EABL 2017-18 Season Preview

As the EABL prepares to return for its fifth year in existence this week, we preview the teams competing in the league for the 2017-18 season.

Take a look and find out who the key recruits and returners are for each side, along with a word from Head Coaches.

East Conference

Barking Abbey

The defending champions have a near impossible task; topping a perfect undefeated season last year where they steamrolled through their opponents.

With the majority of their core all having departed for the US, including East Conference Player of the Year Amin Adamu, Finals MVP Dan Akin, and All-East First Team member RJ Eytle-Rock, BA will look vastly different this year.

However, they may have the strongest recruiting class in the league. They have brought in 2016-17 All-Conference First Team players Caleb Fuller and Micah Savery-Richards from Copleston and Allerton respectively, for third years, along with Great Britain Under-17 seven-footer Theo Hughes, and top Scottish prospect Alexander Ferguson.

Mix the incomers in with returners Pierce Maslen, Sean Nealon-Lion, Daniel Delgado and Joshua Kanini, it will be a squad with enough talent to repeat last year’s success.

“We are looking forward to another competitive year in the EABL,” commented reigning East Coach of the Year Lloyd Gardner.

“The competition gets better each year and we will have to ensure that we are ready to compete each week to maintain the success we have had in previous years.”

Full roster.


BHASVIC will be looking to reverse their fortune after a difficult period that has seen them pick up just one win in two years.

Returning their leader Enoch Quarcoo, along with Naseem McLoughlin, and bringing in Jake Watson and Andras Hubar, the team from the south coast will be a defensive-minded squad for 2017-18 and their coach, James Quinto, is feeling optimistic.

“I think we’re having a great pre-season so far, which I hope carries on throughout the year,” he stated.

“You can definitely feel that the right mindset, the right attitude, the focus and the determination is there from every individual which in no doubt will lead to us being a better team.

“I expect a different BHASVIC team this year. I expect us to be better defensively, be more aggressive on both ends, be more resilient to the challenges ahead of us and we will definitely be playing basketball the right way on both ends of the floor.”

Full roster.

Canterbury High School

Canterbury High School return some key players for 2017-18, and as a result will hope to better their 6-8 record from last season.

Quick, athletic guards Tyrese Walters-Lawrence and Jonathan both make a return, along with Elliot Bailey, Tunde Oyerinde and Milo Gordon.

Replacing GB Under-16 point guard Mate Okros, who departed for Myerscough, along with bigs Ryan Murunge and Ollie Dykes, and sharp-shooter Ollie Waymark, will be no small task but Head Coach Jesse Sazant is hoping GB Under-16 fringe player Chester Morrell, Daniel Beard, who comes in for a third year from BHASVIC after a solid season, and Sam Alajiki, who joins from Canterbury’s partner club Kent Crusaders will be up to the job.

“”We are hoping to play fast again this year,” Sazant commented. “We don’t have a lot of size but have lots of multi-positional players so will be interesting to see how we can maximise that.

“We’re looking forward to this season. We’ve got some key guys back and some interesting prospects coming in. The EABL is such a good opportunity for our guys to test themselves to see where they stand.”

Full roster.

City of London Academy

After the resounding success of their first two seasons in the EABL, 2017-18 will be a rebuilding year for City of London Academy.

With almost their entire core having departed for the US; Solomon Iluyomade, Mayowa Mohammed, Thai Segwai-Lodge, Gedi Juozapaitis, James Mitchell and Jonathan Komagum – primarily for a Prep year, Head Coach Sterling Muschett will be looking for new players to step up and returners to take on a bigger role.

Bigs Samuel Keita and Peter Turay will provide front court power, whilst the addition of GB Under-16 Louis Norton-Cuffy at the guard spot, along with Patrick Lanipekun who returns to CoLA after a year at Charnwood will provide additional support.

“We have a young team full of energy and our aim is to be disciplined and competitive on both ends of the floor,” Muschett said.

“We are looking forward to continuing our positive development of inner city youth and helping them grow as student-athletes.”

Full roster.

Copleston Sixth Form

Having just missed out on the post-season in 2016-17, that frustration will be compounded by the departure of players who could have been returners.

Highly touted prospect Veron Eze, who would’ve likely taken the reigns of the squad this year, has departed to Italy after signing a deal with Stella Azzura, and Caleb Fuller, one of the top players in the EABL last season has left to do a third year at East Conference rivals Barking Abbey. With Josh Apple and Rory Winter having also left for college in the US, it leaves Copleston in a rebuilding year.

Big man Jonny Hall returns, along with East regional player Blake Read, whilst Head Coach Nick Drane has recruited former England Under-16 fringe player Ben Winter, for a squad he wants to be aggressive defensively and reliant on physical inside play.

“Having lost so many high caliber players, we are expecting this to be a developmental year for our team,” Drane said.

