Manchester Magic have signed 6′ 6″ American Donte Gittens for the 2017-18 season.
The Franklin Pierce University guard is tipped to be a star on and off the floor for the team as head coach Paul Middleton looks to build on another successful campaign.
The Magic were crowned National League Division One Play-Off champions last season and successfully defended their National Trophy title.
Gittens, who turns 23 on 14th August, will join a squad that includes Lee Goldsbrough, Stefan Gill, Michael Anumba, Kayin Darbey, Ryan Lewis and Tyme Regent-Bascombe.
American Duane Morgan, who was voted MVP in Magic’s two final successes, will not be returning, while Simon Anumba looks destined for a move to Europe after playing a major role last season.
Magic had already established a link with Franklin Pierce before the acquisition of Gittens.
Ellis Cooper, who played a starring role for the senior team in 2014-15 and 2015-16, was also a graduate of the New Hampshire university.
At the end of his collegiate career, in the programme’s All-Time Rankings, Gittens ranks third in total blocks (181), fifth in assists (479), 19th in points (1,311) and 19th in rebounds (551). His 181 blocks ranks 14th in the Northeast-10 Conference All-Time Rankings.
In his senior year, Donte averaged 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, a team-leading 5.6 assists, a team-best 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per contest. He scored his 1,000 career-point in a career-high 27 point effort at Saint Michael’s on 16th November 2016.
“I can’t wait to get started and work as hard as I can to help this club win games,” said Gittens.
“I’m excited to be playing in Manchester, to see the beautiful city and to be part of the great community.”
Magic coach Paul Middleton added: “We were aware of Donte towards the end of last season and, given some players are moving on, we thought that he would fit in perfectly with our style of play.
“He is an exciting guard that can play and defend multiple positions, giving us some great flexibility with our line-up for next year. He is certain to bring some excitement and energy from the start.”
According to Franklin Pierce assistant basketball coach Eric MacKinnon, Gittens will be a hit.
“Donte is a tall guard who can do a lot of everything,” said MacKinnon.
“He is a spectacular athlete who is nearly impossible to stop when he gets going downhill.
“At 6′ 6″, Donte’s passing and ball-handling made him one of the toughest match-ups in our league the last four years.
“One of Donte’s best attributes is his shot-blocking ability. On top of all that, Donte is a great, young man who the fans and community will love to have around.”
If you want to get a taster of what Donte will be bringing to the Magic next season, click on the following links: