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Showing posts from September, 2013


*Prize doesn't include travel or accommodation, winners must inform us of the selected game, tickets will be available for collection from the ticket office on game night!

EckSell excited by the future of Hoops Aid

Hoops Aid took place on Sunday with multiple stars on show - both celebrity and sports - as Lance Haggith's vision for a charity basketball match became reality.

The event saw stars such as Jody Latham, D-Jukes, Dane Bowers and the majority of the 2013 Big Brother housemates involved as well as the likes of John Regis and multiple BBL players.

One man who played a key role in the event was rapper EckSell who helped promote the event and also come up with the events anthem called 'Dreamz'.

EckSell also performed the anthem on the day at the Copper Box which saw a near-capacity crowd.

He said: "Everyone enjoyed themselves, a good event, a good turnout, the amount of people supporting the cause - it was a great turnout."

"I came up with the idea that I could write an anthem, it was Lance who inspired me to write the anthem."

"He told me all about the event and his son Ellis and it all came to light then and that's what gave me the inspiration to w…

Ballin' Song of the Week

The current Ballin' song of the week is 'Dreamz' by EckSell! The song is the official HOOPS AID anthem!!

BBP: The UK Basketball Hub's BBL Preview

To cap what have been a few interesting interviews we bring you our preview to finish our BIG BBL PREVIEW!

The new BBL season looks to be one of the most interesting in recent years, with no one quite sure just who will be crowned the champions.

We start with the Leicester Riders and it is crucial that the majority of their roster have returned and in Rob Paternostro they have continuity and proven success.

The 2012/13 season obviously proved to be a trophy winning campaign with an appearance in every final possible, winning the BBL Cup, BBL league and play-off final.

Their biggest rivals last season were Newcastle who featured in the BBL title race, finishing second and lost both the BBL Cup and play-off final to Leicester.

The Newcastle Eagles will be keen to match-up to Leicester and the two will both be hoping that the trophies arrive at their respective arenas.

Glasgow Rocks and Plymouth Raiders will both be hoping to challenge following a decent season, the Rocks having GB Inter…

BBP EXTRA: Daniel Routledge previews the new BBL season!

We've previewed the new BBL season for every team and now we have the chance to speak to the current voice of the BBLDaniel Routledge.

Routledge has commented on the BBL for Sky Sports and will be headed into the new season as the host of BBL TV's game coverage.

The commentator and general basketball personality, thinks that this season will be more competitive at the top of the BBL.

He said: "[Last season] was a really exciting finish, there wasn't much between the teams, some of the teams at the bottom of the table were beating teams at the top of the season."

"It's always hard to judge teams until you see them out of court, having said that, Worcester have strengthened, Glasgow look strong, Newcastle have reloaded, Leicester have brought most of their roster back."

"It looks like the teams have got better but obviously until you get out on the court, it is hard to tell what will happen."

He also believes that it will be difficult for…

National Paralympic Day 2013

People from all over the country came together, to celebrate National Paralympic Day 2013. A showcase of Paralympic sport, a tribute to the success of London 2012 and a chance for people who haven't been involved in Paralympic sport to join in.

The Olympic and Paralympic spirit from London's successful games around 12 months ago was evidently on display with a large crowd coming to contribute to and feed off the spirit of the games.

There were various events throughout the day, with Bocia, Table Tennis and Sitting Volleyball all on display to a packed out Copper Box.

The final event of the day was the Wheelchair Basketball - an exhibition women's match between GB and Spain, which saw a near capacity crowd and brought people from all over - from Spain to Surrey.

The Mayor Of London Boris Johnson received a Paralympic Order medal given to him by Rita Van Driel a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Both described the Paralympic games as 'the greatest ever h…

BBP: Leicester Riders: 'The BBL is difficult to predict'

The Leicester Riders were by far and away the best team and biggest success in the BBL during the 2012-13 season.

The Riders managed to finish top of the BBL ladder with three defeats in total, also winning the BBL Cup and Play-offs while losing in the BBL Trophy Final.

Rob Paternostro is the mastermind behind the triumph, and the Riders head coach isn't sure what next season will bring.

He said: "You go into every season with a little bit of unknown, you have to become familiar with new players and familiar with teams who have a lot of new players."

"The BBL is difficult to predict until your team has played and until you have seen other teams play as you don't know how the players will adapt."

"This season is wide open and that is a nice thing for the league and the good thing about the BBL, many teams will have a change of personality and high hopes."

Paternostro was tight-lipped when it came to his prediction for the new season but is aiming f…

BBP: Manchester Giants: 'I wouldn't rule out signing for another team'

Former GB star Nick George is currently running his Pro Performance, but is also hoping to finish his career in England by joining a BBL team.

As a Manchester lad, George is keen to join up with the team he played with for part of last season and help them achieve the play-off spot they just missed out on.

But he also admits that if the situation suited he would be more than happy to join another BBL team or at least discuss it.

He said: "I would possibly [sign for a different club], Manchester is perfect for me, It's my hometown, my family is here but I wouldn't be opposed to signing for another team."

"I've said that I want to end my career playing in England,  I've played in Europe and I've done everything I wanted to do."

