Year: 2020

Ex-Magic junior Ani ready for Bayern Challenge

Ex-Magic junior Ani ready for Bayern challenge

Jason Ani was heading to the United States after securing a move to top prep outfit Hillcrest in Arizona after ending his junior career with Manchester Magic.

But visa issues amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant the former Loreto Sixth Form College and St Peter’s RC High School student chose Europe instead.

And after a successful workout with Bayern, the 6ft 4in guard, a key member of Magic’s EABL and Senior Men programmes, will spend this season playing Pro B and U19 basketball for the club.

How did the move to Bayern come about?

JA: “Playing in Germany, my home country, had always been at the back of my mind, but I never really took it seriously until late September, when I wasn’t being granted a visa to fly to the United States. I had a team-mate I played AAU with in the States who had played in Germany. One day, I just texted him and asked if he could reach out to some teams for me. He gave my highlights to his coach who knew a few coaches in Germany. Around two days later, I got a phone call in the morning from Bayern, asking me to trial and that they were interested.”

What are your first impressions of the club?

JA: “When I first got to Bayern, my mind was blown. Their facilities are, in my opinion, NBA-level. They had everything. Even the younger players are treated like professionals. They really take it seriously and that’s what helped make my mind up. I felt like Bayern could get me to the level I need to be at to reach my full potential.”

How tough was it to turn down Hillcrest?

JA: “It was very tough. I’m not great at having tough conversations with people. It stressed me out at first because I really wanted to go there and it was already all over social media that I was going to the US. After thinking it through, the best option was definitely Bayern.”

What are your goals with Bayern?

JA: “After this year, I am going to evaluate my options. I love it here but, really and truly, my first goal is to play Division 1 basketball in the States. If I get the opportunity to play at a programme that’s big enough to be on the level of Bayern, then I may consider it. If not, then I will turn pro and hopefully continue playing at Bayern.”

Which Magic players are you still in contact with?

JA: “I talk to a few guys from my team, especially the ones who are in the States, like Saul (May) and Luke (Gordos). I always want to know how things are going. I also keep in touch with the younger players in the current Magic U18 squad as they’ve known me from a young age. They ask me for advice a lot and I’m always there to help out because I relied on older players, like Kaiyem (Cleary) and Mike (Anumba). They taught me things and helped out a lot.”

Good luck at Bayern, Jason. We’ll be following your progress.

Dot Booth

It is with great sadness that the Club has learned of the passing of Dot Booth

The club is extremely saddened to learn that club volunteer Dot Booth has passed away after a short illness.

Dot was often the friendly face spectators were greeted by whenever they turned up to buy their tickets to watch the Manchester Magic’s senior team play at the Manchester Basketball Centre.

She was also heavily involved in the Haris Charalambous Memorial Basketball Tournament and supported many of the club’s other events and initiatives.

Dot will be missed by everyone at the club and we are thinking of her husband, Norman, and the rest of her family at this very difficult time.

“Dot was a true club volunteer who had been with us since we opened the centre in 2002,” said Joe Forber, co-founder of Greater Manchester Community Basketball.

“She was always totally supportive of all we do for the youngsters and also for the Magic senior players on Saturday evenings.

“She will leave a big hole to fill in the club and will be sadly missed by all.”

The family has asked that any donations be made to the 1st Flixton Scout Group.