justin Hitchman 6’4 (SF/PF)
James Appleton 6’5 (PF)
Liam O’Mahoney 6’8 (PF/C)
Nils Steuber 6’8 (C)
Huge thanks to Alexandra Rees who helped with the writeup
LSBU with their 8-2 record, finished atop of the Premier South. They have reason to be quietly confident of their chances, despite many thinking it will be a team from up North taking the title, having lost only to Middlesex who didn’t make it to the Final 8’s after being knocked out by the aforementioned Durham, and Oxford who they lost to by 2 in their second matchup, after pounding them by 18 in the first meeting.
LSBU, who this season have been boosted by a pairing with D2’s Brixton Topcats, are and always have been a physical, and hustling team. With Dave Ajumobi as their emotional leader, and British basketball veteran Paul Mundy-Castle, LSBU are fielding a solid team that have a good chance of winning it all.
They destroyed Edinburgh 130-60 (yes that is a 70 point win) to seal their deserved place at the BUCS Final 8’s, and with the bitter taste of that 5 point Final defeat last year to Worcester, LSBU are going to bring it.
Paul Mundy-Castle 5’10 (PG)
Charlando Brown 5’11 (PG/SG)
Aaron Moseley 6’1 (SG)
Isaac Omirin 5’10 (PG)
Avelino Antonio 6’3 (F)
Jonathan Johnson 6’3 (SF)
Karolis Petkus 6’2 (SG)
Ryan Cadogan 6’4 (G/F)
David Ajumobi 6’4 (PF)
Benvido Garcia 6’4 (PF)
Armand Anebo 6’5 (F)
Richard Wellings 6’5 (F)
Big thanks to Christian Dapp and Joe Pinchin for help with the writeup
The continued presence of Loughborough in the ultra-competitive Final 8’s is a victory for the true student-athlete. With precisely zero scholarship students in the squad, and every player meeting standard entry requirements for their courses, Loughborough are fast showing that it possible to succeed on the court without drafting in half the BBL.
Without money to throw at 6’10” imports, coach Martin Ford has moulded his undersized team into a running, pressing, sharp-shooting outfit. A balanced starting five features five players that can go off for twenty point nights at any point, although the main focus will be on their explosive backcourt- small forward Graham Holland, shooting guard Dave Holland and point guard Nick Holland, all surprisingly unrelated.
Despite being the only team in Sheffield with a losing record at 4-6, the Cardinals’ offensive firepower means that they will fear no-one, having beaten some quality sides during Ford’s two year tenure. However, their lack of size inside may eventually take its toll with three games in three days, but given that they are losing four of their starting five after this year, Loughborough will be determined to have a proper send off.
Nick Holland 6’0 (PG)
Dave Holland 6’1 (SG)
Graham Holland 6’4 (SF)
Chris Carroll 6’7 (PF/C)
Tolu Falope 6’4 (PF/C)
Batuala Beraud 6’3 (SG/SF)
Yacine Ouzzahra 6’1 (PG/SG)
Alan Wells 6’3 (SF/PF)
Damien Fournet 5’11 (PG)
Colm Hickey 6’3 (SF)
Richard Izaac Zevalking 6’3 (G/F)
Mat Townsend 6’3 (SF)
Big thanks to Matt Lloyd for help with the writeup
Worcester, the former dynasty and defending champions are a staple component of every year’s Final 8’s. Despite being questioned by many about their extensive use of BBL players year upon year, their success at this competition cannot be denied. Steamrolling through the Premier North along with Leeds Met, they finished 8-2 with an inexplicable loss to Edinburgh (who I’ve been told are apalling) and a close loss to Carnegie.
Worcester play hard defence and like to run an uptempo game, looking for early opportunities where possible. Their team is stacked with no less than 5 BBL players on their roster.
Coach Matt Lloyd talking to Hoopsfix said
“I feel our chances are good for winning the title, we have a had an up and down season on the court and off but with everything sorted the team has gelled together and looks very strong. The team and I are looking forward to the tournament and are all hoping for success.”
Albert Ziwa 6’0 (SG)
Luke Selvester 5’11 (PG)
Roy Owen (Captain) 6’1 (PG)
Kastytis Normantas 6’3 (SF)
Eric Chesser 6’4 (PF)
Damian Cope 6’4 (SF)
Thomas Weston 6’3 (SF)
Dorian Benjamin 6’0 (SG) (replacing Charlie Higgs, who pulled out with injury)
Modestas Sidlaukas 6’3 (SG)
Jordan Ranklin 6’7 (PF)
Pavolis Tamulynas 6’6 (C)
Harry Disy 6’7 (C)
Shout out to Bode Adeluola for helping with player heights and positions
London Met can never be counted out with a physical hard nosed team who back down to no-one. Led by Spaniard, Arturo Noha who was named MVP of the EBL Trophy game which London Mets (pretty much the same team) won a couple of weeks ago, the Mets are a perfect mixture of offense and defence.
Jeffrey Danchie and Jean Wakanena provide them with a strong backcourt that can both stroke it from deep as well as penetrate and finish. Courtney Van Beest, Deng Deng and Noha complete the frontcourt with a 5 that most BUCS teams would be jealous of.
The Mets finished the season 6-4, good for third spot in the Premier South but did suffer two of their losses against LSBU, and one against Oxford.
Deng Deng 6’5 (SF)
Arturo Noha 6’3 (SG)
Chukwuemeka Obanye 6’5/6’5 (PF/C)
Courtney Van Beest 6’5 (PF)
Andy Nyeko 5’11 (SG/PG)
Jeff Danchie 5’11 (PG)
Jean Wakanena 6’0 (PG/SG)
Jason Charles 6’6 (PF/C)
Alex Westearth 6’8 (C)
Juju Bola 6’6 (PF)
Nathan Hylton 6’5 (PF/C)
Schedule For Friday
1.00pm Leeds Met v Durham
3.00pm Oxford v Northumbria
5.00pm LSBU v Loughbrough
7.00pm Worcester v London Met
Final game will be on Sunday, with a 5.00pm tip.
If you can, make sure you get up to the EIS in Sheffield for what promises to be a top notch 3 days of British Basketball action. If you can’t make it, there will be regular updates over the three days on my Twitter account, and less regular ones on the Facebook fan page AND..providing all goes well in terms of my setup, daily videos uploaded to the Hoopsfix Youtube channel so make sure you are subscribed!
Who’s your money on winning the title? Will it finally be Leeds Met’s year, will the ever dependable Worcester take the title or will dark horse Durham come through? Let me know your thoughts by dropping a comment in the box below.
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