Ipswich sign their first foreign import – and it’s ‘Hulk’
PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:23 02 June 2015
Newly-professional Ipswich Basketball Club have announced their second high-profile signing of the off-season – and their first foreign import – in the form of American Ryan Wilson.
A remarkable decade long journey has seen the town’s basketball set-up progress from community schools projects to national prominence.
The academy at Copleston School, now in its seventh year, is renowned, several players have been capped at junior international level and been offered college scholarships in the USA, while the men’s team – only four years old – has won two promotions and twice come close to being promoted to the top-flight.
Homegrown star Leigh Greenan became the NBL Division Two club’s first professional back in March, while 6ft 4in Wilson – who will combine playing with coaching in primary and secondary schools – has now joined him after Ipswich beat a number of clubs, both domestically and aborad, to his signing. “Ryan has played at College level in the States and has been a pro in Europe and in the Philippines and has a huge amount of experience,” said head coach Nick Drane.
“He also brings a level of toughness that will help us no end. His nickname is ‘Hulk’... need I say any more?
“If you combine Ryan’s physical, aggressive style of play with the obvious size we have in our frontcourt, and the finesse and quality of Josh (Johnson) and Taner (Adu) in the backcourt and it’s a very exciting group we are putting together.
“This latest signing not only demonstrates the club’s continued ambition, but is also more evidence that the town can now boast a second professional sports team.”
Wilson, 26, said: “I chose Ipswich because I felt I could come in and gel with the team already here to help make a push to win the league next season.
“Everybody has really made me feel welcome and it really excites me how the team are involved in the community and helping develop the younger players. I could see Ipswich was a family and I just wanted to be a part of that.
“I’m fortunate that they believe in my abilities on the court and my personality off the court to represent them in the correct way.”
Ipswich have also signed Tyme Regent-Bascombe, a product of the club’s junior programme, for next season. The 21-year-old has spent the last two years at Manchester Met University, while also working his way into the Manchester Magic NBL Division One side at the same time. His third year of university requires a year’s work placement.
Ipswich Basketball Club have partnered with ‘Inspire Suffolk’ and will be delivering a comprehensive primary school programme that will include sessions before and after school, five days per week.
The programme not only provides work for professional players but will also hugely increase the amount of basketball activity being delivered in the town which will, in turn, hopefully increase the fan base of the club.
The draft fixture list was released on Friday and Ipswich tip-off their competitive games on Saturday, September 12 when they will face newly-promoted Nottingham Hoods, on the road, in the pool stage of the Patrons Cup.