- National Teams
I somehow missed BUCS announcing the English Universities team for 09/10 season being selected a few week backs (perhaps to do with the fact BUCS have the most un-user friendly site on the web!). And it defo deserved being posted up here. The selected team looks like this:
Albert Margai (Leeds Carnegie)
Charlando Brown (LSBU)
Zoltan Supola (Leeds Carnegie)
Chris Pearce (Northumbria)
Antonio Avelino (LSBU)
Ladi Brown (Leeds Carnegie) (Captain)
Myles Hesson (Wolverhampton)
Adrian Fenyn (Leeds Carnegie)
Armand Anebo (LSBU)
Michael Medved (Leeds Carnegie)
Reed Doucette (Oxford)
Laurie Lewis (LSBU)
Bud Johnston (Chichester University)
Damian Cope (Worcester)
Roy Owen (Worcester)
Though I can’t really argue with any of those choices as they are all talented ballers, I personally thought, along with a few others I spoke to, that it seemed suspect that with the Head coach being Matt Newby (Leeds Met), no less than 5 of his players have been selected for the squad.
I dropped Coach Newby an email to ask him his thoughts on this and to his credit he provided with a very well written and thought out response:
“I am confident that people will always be critical of a situation when they sit outside of the process and only see a team list.
There were to trials one in the north at Leeds Metropolitan University and the 2nd at LSBU. These were well publicised and the deadline for application was extended twice to insure we gave everybody the opportunity to make an application. These trials were 3 to 4 hours in length broken down in to skill sets 3vs 3 4vs 4 and 5 vs 5 scrimmages. Both were open to any university based basketball player.
Due to the nature of some players commitments to their national league programmes some athletes could not trial at the geographically favourable venue and were offered the opportunity to travel to the other. Some athletes chose not to trial at all and some never showed up after registering their interest. The selection and decisions were ultimately the call of my self and our excellent staff with strong basketball reputations Steven Vear and Andrew Powlesland offer invaluable insight and I feel we have put together a team which is representative of the talent that attended the trial.
The reality is that there are some players out there which have not made the selection due to their commitment to national league, commitment to academics or personal circumstance and others make your decisions easier when they walk through the door late with an inappropriate attitude and a false sense of entitlement.
There are some players I would have liked to have seen at the trials. Look at the depth of Durham and in particular their back court Scott Morton and Paul Elderkin who are huge contributors to the success of the National League Programme currently fighting at the top of D2. London Mets roster is abundant with talent but only one player was able to attend and I think they are incredible focused on the challenges that Division 1 basketball presents so I can accept that. We would have loved to see Steven Danley return from oxford but I am informed he has a field study the week of BUG’s, which would have provided us with some tough decisions about the big men available.
There were certainly some tough omissions you look at likes of Stephen Danso (Coventry), Uche Umekwe (Birmingham)as well as David Ajumobi and Jon Johnson of (LSBU) and look at those named as alternates Bud Johnston (Chichester) Damian Cope and Roy Owen of (Worcester). The talent pool was of a high quality and the decisions were not easy.
People will ask questions about institutions who have multiple representatives in the squad and invariably comment on the fact that this season 5 are from my own team and I have no problem with that.
We are charged with selecting the best team available to compete in the BUG’s tournament in April. I feel we have achieved this.”
On reading this it definitely makes things clearer, and like Coach Newby states it is difficult to judge when you are just looking at the team sheet on paper. Without being at trials you don’t know what went on, and who played well. I did however, instantly notice that Newby mentioned Andy Powlesland, head coach of LSBU was part of the selection team. Four LSBU players were selected for the team. Hmmm. Nine of the fifteen players selected are coached by the members of the selection panel.
I don’t blame Coach Newby or Powlesland, as I think any coach in the same position would do the same thing-you know your players, and you have seen them a lot more so have had way longer to evaluate them, but this is one of the key ‘political’ problems with British basketball.
If you are not ‘known’, or haven’t been seen before on the circuit, you rarely get a look.
My opinion? Though I reserve passing full judgement, as I wasn’t present at the trials (something I’m going to try and make sure of next year), I think BUCS should use a coach that is not coaching/involved with any university side, or use a selection panel at trials that does not include people with direct links to universities, to avoid giving people such as myself a chance to even form an opinion!
What do you think?