Yannick and Hamad

Magic boosted by return of duo

Manchester Magic have confirmed that Hamad Ali and Yannick Onifade will be part of their NBL Division One squad for 2016/17.

Coach Paul Middleton says the 6ft 5in Ali, 18, will be a key player at “both ends of the floor” after coming through the Magic ranks, while fellow forward Onifade, 26, was a member of the all-conquering squad that won all four trophies it competed for last season.

“It is great to have Hamad back again as he starts his senior career with the club he has been with since the beginning,” said Middleton.

“Hamad was looking into options in the United States but we are delighted to have him back and look forward to a big contribution from him this year as a senior player.

“He can help us on both ends of the floor as he has developed a good outside game while being able to use his strong frame to good use on defence.”

Middleton describes 6ft 7in Onifade as “a coach’s dream”, adding: “He has a fantastic attitude and he provided real competition for the other big guys, pushing them every single night.

“Hopefully this year we can give Yannick a more significant role in games and his experience last year should help him massively.”

Ali and Onifade join Stefan Gill, Jack Minister, Lee Goldsbrough, Kayin Darbey, Michael Anumba, Kaiyen Cleary and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo.

Magic begin their pre-season campaign at home to a USA Select team on Monday, 5 September (7.30pm tip).