Oaklands have announced their first three signings of the season as Wolves make their debut in Division One.
Jordan Santiago joins the new-look Wolves while James Cummings and Ray Akpofure return having played for Oaklands' predecessors Essex & Herts Leopards last season.
American guard Santiago came off the bench for Riders but averaged 8.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. and had a season-high 25 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and as many steals in a 118-57 destruction of Liverpool in December.
Wolves' coach Thomas Baker is pleased with his new signing: "Jordan is a competitor there is no doubt about that. He brings with him a personality that is infectious and the guys are already enjoying having him around. His ability to lead us this year both on and off the court is something I am confident about and I am excited to have Jordan in our team this season."
Santiago is excited about joining the fledgling Wolves: "The merger of Leopards and Oaklands puts the club in an interestingly new experience and I’m excited to be able to contribute to the first year of the program showcasing my talents and challenging the growth and development of the academy players!"
Hatfield-based Cummings started eight of the 18 games he played for Leopards last season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 19 minutes of action, getting in double digits for points on four occasions.
Baker is clearly delighted to retain the services of Cummings: "James is everything we are looking for in the type of person we want here in our programme"he said. "He has an insatiable work ethic and a desire to get better every time he steps on the floor. His selfless attitude and willingness to help his teammates is already having a positive impact on the team. I look forward to working with James again this year."
The English forward is happy to be back at Oaklands: "I'm looking forward to stepping on the floor this season with Wolves! We have a great group of guys that want to get better and leave everything out there on the court, it is an exciting time for all of us involved in the programme."
6’ 6″ forward Akpofure joined Leopards from Division Two side Greenwich Titans where he led the London side to the 2016/17 Division Three championship, collecting the divisional Most Valuable Player award in the process He made his debut for the Big Cats in a 89-76 defeat against Team USA Select, finishing with 17 points and nine points in 21 minutes
The Londoner missed only one of Leopards' games last season and averaged 7.4 points and six rebounds per game as he brought energy off the bench, and Coach Baker is a happy man after re-signing him: "Ray is exactly the type of person we want involved in our programme as we look to establish the right culture in this men’s programme. He is selfless and genuinely cares about his teammates, his high energy is infectious and I am looking forward to seeing Ray take on a more important role within the team this year."
Akpofure is looking forward to helping Oaklands develop young players for the Wolfpack: "I’m gratified and honoured to be back at the club" he said.
"I’m excited for the journey ahead and anticipating a really good season. I’m really looking forward to performing in front of such a supportive fanbase; and establishing a great foundation in this first season as a Wolf. I’m really looking forward to showcasing what I can really do on the court this upcoming season. We are creating a great culture here, and want to establish a more positive atmosphere, a family, and a team of fighters that Hertfordshire and the UK can look to with pride."