“The loss of Veron and Caleb clearly hurts us in terms of high-level talent – both boys played for Great Britain this summer. However, both boys are a great advert for our academy so them moving on is a positive not a negative.

“We are going to be throwing some young guys into the deep end that will get a chance to play at this level as first years – which will be great for their development. There is a big responsibility on the shoulders of Jonny Hall, Ben Winter and Blake Read.”

Full roster.

Itchen College

No side has maximised their talent like Matt Guymon’s Itchen squads over the years, having taken the second seed in their conference all four years of competing in the EABL.

It looks to be a rebuilding year for Itchen, with the departure of almost the entirety of their core; Sam Van Oostrum, Rael Williams, Adam Riabi, Roman Farion and Vaughan Browne.

GB Under-18 fringe big man Ashley Briggs is the sole returner for the side who played a major role last season, whilst new additions from Lewisham Thunder, Genay Zorry and Lewis Gale, along Welsh Under-16 international Jasper Ladd will be looked at to contribute in their first years.

“We are going to be much smaller than in previous years,” Guymon commented.

“We are going to have to establish an up tempo style of play looking to excel in transition.”

Full roster.

John Madejski Academy

John Madejski Academy, like so many teams in the EABL for 2017-18, have seen no less than 15 players graduated from the programme after last season.

Included in the departures are East Conference Defensive Player of the Year Ibu Jassey Demba (college), and Conference All-Second team members Fidel Gomez de Enterria Lopez (returns to Spain for university) and Ali Sbai, who moves up to play for Reading Rockets’ Division 1 men’s team.

JMA retain the services of their only two third years in #5 Deng Top 50 ranked Alex Drincic, who had a breakout summer, and 6’10 centre Will Hur. Three players move into their second year with Iñigo Perez Baena, Matt Armstrong, and Adrian Nosa Castillo carrying the load for the group this year.

Four new players will join David Obediah as first year players, with Under 16s Matthew Marsh and Latrell Maitland playing up with the EABL squad.

Additionally, the programme has brought in Great Britain Under-18 Head Coach Alan Keane to take the reigns of the EABL side.

“As it will be my first year coaching in the EABL, I am very much looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“I have been watching the league very closely, particularly last year with the England U18 players involvement. The league seems to be very professionally run, an ability to scout teams and prepare each week and working with fully committed players is an exciting venture.”

Full roster.

Oaklands College

Oaklands will be hoping they can end their three year playoff drought and bounce back from a particularly tough season that saw them go 2-12 in 2016-17.

With key players such as Dominic Scott-Robinson, Mark James and Liamis Gruzdys moving on to colleges in the US, and a new Head Coach coming in, in Tom Baker, it is a transitional year for the team.

“Having been an assistant coach at Oaklands over the years I know the challenge ahead of us this season,” Baker commented.

“Getting Oaklands back to the playoffs like they did a few years ago is the main goal this year. I think, as always, every game is going to be a competitive one. The guys are ready to put in the work, we must look to start strong, stay together throughout this year and be ready to fight in every single game.”

Having brought in regional players Jordan Tomlinson and Ope Afolabi, along with returning Portuguese Under-18 fringe player Jose Morais, Jordan George and Wes Moore, Oaklands will look to play a running game, that relies on accurate three point shooting.

Full roster.

West Conference

Allerton High School

With three seasons in the EABL and yet to make a playoff appearance, Allerton will once again have their work cut out after the departure of a number of potential returners.

Star player Micah Savery-Richards has left for a Prep year at Barking Abbey, Jacques Misambu has headed to Derby College/Noel Baker School, whilst the talented Pandza brothers have left for the US to attend Kiski Prep.

Jake Aldridge will be expected to carry more of the load as a key returner, whilst Head Coach Matt Newby has recruited Yorkshire Under-17 players Harry Resendez, Isaiah Powell, Haben Malcolm Warner (GB Under-18 long list) and George Halliday to replace the anticipated missing output.

“The forthcoming season will be the biggest test the program has had and that said we need to be aware of the high quality match ups we will face each week,” Newby said.

“For the incoming class its about 24 months or 36 months of development and progress and they are committed bunch who I feel will mature in the process.

“Having such quality graduates, the new class will have to hit the ground running. My expectations are simple; we need to grow in to being a competitive team in a league which boasts the top players coaches and programs.

“You can expect the powerhouses of Charnwood, Myerscough and Barking to be up there again, whilst Derby continue to impress year in year out, there will always a tough test in Birmingham and the match up with SGS is always a spirited affair.”

Full roster.

BMET James Watt College

BMET James Watt College join the EABL after the switching of academic institutions for Head Coach Nigel Hanson’s programme from Bournville, where they made the post-season last year.

A number of key players have moved on, including Xavier McIntosh, Keanen Williams and big man Meris Mazalovic, as point guard David Stevic is the only major returner and will have to shoulder the load.

