Month: July 2018

Manchester Magic vs USA Select 2018

Magic to face USA select in pre-season friendly

The Manchester Magic will welcome once again the USA Select team to the Manchester Basketball Centre on Tuesday 11th September, tip-off at 8:00pm, as part of preparations for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

The game will take place before the already announced Battle of Manchester Series, where the Magic face the Manchester Giants for the first time in a two-game series. The first game at the Giants’ PowerLeague Arena Trafford (Trafford Way, M17 8DD) base, on Sunday 16th September, tip off 5:00pm and the second game at the Magic’s Manchester Basketball Centre (Wilbraham Road, M16 8GW) base, on Tuesday 18th September at 8:00pm.

The USA Select team is made up of athletes that have completed their college / NCAA eligibility and are looking for professional contracts internationally by touring Europe playing a series of exhibition games in hopes to create contract opportunities.

The USA Select teams that have visited in the past few years have always provided a tough test for the Magic team and Head Coach Aurimas Verbukas expects no difference this time around, “We are delighted that USA Select are coming over here once again this year to play the Magic.

“They have visited us for the last few seasons and they always provide our teams with a tough test. It is always a competitive game and I am sure this one will be no exception.

“I hope to see full Manchester Basketball Centre for this game and am calling on all the Manchester basketball community for their support; we will have a full-strength team for this game.”

The Magic have announced five players so far (Kayin Darbey, Ali Sbai, Andre Gayle, Josh Houghton and Kaphel Ulett-Waul) with more player announcements planned in the coming weeks.

Tickets will be available on the door, at £5 for Adults, £2.50 for Children and Concessions and £12.50 for a Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children).

Manchester Mystics

Manchester Mystics at Wythenshaw Games ‘This Girl Can’ Day

The annual Wythenshawe Games took place this week at Wythenshawe Park. The Manchester Mystics were represented by Women’s Academy Head Coach Mbongeni Greg Mpofu and junior players Chloe Andrew, Holly Bryan and Darcey Gordon.

Friday at the event was earmarked by the organisers as ‘This Girl Can’ day, aimed at engaging young women and girls to come and try sessions and the Mystics were on hand to deliver basketball sessions on behalf of Basketball England.

Mpofu was pleased with the turn-out, “I was quite impressed to see so many people roll up and pick up a ball with a smile on their face, the vast majority of whom had never even tried basketball before.

“The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is one that has great significance for me, and it was an honour for Basketball England to invite us over to be a part of it.”

“I was happy to have 3 junior players from our programme giving up their time to share their love and passion for the game with the community at large.”

Manchester Mystics’ Commonwealth Games silver medal winning guard Georgia Jones was also present, inspiring youngsters with her medal and tales of her journey.

“Georgia’s a local kid like most of these girls, and she has worked hard and earned great opportunities via the sport.

“We’re always aiming to spark a dream in young people, and no better role models exist than the ones from where you’re from, that you can relate to. That’s what makes Georgia such an inspiration.” Mpofu said.

Magic sign Josh Houghton and Kaphel Ulett-Waul 2018-19

Manchester Magic sign former juniors Houghton and Ulett-Waul

Manchester Magic have signed former juniors Josh Houghton and Kaphel Ulett-Waul for the upcoming NBL Division 1 season.

Houghton and Ulett-Waul are no strangers to each other as they played on the Magic Under 18 side that won the League and Cup double in 2008.

Houghton made two appearances as a Magic Junior at the annual Haris Memorial Tournament in 2007 and 2008, with the Magic finishing second and third respectively.

Ulett-Waul made three appearances in tournament, helping Magic U16s to seventh in 2007 and the U18s to third in both 2008 and 2009.

Houghton, 27, is a 6ft 2in shooting guard, while Ulett-Waul, 26, is a 6ft point guard.

Houghton joins the team after taking a break from the game, while Ulett-Waul joins from NBL Division 2 side Liverpool.

Last season, Ulett-Waul played 21 games, making 19 starts and averaging 34 minutes per game, 15.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game.

Magic head coach Aurimas Verbukas said: “I am very happy to see two more Magic juniors returning to play for us next season.

“Josh is a former England U16 and U18 international and is regarded as one of the best shooters in the English basketball.

“His ability to shoot and score in a variety of ways is something that I always like.

“We spoke with Josh and he is more than 100% behind the direction we are trying to go. Having his experience will help our young guards and team to achieve clubs objectives this season.

“He has a high basketball IQ and also can play on both sides of the floor, which makes him even more valuable to the team.

“He came through our junior ranks, so he knows what our club is all about and can pass this to the juniors coming up.

“Kaphel has great character, which I admire, as he will be a leader on the court and in the dressing room. He will be a great example to our younger junior players.

“He brings quickness and basketball IQ to the team that will fit very well with the style we will play next season.

“I coached his younger brother, with whom we won a national championship a couple of years ago, so I’m looking forward to work with another Ulett-Waul.”

Josh said: “I started playing basketball at Manor Road before the Manchester Basketball Centre was built. I then played all my club basketball with Magic before moving to Leeds when I was 21.