"I enjoyed last season, it was a good experience in a tough situation - the team had just joined the league, it was good for the team to be competitive."

He isn't convinced that the BBL is better than it was i…

Mark Fosbrook on National Paralympic Day and HoopsAid

Mark Fosbrook is one of Great Britain's most experienced and talented wheelchair basketball players having plied his trade with the RGK TCAT Rhinos in the Super League.

With National Paralympic Day just a day away, we spoke to Mark about the sport and what the day means.

He said: "I realised from a young age that I wanted to play sport to show that disability didn't effect me, I loved competing and representing my country."

"I enjoy the fast-paced movement and and the ball skills required [to play wheelchair basketball] and never wanted to give it up."

"I think that [National Paralympic Day] is hugely important, since I started playing participation has improved, people now realise the disability doesn't matter, [Paralympians] put in the same effort as Olympians.

"This is a serious level of competition, the event will help raise the profile of Paralympic sports and hopefully increase participation further."

Fosbrook is also set to take pa…

Mersey Tigers: Eleven Words

For the majority of fans of sport there is nothing better than watching your team compete at the highest level, going to the ground, arena, hearing the crowd roar as they see that buzzer beating shot, that last minute goal, the home run that wins the game.

For one team in British basketball they are looking at a season having gone backwards with little response.

It has been 57 days (at time of writing) since the Mersey Tigers departed the British Basketball League with no proper statement from the division.

There were however 11 words which will haunt the Mersey Tigers fans, club and players alike which ended their spell in British basketball's top tier:

"Follow a Review, the Mersey Tigers have had their franchise withdrawn."

Fans of the team have been faced with the now very real prospect of not having a local team in the BBL for the 2013/14 season.

The team failed to win a single game in the 2012/13 BBL season but no official reason has yet been given.

The club also pu…

James Roberts talks National Paralympic Day and HoopsAid

James Roberts is a Paralympic who has been part of rowing and volleyball on the International stage and now plays wheelchair basketball for the Rhyl Raptors.

Saturday marks National Paralympic Day and the following week on the Sunday will see HoopsAid arrive at the Copper Box.

Roberts believes that the Paralympic Day will be a good opportunity for demonstrate and promote Paralympic sport.

He said: "I think it's great and is building on the legacy from the games, it gives some of the athletes involved the chance to showcase their sport."

"I got involved in Paralympic sport in 2003/4, I used to play able-bodied sport but was asked about doing Paralympic sports and I got into the national team for Beijing and London."

"I've always enjoyed basketball and was drawn to it, [the wheelchair version] is much more strategic with more elements to it."

Roberts is also taking part in the HoopsAid event on Sunday 15th September which includes many famous faces…

BBP: Cheshire Phoenix: 'we want this club back where it belongs'

The Cheshire Phoenix have gone through various changes over the past year, with the club almost fading out of existence at some points before and during 2012/13.

Now they look a lot more stable under new ownership and having appointed a new coach back in May this year.

John Lavery is back in charge of the Phoenix and with a squad coming together, he is hoping to be able to compete at the top end of the ladder.

He said: "Obviously there were some problems last season, but the guys did tremendously well to stay together and keep training and playing - I hold my hat off to them."

"It's huge to come into this season with more stability, at the moment we have two fantastic owners who want to move forward."

"They want to put this club back where it belongs and that is at the top of the BBL, competing for silverware."

So what was behind Lavery's decision to return to his old club? Well he believes that the future is bright for the Phoenix.


National Paralympic Day - Liam Holt talks wheelchair hoops

Ahead of National Paralympic Day on Saturday 7th September we will be running a series of interviews on the Paralympics - particularly wheelchair basketball.

If you want to know more about the sport of wheelchair basketball click HERE for an introduction to the sport (go to the bottom of the page).

Liam Holt is our first interviewee, he plays wheelchair basketball and was part of Channel 4's Paralympic presenting team during London 2012.

Holt was keen to encourage people who hadn't played or seen wheelchair basketball to get involved.

He said: "It's a fast-paced game which is brutal at times! To me it is just as exciting as the able-bodied game."

"The wheelchairs add a different dimension, the element of positioning and controlling the chairs make the game more strategical."

"It's exciting to watch, like an extreme chess or chess with violence! People who come for the first time are pleasantly surprised by what they see."

"I started …

BBP: Surrey United: "One of our strengths is United's past"

Surrey United - previously Surrey Heat - have gone through multiple changes this summer, including a change of owner, name, coach and various players.

The 2012/13 season was largely a success with the team finishing in fourth place and getting to the play-off semi-finals.

Now a new man is in charge; Jack Majewski, who was part of London United's BBL exploits which are confined to recent history.

He is keen to dispel any fears that Surrey's stay in the BBL may be shortened by the takeover and thinks the future can be bright.

He said: "I don't believe in a program which isn't run on integrity and financial transparency and at London United we were misled that the borough would pump money into basketball and we are paid for our mistakes."

"The main difference between then and now will be stability, we will use local young players and we can use Surrey Sports Park and Surrey University as a base, so players can come in for three years."

