From Birmingham to the Euroleague - with Steve Hansell - Ep. 59 -

From Birmingham to the Euroleague – with Steve Hansell – Ep. 59

For Episode 59 of the Hoopsfix Podcast we sit down with former England and GB international, and ten-year pro Steve Hansell.

Hansell, now coaching Team Birmingham Elite in NBL Division 2, had one of the most successful playing careers of any player out of the UK, being signed to Italian side Kinder Bologna (literally) straight out of college – as they would win a Euroleague title weeks after him leaving Illinois State, before making a Euroleague Final Four with AEK Athens three years later.

Having first represented England as an Under-15 and making his last international appearance at 37 years old, he represented his country for over 20 years, having made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament (after back-to-back conference championships), winning the FIBA Saporta Cup title, back-to-back Greek Cup titles and a pro career that saw him play in Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus plus a couple of short stints in the BBL.

In this 90 minute episode, hear from Steve on:

  • How he first started playing basketball at school
  • Making his BBL debut at 16 years old with Birmingham Bullets
  • The Birmingham basketball scene growing up
  • Playing in the Nike All-American camp and adidas ABCD with future NBA stars such as Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury and Ray Allen
  • The recruiting process and when the letters started coming
  • Attending Lincoln junior college for a year to get academically eligible
  • Making the transition to NCAA Division 1 basketball at Illinois State
  • The hardest practices he ever had to do
  • Going back-to-back with conference championships to head to the NCAA Tournament
  • His game against Tennessee to advance to the second round of the Tournament
  • Being in Italy within 2-3 weeks of his college career ending, joining a Bologna side that would win a Euroleague title
  • The level of the Italian league in the late 90s
  • His first full rookie year in Italy and making the transition to being a pro
  • The financial decision to play in Europe as opposed to the UK
  • His two short stints in the BBL with Birmingham and Brighton
  • Playing in Greece for AEK Athens and the fans
  • Making the Euroleague Final Four in 2001
  • Playing under Dusan Ivkovic
  • Competing against European legends such as Manu Ginobili and Dino Radja
  • Being involved in the first years of the revival of the GB programme in 2006-07
  • Seeing a young Luol Deng (in his second year in the NBA at that point) with GB
  • Making the decision to retire and the difficulty of the transition to not playing anymore
  • Coaching a young Myles Hesson and overseeing his development
  • The likelihood of seeing the return of a BBL franchise in Birmingham
  • And much, much more!
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