“I have never played for Coach Ollie before, so I am excited to start the season and give him 100% effort.”

Kaphel is excited to be back as a Magic player, saying: “It is good to be representing a club that helped develop me from a young age.

“I am looking forward to learning from Coach Ollie as I know he is a student of the game with a lot to offer.”

The Battle of Manchester Series 2018

The Battle of Manchester is on

The Battle of Manchester Series is on between the BBL Manchester Giants and the NBL Division One Manchester Magic in a 2-game series as part of preparations for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

The first game will be held at the Giants’ PowerLeague Arena Trafford (Trafford Way, M17 8DD) base, on Sunday 16th September, tip off 5:00pm. While the second game will be held at the Magic’s Manchester Basketball Centre (Wilbraham Road, M16 8GW) base, on Tuesday 18th September at 8:00pm.

Ticket prices (for both games) will be Adult: £5, Children & Concessions: £2.50, Family (2 adults & 3 children): £12.50.

Magic Head Coach Aurimas Verbukas commented, “This game is a long overdue!

“The Battle of Manchester for Manchester basketball fans. For our sport!

“Two of the biggest clubs in the North West will play for the first time against each other and that is great news.

“Manchester United vs Manchester City have their own derby, so myself and Danny Byrne [Giants Head Coach] thought why can’t basketball in our City have that?

“Danny is a good friend of mine and both of us agree that a healthy battle between our teams will be great advert for our sport.

“I am hoping to see full gyms at the both games!”

Giants’ Coach Byrne commented, “This game has been a long time coming, and I know there’s always been talk of Giants playing Magic.

“Speaking with Ollie, we now feel that the time is right to put together this showpiece for basketball in the North West.

“It’ll be good to put on a show for both sets of fans. It’s going to be exciting and hopefully we can make this a permanent fixture in the friendly calendar.”

More pre-season friendly games will be announced soon.

Magic and Mystics Great Britain

Emeka-Anyakwo selected for Great Britain U18 at European Championships

Manchester Magic’s Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo has been selected to represent Great Britain U18 Men at the Division A European Championships in Liepaja, Ventspils and Riga in Latvia on 28th July to the 5th August.

They play Montenegro, Serbia and Lithuania in their group stages in Group D, their schedule is as follows:

28th July GB 87-78 Montenegro at 12:00noon (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo played 13 minutes had 7 points 3 rebounds 1 steal

29th July Serbia 102-71 GB at 12:00noon (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo played 16 minutes had 6 points 3 rebounds 2 assists

31st July Lithuania 93-82 GB at 4:30pm (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo played 14 minutes had 1 rebound 1 steal

1st August Finland 73-77 GB at 12:00noon Round of 16 (Video) Division A status secured for 2019.

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo did not play (injured)

3rd August Latvia 76-51 GB at 4:30pm Quarter Finals (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo did not play (injured)

4th August GB 68-100 Lithuania at 2:15pm 5th-8th Classification Games (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo did not play (injured)

5th August GB 70-68 Montenegro at 12:00noon 7th-8th Classifications Games (Video)

Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo did not play (injured)

Great Britain U18 Men finish in 7th place

For updates visit our Summer of International Basketball page

Magic sign Andre Gayle 2018-19

Manchester Magic sign former junior Gayle for 2018/19

Manchester Magic have signed former junior Andre Gayle for the 2018/19 NBL Division 1 season.

The 6ft 4in shooting guard joins from NBL Division 2 side Liverpool, where he played 18 games last season.

He made 13 starts, averaging 26.2 minutes, 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game.

The 23 year-old is Magic’s third signing of the summer, joining the returning Kayin Darbey and new-recruit Ali Sbai.

“I am very much excited to be back at my home town team and I am excited to play for a coach who is so passionate and has so much love for the game like Coach Ollie does,” said Gayle.

He made two appearances as a Magic junior at the annual Haris Memorial Tournament in 2011 and 2012, with the Magic finisheing second and third respectively.

He also won back-to-back National Cup titles with the Magic.

Gayle is the nephew of former Magic player and British basketball legend Steven Gayle.

Speaking about his uncle’s influence on him, Gayle said: “I first got into basketball when I went to high school because my uncle was the basketball coach at my school.

“I then started to take basketball more seriously and joined Manchester Magic at 15.”

Magic head coach Verbukas said: “I am happy to see one of our juniors returning. This fits well with our club ethos and philosophy of loyalty.

“Andre is a good player that will make a big impact straight away.

“The qualities he will bring to the team are his court vision, shooting ability and leadership potential that will go a long way to aiding the development of our juniors around him.”

Barney Blake joins Manchester Basketball Programme

Barney Blake joins Manchester Basketball Programme

Barney Blake has joined the club, where he will be performing performance analysis duties for the Division 1 men’s team, in addition to becoming a member of the junior girls’ coaching programme.

Barney has previously worked with Great Britain & England national teams as a performance analyst and spent the previous season coaching with Myerscough College’s women’s programme.

He recently led the North West Under 13 Girls to second at the Regional Development Tournament in Manchester.

