Manchester Magic and Mystics EABL and WEABL Awards 2023

EABL and WEABL Regular Season Award Winners Announced

The 2022/23 EABL regular season provided some stunning performances and campaigns worthy of recognition.

With MVP, All-Conference 1st and 2nd teams, Most Improved Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, U17 Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honours available across both the North and South Conferences, the end-of-season awards are a great chance to single out some of those great contributions to the 2022/23 season.

All Conference 1st Team

Manchester duo Joe Buchanan (19.9PPG) and Ben Brown (17.9PPG) both make the cut after helping Magic to a 9-5 season.

All Conference 2nd Team

Matt Goodwin (20.1PPG, 3.1SPG) finished fourth in the EABL scoring charts and second in the steals list, making him a logical choice.

U17 Player of the Year

Awarded to the best Year 12 players from across the league, Manchester’s Matt Goodwin has been recognised.

Sealing conference 2nd team honours, despite his young age, it’s no surprise to see Goodwin singled out here as one of the best U17s in the EABL this season.

Words and Image Credits: EABL

After a high-quality regular season, the WEABL awards have now been announced.

With MVP, All-Conference 1st and 2nd teams, Most Improved Player, Defensive POTY, U17 POTY and Coach of the Year awards up for grabs across both the North and South conferences, the honours represented an excellent opportunity to recognise some great performances from the 2022/23 campaign.


After helping Manchester to a 6-3 record and second spot in the North, Mystics’ standout Isobel Robinson has earned MVP honours.

Collecting the league’s second-highest efficiency at 23.6, plus a WEABL third-highest 25.2PPG to go with 8.3RPG, 2006-born Robinson was a constant highlight for the North West side.

The 5’11” wing picked up more than one Player of the Week nod throughout the campaign and was a strong choice by North conference coaches for this award as well.

Coach of the Year

Mystics’ play caller Rob Fairley joins Robinson in collecting honours for 2022/23 as he’s named North Conference Coach of the Year.

Fairley got the best out of a young squad in the North West, with contributors Robinson, Alejanda Escriva-Gay, Daisy Bryan and more all making strides in their development this year.

Second place in the North and a 6-3 record was also an improvement for a Mystics programme that haven’t made the playoffs since 2019/20.

All Conference 1st Team

MVP Robinson is joined by Manchester team-mate Alejandra Escriva-Gay, who averaged an impressive 4.4APG as part of the Mystics’ solid season.

All Conference 2nd Team

Mystics Jo Vourliotis (8.1PPG, 7.0RPG).

Defensive Player of the Year

So much defensive work goes unnoticed on the stat sheet but the output of these two players certainly didn’t escape the attention of coaches across the league.

Manchester’s Daisy Bryan was a pain for opponents across 2022/23, with a league-third best 7.9 defensive rebounds per game. Adding in 1.0SPG and 1.1BPG, it’s clear to see why the 5’10” guard was singled out.

U17 Player of the Year

Awarded to the best Year 12 players from across the league, Manchester’s Isobel Robinson. Robinson’s selection was no surprise given her MVP award.

Words and Image Credits: WEABL

Manchester Magic and Mystics team up with The Manchester College

Magic and Mystics join forces with The Manchester College

Manchester Magic and Manchester Mystics have teamed up with The Manchester College to form a ground-breaking new basketball partnership in the city. 

The initiative, which joins one of the biggest and most successful junior basketball programmes in the country with one of the biggest sixth form colleges, will benefit student-athletes looking to take their basketball to the next level.

It will also generate countless opportunities for pupils interested in coaching, refereeing, sports media, sports marketing and sports merchandise.

“We’re so excited about the potential of this partnership and what it could mean for Manchester,”  said Magic and Mystics chief executive Phil Gordos.

“This is not just about unearthing the next generation of basketball players, we’re also looking to build a programme that will develop coaches, referees and table officials. 

“It’s a great fit. We’re both ambitious and we both want to provide opportunities for young people in the city.”

The two parties will work together to provide an education and basketball programme that will give students the chance to excel in the classroom and on the court.

The Manchester College already runs a basketball programme and is one of the largest further education colleges in the country.

“This is a great opportunity for us as a college to extend our basketball offer,” said Hayley Francis, TMC’s Head of Department Sport, Public Service and Criminology.

“The Manchester Magic and Mystics are a great organisation and a pillar within the community which not only increases our reach but gives present and future students the opportunity to study and play basketball at a level that suits, from participation to elite.

“I believe this is the start of something great, as both organisations have the same vision and drive.”

TMC is also close to completing the construction of a new state-of-the-art teaching facility in Openshaw that will include a two-court basketball hall, an S&C gym, a sports analysis suite and a sports science laboratory.

“This is a fabulous opportunity to partner with the Manchester Magic and Mystics, and the timing could not be better,” said TMC’s Head Basketball Coach and Sport Tutor Ambokile Bell.

“We have always had a basketball offer here at the college for enrichment participation.

“However, with this partnership, we can now extend it to suit the needs of our students that aspire to play at a high level during their time here at The Manchester College. 

“With a range of courses from entry level to degree level, we can now officially announce a basketball programme with one of the most successful community and junior basketball programmes in the country.”

The Magic and Mystics have a proven track record of developing talent, winning more than 50 national junior titles since 2000.

