There was a strong turnout at the Oxstalls Sports Arena in Gloucester for the first of the University of Gloucestershire men’s basketball trials and the new season looks very promising.
This was an encouraging first trial and coach Ian Greaves said he saw a few players with great potential who could bring a lot to the team.
He said: “I thought it was very good. There were some talented guys who showed up tonight who clearly have a lot of experience playing so I’m very pleased.”
Greaves also emphasised his desire to be “more competitive” this season and some of the trialists certainly have the talent to help with that.
“From what I’ve seen here today, I’m confident that we can be more competitive going forward. There’s a few who have caught our and hopefully they can help strengthen our core squad even further”
The side are looking to put last campaign behind them and move on stronger than ever before with a lot of new faces on board as well.
Greaves and his current team put together some grueling exercises to test the trialists basketball skills and general fitness.
These included shooting drills, shuttle sprints, attack/defence scenarios and some challenging set plays.
Club captain Craig Hughes certainly got the best out of the trialists and led well by example throughout the session along with his current Raiders teammates.
Every trialist put in a great effort but there were a select few who Greaves and the others were very excited to have on board.
Sebastien Blin and Jake Hawksbee both impressed from the start of the session and showed their quality throughout.
The Frenchman, Blin has been playing Basketball since he was four and back in France he played in the National third division, one off professional level.
He now studies Sports Business at the University as an exchange student and the talented 20 year old said he wants to get back to the level he was once at but is also keen to help the team as a whole.
He said: “I got a lot injuries last year so I want to get back to where I was before. But I also want to meet new people and make friends with the guys here.”
“But it is also important to have a great time together and to make sure we are not just individuals so that we can play the best basketball we can”.
First year PE and Coaching student Hawksbee also has over a decade of experience in the sport but he was equally humble and stated the importance of being a team over a group of individuals.
He said: “We all want to be the best we can be. Hopefully we can gel together and be one good cohesive unit and win as many games as possible”.
Gloucestershire will be competing in Tier 2 of the BUCS League’s Western Division once again this season and they will also play in the county’s Charity Cup.
The Raider’s season will begin on October 9 when they will host Plymouth University at the Oxstalls Sports Arena in Gloucester.
You can follow the team on Instagram @uogmensbasketball or via their Twitter @UOGMBasketball.