- National Teams
Surrey Sports Park has announced that former Guildford and Surrey Heat coach Creon Raftopoulos will lead the rebranded Surrey Scorchers team in the British Basketball League (BBL).
The Zimbabwean began his first season in the BBL in 2010 with Guildford Heat, taking his side on three consecutive play-off runs.
His final season in charge saw Raftopoulos secure his best BBL finish to take, including a Championship Play-off semi-final after finishing 4th during the regular campaign and Cup and Trophy quarter-final appearances.
Creon returns to the BBL after a two season hiatus, in which time he turned his attentions to community development including playing a role including the introduction of Walking Basketball around the country.
Following his signing, Raftopoulos said:
“I am really excited to take up this position with Surrey Scorchers and get back to coaching in the BBL.
“We’ve got some great plans to develop a club built around community engagement that is both successful and sustainable, something that Surrey has been crying out for for a long time.
“I have been fortunate to cover a number of BBL games as a colour commentator for BBLTV, which has kept me in touch with all the teams’ style of play.
“I am already in contact with a number of potential players who I am keen to get on court and I am hoping to have a full squad together soon to begin pre-season training and be ready for the start of the 2015/16 season in September.”
In a nod to Surrey’s basketball history, Surrey Scorchers will usher in a new dawn for professional basketball in the county.
The brand change takes place ahead of the 2015/16 BBL season and encompasses a new identity, logo, kit, website and social media channels.
Gavin Baker, new Surrey Scorchers Franchise Director said, “Today is the start of a new era for professional basketball in Surrey with the launch of Surrey Scorchers.
“We were keen to reflect back on the proud history of basketball in the area and had explored a return to the Heat franchise following two years as Surrey United.
“However due to a number of factors, this was unachievable and therefore we have today launched a fresh club identity, which is an extension from the Heat years, but we feel gives us a new start and an opportunity to fully professionalise the team on and off the court.
“Scorchers will now sit comfortably alongside our existing netball franchise Surrey Storm and badminton franchise Surrey Smashers, to offer a collective of professional sports teams Surrey can be proud of.
“We hope the entire basketball community of Surrey including fans past and present can get behind the new team, as we look to build a competitive squad and a club with community at its heart.”
Fixtures and tickets are due to be released at 12pm on Wednesday 1st July, with the first player announcement at 12pm on Thursday 2nd July, both via the official Surrey Scorchers website.