New generation of Cats ready to shine

As one journey closes - another begins.Ipswich Basketball Club's end of season awards dinner on Saturday night may have seen an emotional end to the incredible story of the Tomcats 'class of 2005', but also marked the start of an exciting new boys' side at the club which are being tipped for even greater things.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

As one journey closes - another begins.

Ipswich Basketball Club's end of season awards dinner on Saturday night may have seen an emotional end to the incredible story of the Tomcats 'class of 2005', but also marked the start of an exciting new boys' side at the club which are being tipped for even greater things.


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Coach Nick Drane has long hailed his now disbanded under-18 side as the trailblazers for boys' basketball in Ipswich and, after holding the first training session for his new under-13 team, is relishing beginning a new journey with a fresh group of players.

The England U16 assistant coach said: “I've always felt that when we've started under-14 sides at Ipswich we've been playing catch-up a bit. Hopefully, now we've got under-13 squads for both the boys and the girls we can bridge that gap.

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“Through my work with the community basketball project I have known for the last two years that there was going to be three or four very good boys coming through.

“The more and more I looked at the timescale I realised that they would be ready to form an under-13 side just as my under-18s were coming to a close so I knew I had to take this on.

“With that in mind I set up an elite session for the very best players on the community project in preparation for this coming season.

“Because of this they are already so much further advanced than the last Tomcats players I had when they first started. Really we performed miracles with them considering how late we got hold of them.

“I believe there is more raw talent in this under-13 squad than there was in the under-18 side which did so well. With them we got by with four or five very talented players while the rest of the squad kept us going on sheer heart but on this new squad I have got 15 potentially talented players because of the early education in the game they have received.

“Because we are starting that bit earlier we won't be racing against the clock so much in terms of their development. I can afford to be a bit more calculated in my approach.

“It's no secret as to how much I like to win, but at this stage it is more important for these players to develop individually.

“It would be easy for me to get my biggest players to go and play close to the basket and use our physical size to win games but that could end up being counter active to other players development.

“All the players will play every position and will get chance to assume different roles. Ultimately it is not about seeing how many games they can win this season, but how many games they can win at under-18 level and beyond.”

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