“Barney will bring a skill set to the club that will make a positive impact on the performance analysis side,” said club chief executive Phil Gordos.

“His coaching knowledge will also be a key factor in moving the club forward.”

Mystics U18 head coach Mbongeni Greg Mpofu said: “Adding Barney to our coaching team with the girls’ programme is another step forward in what we’re trying to build. He fits in with the ethos of the club, and we’re all happy to have him on board.”

Barney Blake 2018
Quintet enjoying Chus Mateo Camp 2018

Quintet enjoying the challenge of Chus Mateo Academy Camp

Magic coaches Aurimas Verbukas and Tom Paraskeva, along with club juniors Josh Grant, Nathan Conaty and Courtney Kenyon-Betts, are currently enjoying the challenge of the highly prestigious Chus Mateo Academy Camp in Spain.

Coach Verbukas is enjoying the high level of competition and explained why he feels the camp is the perfect opportunity for young players to get better.

“It is a great camp to learn from the one of the best European coaches from over the Europe, EuroLeague champions, etc,” he said.

“Tom and I are enjoying the high level of players and coaches at the camp. It is a good opportunity for us and the Magic and Mystics players.

“We both thank Chus Mateo and his staff for the opportunity. It is a privilege for me to be a part of the Chus Mateo Academy Camp for fourth year.

“I would advise every kid from England to attend this camp and become a better player.”

Courtney added: “This is my second year on camp and the training on camp has really improved my skills and help me to become a better player.”

Josh and Nathan are both attending the camp for the first time.

“The camp is very intense and I feel like I am improving each day.” said Josh.

Nathan added: “The camp has been good so far and I hope to come back in the future.”

Chus Mateo Academy Basketball Camp 2018
Basketball Wales

Gordos and Lythe De Pee selected for Wales U16 at Euros

Manchester Magic’s Luke Gordos and Henry Lythe De Pee have been selected to represent Wales at the Small Countries European Champions (also known as Division C) in Serravalle, San Marino on 3rd to the 11th July.

They play Malta, Gilraltar, Scotland and Andorra in their group stages, their schedule is as follows:

3rd July Malta 60-71 Wales at 1:30pm

Luke Gordos played 37 minutes had 22 points 7 rebounds 9 assists 3 steals

Henry Lythe De Pee played 7 minutes had 1 rebound  

5th July Wales 68-71 Gibraltar at 7:00pm

Luke Gordos played 17 minutes had 3 points 7 rebounds 3 assists 

Henry Lythe De Pee played 22 minutes had 5 points 2 rebounds 4 assists 2 steal

7th July Scotland 58-65 Wales at 11:30am

Luke Gordos played 37 minutes had 16 points 11 rebounds 5 assists 4 steals 1 block

Henry Lythe De Pee played 11 minutes had 2 rebounds 1 steal

8th July Wales 56-50 Andorra at 4:30pm

Luke Gordos played 29 minutes had 7 points 4 rebounds 4 assists 4 steals

Henry Lythe De Pee played 9 minutes had 4 points 1 rebounds

10th July Wales 66-56 San Marino at 7:00pm (Semi-Final)

Luke Gordos played 39 minutes had 20 points 4 rebounds 4 assists 3 steals 3 blocks

Henry Lythe De Pee played 8 minutes had 2 points 2 rebounds 1 assist

11th July Andorra 84-49 Wales at 6:00pm (Final)

Luke Gordos played 21 minutes had 10 points 5 rebounds 1 assist

Henry Lythe De Pee played 13 minutes had 2 points 2 rebounds 1 assist 1 steal

Wales finish in second place

Visit our Summer of International Basketball article here to stay up to date with the latest international results this summer.

Magic sign Ali Sbai 2018-19

Magic make Sbai second signing for 2018-19 season

The Manchester Magic have wasted no time in signing the talented youngster Ali Sbai for the NBL Division One Men 2018-19 Season.

The 6ft 5in Moroccan/British Small Forward Sbai joins the Magic from league rivals Reading Rockets, where he played 25 games last season, making 3 starts, averaged 15.7 minutes per game, 7.3 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, making 1.2 3-pointers per game.

The 20 year-old, is Coach Verbukas’s second signing of the summer, joining the returning Kayin Darbey, and Sbai is excited to be on board, “I’m excited to play for the Magic because when I played against them in the past, the atmosphere was amazing and you can see how much support the community gives to the club. I can’t wait to be a part of the Magic family.”

Sbai and Magic Head Coach Verbukas have worked together before as Sbai explains: “When I first met Coach Ollie it was at Deng Camp, he helped me so much.

“I’ve always wanted him as a Head Coach because I know that he can get the best out of me. I can’t wait.”

Coach Verbukas is thrilled to welcome Sbai to Manchester, “We are delighted to welcome Ali to the Magic family.

“Ali is a very passionate player who I’ve worked with over previous years at the Deng Top 50 Camp.

“He is a proven junior with experience in NBL Division One and we look forward to working with him to achieve this season’s objectives.” 

Image Credit: Deng Camp