Brunel Ducks Stacking Up Roster For Inaugural D4 Season -

Brunel Ducks Stacking Up Roster For Inaugural D4 Season

Brunel Ducks are one of the new clubs that will be gracing Division 4 National League courts this season after finally receiving the backing from the university that the programme has been chasing for years.

The years of persistence (they were talking about a national league squad when I used to attend, close to a decade ago!) from former legendary sharp shooter and Head Coach Pete Deppisch, along with his assistant Noel Kinrade, is already paying off as they put together their squad, which will be at full strength for the first time this weekend, after gaining backing from Brunel Students Union and Brunel Commercial.

Brunel, historically, has always remained competitive in BUCS, despite not having scholarships or facility access close to that of some of their BUCS Premier counterparts, making the Final 8s almost every year over the last 15 years, and finishing as high as 4th in the country.

Like Liverpool last year, Deppisch has managed to get higher level players to buy in to a long term vision for the programme at the expense of playing Division 4, having assembled a roster that should have little trouble bringing prominence back to West London.

The biggest acquisition of the summer was athletic wing Benji Lawmann (you might remember him for the below dunk a couple of summers back). The 6’4″ Lawmann has spent time on BBL rosters, as well as in Europe, and now has enrolled at the university for the next 3 years.

Mix in Leon Bennett-Harris (NASSA/Westminster D1 last season), owner of one of the smoothest jump shots in the country, former Surrey United BBL guard Joel Henry (his release from NASSA, where he started this season, is just being completed), along with former London United big man Damian Reid, Prince Lartey (who began last season with Hemel Storm in D1), 6’11” Latvian big man Aviars Bouveris and veteran Ryan Cadogan, plus Buchi Azike, Sean Dzwairo, Joe Hall and Sam Dunscombe, and Deppisch has got himself a squad that on paper have to be one of the favourites for Division 4.

“I feel that so far we have a great blend of youth and experience,” Deppisch said. “It is still early days, but I feel as soon as we establish our team chemistry we will be a very competitive team.”

Deppisch says communication has been the key factor that has allowed him to get so many players to agree to play at a lower level than what they could.

“Speaking to players and finding out which avenues they want to explore in basketball has been the biggest factor,” he continued.

“By explaining to the players what we are trying to achieve and how we intend to help their player and off-court development.”

The dreams for the Ducks are now just confined to the UK either; at the end of the month they will be flying to Florida to compete against five NCAA Division 2 schools over he course of 9 days.

The name Ducks was chosen to pay tribute to the old Brunel Ducks national squad squad from the 80s, a story they came across after reading a book on the team.

“The book “Ducking and Diving” was brought to our attention,” Pete explained. “It tells the story of the Ducks who were a National League team based at Brunel in the 1980’s. After reading the book we caught up with John Kirkland the author, and sat and spoke about the hardships the Ducks first went through to eventually winning a championship a few years later.

“We discussed some of the ideas and visions we have and thought it would be great to relaunch the Ducks.”

With rumours rife of Division 4 being scrapped in the 2015-16 season to be replaced with regional development leagues, it is do or die for Brunel to gain promotion in their first year – but Pete says that was always the plan.

“Our aim was always to gain promotion each season, so it hasn’t really changed anything from that stand point. The plan is to rise up through the ranks to Division 1, and then look at the possibility of the BBL.

“At the same time we would like to strengthen our BUCS teams and prioritise the majority of our National league players to be Brunel student-athletes, and not to mention strengthen links with the community and our schools programme.”

Brunel, with their home court right in the middle of a campus of 15,000 students, have long been known for attracting some of the larger crowds seen at amateur games in the UK (when I used to play there it would get CRAZY at times), and the programme hopes that trend will continue with their national league side.

“I think we’ve established some pretty decent crowds and a great atmosphere over the past several years through a strong Student union and our BUCS basketball programme. Our aim is to continue promoting and marketing the Ducks the same way.

“We have an amazing team behind the scenes that have been truly dedicated and provided off court support in so many different ways, we can’t wait to get started.”

Brunel Ducks open up their season on Saturday (October 11) at 6:00pm at Brunel University Sports Centre.

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