"We want to…

BBL People: The Art of Commentating

There are many elements that come together to make sure that every basketball match is entertaining and enjoyable for everyone.
The music played, the dancers, the crowd participation and in particular the commentary are all elements which can be seen as part of the background to the matches foreground.

Steven Edwards is a commentator (in-house) for the London Lions and explains to us what the commentator has to do.

"Your right in the thick of the action, it's your job to not only act as the mc - introducing the players - but also describing the action that's going on so that fans who haven't been to many games can start understanding what they see in front of them."

"Last season the Lions were playing in Crystal Palace and that was getting crowds of up to and around 1,700 people, more and more people were coming."

"Now we are at the Copper Box everything has increased, so a much larger crowd and a better atmosphere, so as a commentator we will fee…

Team GB v Israel highlights

GB 75-71 Israel

Andrew Bridge Talks Retirement

Andrew Bridge is a bone-fide BBL legend and on top of that has a Commonwealth Games bronze medal to boot!

Playing in the Newcastle Eagles team that swept the board, Bridge moved to Sheffield where he closed out his career by winning a little bit more!

In his final season with the Sharks last year, Bridge helped the team to achieve a BBL Trophy victory against the much favoured Leicester Riders.

He spoke to us about his career, his future, the future of the BBL and what he believes the Sheffield Sharks can achieve.

He said: "When I left Sheffield for the first time [in 2002] it was a big event in my life, it was probably the best thing that could have happened as I had to move away and out of my comfort zone."

"The biggest highlight for me was playing for Newcastle in 2005/06 when we won the clean sweep and then to play for England at the Commonwealth Games and win a bronze medal - it was the best year of my career."

"At Newcastle there was an expectation to wi…

BBP: Sheffield Sharks: "I wanted to go out on a high"

The BIG BBL Preview for the Sheffield Sharks is slightly different to the other posts, with Andrew Bridge - now retired - speaking to us ahead of their new season.

The Sharks captured the BBL Trophy much to the surprise of most fans as they were playing the powerful force that is the Leicester Riders, who won everything else!

Bridge has spent the majority of his career at the Sheffield Sharks and Newcastle Eagles and has won a bronze medal with the English basketball team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

He believes that it was the right time to leave both the Sheffield Sharks and professional basketball behind.

He said: "There was a combination of things [that led him to retire] - my family lived in Newcastle and I lived in Sheffield, I also had other work opportunities with the Youth Sports Trust."

"The main sporting reason why I decided to retire was to go out as a winner and end my career in a season when we won a trophy."

"There was always a temptation to …

D-Jukes ready for HoopsAid

HoopsAid is set to take place on September 15th with various celebrities, Olympic, Paralympic and Battle-back stars set to join in the fun.

The Olympic Copper Box is set to host what should be a thoroughly enjoyable basketball occasion and one of the names involved is D-Jukes.

If you've not heard of D-Jukes, then you should have! He has been played in BBC Radio 1Xtra and you can have a listen to his song by clicking the play button next to it on THIS Charlie Sloth page.

D-Jukes is involved in both playing and performing at HoopsAid 2013 and has been involved in the official anthem 'Dreams' - alongside Sophia May and EckSell.

Speaking ahead of the event D-Jukes says he is glad he has the opportunity to give back to charity at HoopsAid.

He said: "At the event I will be performing and also playing, I've got my new song 'Good Times' which I will be singing at the event."

"It was a very easy decision to take part in HoopsAid as it's giving back an…

BBP: Newcastle Eagles: 'Players come here to win'

The Newcastle Eagles are the most successful team in BBL history with various honours - including 18 since 2005.

The Eagles suffered a trophy-less season in 2012-13 but could look back on a season where they finished 2nd in the ladder and finished runners-up in two finals.

Paul Blake, the managing director, believes this season could be the most competitive season in BBL history.

He said: "It's kind of a new era for the league, over the past few seasons we've battled it our with one or two teams who have fallen away or are no longer in existence."

"Now Leicester have found a way to achieve sustainable success and other teams like Worcester and Sheffield have found their feet then you have the Glasgow Rocks and the usual suspects."

"The newer teams are improving, but it will be tough for everyone and not just for us as the quality is beginning to run down the league."

Blake has a lot on his hands, helping run multiple teams down the British basketb…

BBP: Plymouth Raiders: 'I can bring class and integrity'

Last season the Plymouth Raiders managed a play-off semi-final spot despite finishing sixth on the BBL ladder and will be hoping to be as competitive in the 2013/14 season.

The semi-final stage was also where the teams BBL Cup dreams ended with a nine point defeat to Newcastle Eagles.

Garrius Holloman is a new addition to the squad who comes from America to compete and is hopeful of a trophy.

He said: "I don't have any personal goals other to be a good team mate both on and off the court and help the club grow and help them win a championship."

"I feel like I am a hard worker and I want to help whatever the team needs, I've heard it's a great surrounding and great community, i'm just looking forward to having a first-hand experience of the area."

"I love to play the game of basketball and I'm not picky on what leagues to play in, this opportunity came and I took it."

Holloman can play on as a wing or guard and is excited to begin his j…