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NEWS

The Wolfpack Introduce A Division 1 Men's Side

January 01, 2020

Oaklands College Wolves will run a men's team in the top division of the National Basketball League for the first time next season following a merger with Essex & Herts Leopards.

 

The Big Cats trained at the St Albans-based college and played most of their games there last season, but the move will see them become a full part of the Wolves who also compete in the Women's British Basketball League as well as running nine junior sides in the national league and several teams in academy competitions. 

Wolves Director of Basketball Michael Ball is delighted with the move: "We have been working closely with Leopards for the past couple of seasons and now is the right time to progress forwards and bring the team fully into the Oaklands College Wolves family. 

 

"We have some major plans over the coming years and this now enables us to provide a full player pathway on the men's side in the same way as the women. Our young talented male basketball players will now have senior men to aspire to play for and in particular adds a new momentum to the academy. 

 

"It is great news that Dave Ryan is staying on as team manager for the coming season and we are already putting the staff and team together with an emphasis on giving young talent an opportunity to thrive alongside positive role models."

 

The move brings to an end 25 seasons of Leopards basketball - one of the most famous names in the British game - but general manager Dave Ryan explained that it as a necessary and positive move: "It's become clear over the last couple of years that we simply couldn't continue with our current model" he said. "Regular availability of venues has been a growing problem at a time when it's getting increasingly expensive to be competitive in Division One. 

 

"I think we should be immensely proud of what we achieved since we restarted our club in 2004, with six national titles and a reputation as stalwart in Division One. Even last season when we looked dead and buried, we turned things around because we were determined to finish our last season in the top flight. 

 

"When I look at all of the clubs who've come and gone, we really achieved something special. and just because the name is changing doesn't diminish that. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped the club over the years, especially Roger Davinson at the Brentwood Centre, it's been a a team effort. 

 

"I've been researching the history of the club, it goes back to pre-World War I and there have been various incarnations. We're about to start a new chapter and I'm sure the club will thrive with its new name and home. Oaklands are a fantastic club, we've worked with them for several years and our team have now become part of something bigger. I hope Leopards fans will come to St Albans and support the new-look club." 

The new-look Wolves will be making further announcements regarding the 2020/21 season over the next week.

Outstanding Summer for Lawson

July 17, 2019

The past two weeks has seen Oaklands College alumni Ben Lawson shine on the worlds biggest basketball stage as he continues his monumental rise in the sport. Ben was selected by NBA franchise Memphis Grizzlies to compete in the NBA Summer League; a competition which showcases all draft picks and free agents vying for regular season NBA playing contracts.

The Grizzlies were crowned champions on Monday night after defeating Minnesota Timberwolves in a thriller 95-92, with Ben making a big impact throughout his summer debut in the competition.
On the Sunday, in a crucial semi-final contest, Ben faced off against fellow Brit Kavell Bigby-Williams and came out on top with a 9 point and 9 rebound haul in 20 mins to help the Grizzlies reach the finals.

The 7’1 Center entered the summer competition off the back of a successful second professional season playing in Japan with Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka. No matter the outcome from this summer we are all excited and proud of Ben and his ongoing development under the Wolfpack academy!

End of Season Celebrations and Awards for the Wolfpack

May 30, 2019

We celebrated a special evening and the 2018/19 award winners were named!

 

The 2018/19 season saw many achievements - the junior club achieved a milestone this season as the only program in the country to have all National League teams competing in the premier level for their respective age groups, all teams made playoffs for the first time and all retained premier status for next season.
The WBBL team had another year of growth, winning more games and reaching the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, losing to eventual champions Sevenoaks Suns in the first round.

See below all of the 2018/19 winners!

U12

MVP - Vince

Most improved - Milic

Coaches Award - Larry 

 

MVP - Cameron 

Most Impoved - Jeremy 

Coaches Award - George

U14 Girls

MVP - Deborah James

Most Improved - Neve Mulrooney

Coaches Award - Lili Palmer

U14 Boys

MVP - Alex Okpoyo

Most Improved - Jeremy Biodun Bello

Coaches Award - Ricardo Di Trolio

U16 Girls

MVP - Onyinyechi Okoye

Most Improved - Emily Martin

Coaches Award - Millie Moore

U16 boys 

MVP - Kane Daley 

Most Improved - Tallis Zacharias

Coaches Award - Lewis Thulbourbe

U18 Women

MVP - Louise Rouse

Most Improved - Kaitlyn Martin

Coaches Award - Maisie Moore

U18 Men

MVP - Darren Ainembabazi

Most Improved - Rich Ashu

Coach Award - Toby Gastaldi-Davies

Div 2 Women

MVP - Naomi Turner

Most Improved - Eheda Hassan

Coaches player - Sami Brown

WBBL

MVP - Roya Rustamzada

Most Improved - Bethany Sarson

Coaches Award - Lizzy Harrison

Wolves Announce Exciting Partnership with Leopards

May 05, 2019

National League Division One basketball will come to St Albans for the first time next season as Oaklands College and Leopards have announced an exciting new partnership.

While the Big Cats will continue to play some home games at the Brentwood Centre, all other club activities will be based at the St Albans college, including at least eight games at Oaklands.

The two organisations previously worked together between 2015-2018 but a strengthened link will now see Oaklands' employee Thomas Baker coaching Leopards and some games taking place at the college.

"We are delighted to partner with Leopards for the 2019/20 season" said Oaklands College Director of Basketball Michael Ball.

"We worked closely with Leopards in the past and players like Evan Walshe, Dom Scott-Robinson and Jose Morais have developed better by being stretched outside of their Oaklands College academy environment.

"The two keys for us were the confirmation of Thomas Baker at the helm for the upcoming season as head coach and the agreement of all training sessions taking place at Oaklands College.

"This now means that some of our Oaklands College academy players will have the opportunity to be part of a positively coached Division One men’s programme where they are going to have to compete and train even harder, which can only help them grow further as young men.

"This now means that, just like with our women’s programme, male players from six years upwards can come through our community Elevate sessions into our under-12 and then junior national league premier teams into the EABL academy and now D1 men with Leopards.

"That’s really exciting for our local community and club players as well as our current academy student athletes and could also, like our WBBL team, give senior professional players the opportunity to give back and coach within our academy and community to help with their career development."

Coach Baker is excited about the new link-up: "This partnership marks exciting times for the club moving forward. We are 100 percent committed to building from last season's success and working with Oaklands is going to help us do that.

"It is going to be great to work with an academy that has a proven track record of developing elite level players and I am confident that the outstanding facilities at Oaklands will help us continue to develop that talent.

"From our early conversations it is clear that all involved are aligned in thinking when it comes to how we approach training, player development and coaching philosophies and I look forward to see how our journey continues with our new partnership."

Leopards' general manager Dave Ryan was also enthusiastic about the new partnership: "I've spent the last year at Oaklands as my daughter plays there, it's a fantastic programme with a great club atmosphere. Having the chance to become part of that is an absolute no-brainer. I hope everyone involved with Wolves will come along and support us.

"It's genuinely exciting to work with a great programme. When we won the treble in 2012 we had a great blend of senior players and youngsters who gave us some fantastic energy,

"We're not going to replicate that instantly, but we have the chance to build something that can be a real success. Playing in front of big crowds at the Brentwood Centre is an important part of Leopards, but I believe we can create something special at Oaklands.

"It's been great to see players from the other teams watching the Wolves' sides play and I hope that everyone involved with Oaklands and anyone in the St Albans area interested in basketball will adopt and support us as we become part of the local sporting community."

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