They have also developed dozens of internationals and helped many players earn lucrative scholarships to play and study in the USA.

The club also runs an elite academy for boys and girls that plays in the EABL and WEABL.

“There is so much talent here in the city and across Greater Manchester that it makes perfect sense to work with The Manchester College,” added Gordos.

“With our expertise and knowledge, we believe we can enhance the great work the college already does and we can help each other to thrive.”

Magic and Mystics Academy New Kit

Academy and U18 teams get new kit and sponsors

The Manchester Magic and Manchester Mystics EABL, WEABL and National League U18 teams will be the proud wearers of new match kit in the coming weeks.

The club has teamed up with Alpha Performance to provide players with superbly-designed and lightweight sublimated tops and shorts for games.

The boys’ kit will be sponsored by Homeclean, the largest cleaning company in the UK, while

Fostering Changes Life, a small independent organisation which recruits foster carers, will sponsor the girls’ kit.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to Homeclean and Fostering Changes Life for their backing,” said club chief executive Phil Gordos.

“I think the kit looks amazing and I’ve had some great feedback from the players. I’m sure they are looking forward to wearing it.”

You can find out more about Homeclean and Fostering Changes Life by visiting their websites or following them on social media.

Information about our sponsors:


“We provide you with a trustworthy, experienced and reliable cleaner within just two hours of making your booking. When you book a cleaner with us, you know you can relax and look forward to a beautiful home or office.”

Website: www.homeclean.co.uk

Twitter: @Homeclean_UK

Facebook: @HomecleanManchester

Fostering Changes Life

“Fostering Changes Life is a small independent organisation which recruits foster carers. It doesn’t matter if you own your home or rent it as long as you have one spare bedroom!”

Website: www.fosteringchangeslife.co.uk

Facebook: @fosteringchangeslife

Steve Vear Academy US Consultant 2019-20

Academy appoints Vear as US Colleges consulant

The Manchester Magic and Mystics Academy has named Steve Vear as its first ever United States colleges consultant.

The move is designed to give all EABL and WEABL academy players and parents the best advice possible when it comes to pursuing playing and academic opportunities in the US.

“It’s a major step forward for the Academy because it adds expertise in a key area,” said club chief executive Phil Gordos.

“We want to make sure our players and parents are equipped with all the right information to make the best choice for them.

“Steve has a lot of knowledge and contacts. He also knows British basketball, so it’s the perfect fit.”

Vear, 36, is well known for running Luol Deng’s global player talent camps and has since started She’s Got Next, a recruitment service helping female players in the UK gain scholarships in the US. 

Based in Los Angeles, he played and coached in the UK before moving to the States three years ago.

“It’s no secret many UK players and parents have a tough time with the US college recruitment process,” said Vear.

“I’ve learnt so much over the last five years through my own research. I’ve also gained invaluable knowledge from some key people, like Jackson Gibbons, Lloyd Gardner and Shane Howard.

“I’m now in a place where I feel very confident that I can spread my experiences and knowledge to really make a big difference.”

Vear will meet Magic and Mystics players and parents for this time when he visits Manchester later this month.

Cantwell Academy Coach 2019-20

Magic appoint Cantwell as Academy coach

Paul Cantwell has joined Manchester Magic Academy’s coaching team for the 2019/20 season.

The 28-year-old is already the lead coach for the club’s U12 community and development programme.

The former Manchester Magic and Manchester Giants player, who has also head coached in France and the United States, will begin his new role in September.

He will have specific responsibility for the Academy’s second team, which plays as Loreto 2 in AoC (Association of Colleges) competitions.

“I grew up playing in this elite programme so I’m looking forward to passing on my experience and knowledge,” said Cantwell.  “It’s important that this club continues to grow.”

Club chief executive Phil Gordos added: “It’s a great appointment for us as we continue to build the Manchester Magic and Manchester Mystics into a formidable force on and off the floor.”

Pete Paraskeva Manchester Magic Head Coach 2019-20

Paraskeva to coach Magic’s senior men in 2019/20

Pete Paraskeva will coach Manchester Magic’s senior men’s team in 2019/20.

The 32-year-old steps into the job as Magic prepare for life in NBL Division 2 North following their relegation last season.

A former junior player with the Magic who knows the club inside and out, Pete will combine his new post with his role as head coach with Magic’s EABL and U18 NBL teams.

‘We have a fantastic group of talented young players and I am really looking forward to seeing them compete in Division 2 this season,” said Paraskeva.

“The older heads we have brought in will provide a maturity and experience to guide our juniors as they transition to the senior level.”

“It’s a new era for Magic’s senior team with Pete at the helm and I’m very excited about what lies ahead,” said club chief executive Phil Gordos.

Simon Fisher took charge of Magic midway through their D1 campaign.

Despite his best efforts, the team finished bottom of the table following a challenging season that began with Aurimas Verbukas at the helm.

“I want to place on record my huge thanks to Simon for the work he did last season,” added Gordos.

“He faced a number of challenges and met them head on like I knew he would.

“His professionalism and enthusiasm rubbed off on others and I’m sure we will continue to feel his impact over the coming years.

“I would also like to thank the players, coaches, physiotherapy team and volunteers who all gave their best during the 2018/19 season.”