Drane calls for Suffolk academy

Ipswich Tomcats coach Nick Drane has warned that Suffolk could lose a second generation of potential stars if a basketball academy is not soon established within the county.

By Stuart Watson

Ipswich Tomcats coach Nick Drane has warned that Suffolk could lose a second generation of potential stars if a basketball academy is not soon established within the county.

A frustrated Drane aired his views after watching ex-Ipswich player and rising star Sam Saggers play his part in dismantling a thin on the ground Tomcats team in the final quarter of the Sure Shot Cup.

Ex-Westbourne High School pupil Saggers left Suffolk this summer after receiving the offer to play on Thames Valley University's basketball academy as well as for the Reading Rockets.


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Drane said: “Watching Sam play against us was heart wrenching and really illustrates how much we need an academy in Ipswich.

“We've become a victim of our own success. Sam didn't want to leave, but I wasn't going to stand in the way of him playing for an academy.”

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While Saggers is the only player to actually leave the Tomcats in order to play for an academy, the lack of a Suffolk-based academy has meant that Drane gets little training time with his top players.

With Leigh Greenan and Michael Holbrook at Essex's Barking Abbey Academy, Jacob Swift and Aaron Moseley at Northampton's Moulton College Academy and Robert Scott at Brightlimgsea's Colne Community College Academy, Drane only gets one training session a week with his full squad.

Drane said: “If we had an academy, which I would love to lead, these players would be training together everyday. If somewhere like Brightlingsea can have an academy, then why can't we?

“I urge any college who has seen how much basketball has progressed in this county to start an academy. We have produced a number of international players in Ipswich under these circumstances, so imagine what we could do if we had an academy in place.

“This group of under-18 players have missed out, but there are a number of younger players already coming through and I see no reason why they should miss out too.”

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