“If I’m honest, after the summer we’ve had with all the changes and uncertainty of moving academic institutions we’re just glad to be in the Elite Academy Basketball League with a group of guys that I think can do well,” professed Hanson.

Full roster.

Charnwood College

2016 EABL National Champions and 2017 runners up, Charnwood College, will hope to make it three straight years to the final.

Though their squad is significantly smaller this season; featuring just nine players, they return Sesan Russell – who looks prepared for a breakout season after a solid showing with the Great Britain Under-18 programme and at Deng Camp this summer, along with multi-faceted Welsh forward Morgan Carter and shooter Joe Bielak.

With electric point guard Johde Campbell, big man Henri Langton and sharpshooter Kyle Jimenez all having departed, along with Head Coach Josh Merrington who left for Portugal, Charnwood will be looking to new recruits to fill the void.

Their major coup in recruiting is Great Britain Under-18 big man Hosana Kitenge from Worthing Thunder, who will man the middle, along with point guard Niall Harris, and Gregorie Durand.

“We will be playing a fast up-tempo style of play, with aggressive defence, with a display of lots of energy,” said Assistant Coach Will Maynard.

“As a new coaching staff we are really looking forward to the challenge of the upcoming season. We believe we have a very strong group of players this year with a lot of skill, both returners and additions, and think we have a lot of potential to do well this year.”

Full roster.

Loreto Magic Basketball Academy

Loreto will hope to end a three year playoff drought, despite the departure of All Conference First Team member Kaiyem Cleary to Prep school in the US.

West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Michael Anumba returns, and with his ability to control games from both ends of the floor cemented his status amongst the top Under-19 players in the country this summer at Deng Camp. The athletic Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo joins Anumba, along with Wesley Oba, as they will be surrounded by new recruits from partner club Manchester Magic.

“With another year of recruits from our Manchester Magic junior programme, we will look to build our team on good principles and solid, sustainable foundations to produce unselfish, high IQ players with great characters ,” said Head Coach Peter Paraskeva.

“Our playing style will largely depend on the team in front of us. Knowing your opponents strengths and weaknesses is key in this league. All the games in this league are highly competitive and no team can be taken lightly.”

Full roster.

Myerscough College

Myerscough College come into the 2017-18 squad with a much younger team than usual, and will have big holes to fill with the departure of West Conference Player of the Year Zion Tordoff, along with Ayo Nuwe, Spas Nikolov and James Banton.

The addition of GB Under-16 Mate Okros from Canterbury High School is a major win for Neal Hopkins’ side, whilst Scot Callan Low, James Gray from Cheshire Wire, and former Oaklands guard Aaron Martin rounds out their notable recruiting class.

With the return of effective big man Edoardo Del Cadia, point guard Konrad Kantorski, and guard Rayon Brown and Alex Roberts, Myerscough will be hoping to once again compete for titles; last year they were eliminated in the Final Four, having been runners up in 2015-16 and champions in 2014-15.

“I expect us to play high tempo, with a strong guard play,” Hopkins said. “We ave a history of shooting well from the outside – hopefully this is maintained going into the new season.

“I’m looking forward to working with a group with exceptional potential, this is the youngest team we have had in what will be our fifth year. We are looking forward to new challenges and the journey we are about to enter, I expect us to grow as the season moves on and hopefully we will be competing for silverware come April.”

Full roster.

Derby College/Noel Baker School

Perennial post-season side Derby College/Noel Baker School will be hoping to break their playoff woes, which have seen them exit in the first round for the past five years.

The departure of twin brothers Adria and Brian Amabilino to Prep schools is a huge blow for two-time reigning West Conference Coach of the Year Matt Shaw’s side, as he will expect increased production from dynamic wing Leighton Elliott-Sewell, along with fellow returners Luke Ptak, Jrae Lue and Myles Alexander.

Notable recruits include Great Britain Under-16 long list member Charlie Brown and Scot Alexander Geddes, as Derby will look to get out in transition and run and gun.

“The EABL is always very competitive and such a great environment for our players to learn and improve,” Shaw commented.

“I’m excited about the coming season. We have some really promising young players so it will be fun to see how we gel.”

Full roster.

SGS College

Reeling off the back of the worst season in their EABL history, where they failed to pick up a win at 0-12, SGS College return hoping for a much improved performance.

The return of 2016-17 EABL efficiency, rebounding and blocked shot leader AJ Edu is the key piece of the puzzle for Head Coach Guy Coles, as the squad will go as far as the Philippine national can lead them.

Ross Newland joins the team from Myerscough College, whilst Cai Gibson, a Welsh Under-16, is another notable addition.

“The EABL is always competitive and this is what we are looking to do, compete,” Coles said.

“We improved throughout last season and felt if there had been a few more games we would have registered some wins. With a number of returning players we are looking to carry this momentum forward into this season.”

Full roster.

The 2017-18 EABL season begins on Wednesday September 27.  Keep up to date with the EABL throughout the season by following on TwitterFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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