Magic Change of Approach Culminates in Scholarships With Salford -

Magic Change of Approach Culminates in Scholarships With Salford

Two years ago, Manchester Magic re-assessed their priorities and where they were heading. They made the daring decision to scrap their Division 1 team, sticking with just a Division 3 side and moving away from the use of a multitude of foreign players, to focus on developing and providing a pathway to the homegrown talent their junior programme was producing.

In their first season, they got promoted to Division 2, and, this season, their first in the second tier, they’re standing at 15-6; good for second overall in the league and putting them in clear contention for a return to Division 1 next season.

At the junior level, their dominance remains; six out of ten age group championships for boys over the last two years, and qualificationfor the final fours (both boys and girls) in all 16 competitions  in the last 2 years.

However, with BBL newcomers Manchester Giants’ recent announcements of partnerships for grassroots basketball across the region and plans for a junior development programme, it is clear the Magic, who are based in the Amaechi Basketball Centre; a purpose built facility funded by former NBA player John Amaechi, could be facing a threat to their basketball monopoly in the area.

“Competition from the Giants will be challenging,” admits Magic chief Joe Forber, who refutes claims Magic should simply become the feeder club of the Giants, saying they are two separate clubs with different philosophies. “We are confident that, given our history and past success, we will meet the challenge successfully.  We do have our own Senior team to feed!”

It is perhaps for this reason, Magic are looking to gain an edge with the announcement of scholarships with the University of Salford. The four scholarship packages will be offered from this September, through to September 2015 and applications are currently open to any players, inside or outside the programme.

“The offer of partnership Scholarships from the University of Salford came at a perfect time,” said Forber. “And will, hopefully, take us on to next level – it fits in exactly with our new philosophy at Senior level, which is to stress the student-athlete concept.”

With the BUCS Final 8s having just finished this weekend, and Worcester claiming their seventh title in the last ten years, how long will it be before we see the University of Salford taking their place amongst university basketball elite?

“Salford would like us to put their University Basketball Programme on the map,” Forber said. “Our commitment to them is that we will do all we can to attain BUCS Premier status during the period of our partnership.”

Currently competing in Northern 2A, they’ll have at least a couple of years before they’re competing in the top league, but if Manchester’s track record is anything to go by, long term plans should work just fine for them.

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