We are very pleased to announce that we welcome coach Thomas Baker, completing the team of coaching staff for the 2016/17 season.

Coach Baker is a Level 3 Coach through England Basketball, coaching at AASE program Oaklands Academy since 2012.

Coach Baker has also been involved in the England National Team as the U18’ Women’s Performance Analyst and also the East Region U17’ Women’s Head Coach.

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Russell Hoops are delighted to announce the addition of three coaches for the upcoming 2016-2017 season – Tosin Oyelese, Jack Burnell and Justin Gordon.

Tosin was the MVP for NBL Division 1 Essex Leopards this past season and a “fan favourite” amongst the local crowd with his physical and selfless play on the court. He currently coaches in London and will be bringing his coaching talents to RH’s St. Mary’s program, where he will be responsible for individual player development. Director Ben Russell – “Tosin is an experienced and strong player with a good coaching pedigree, who will be an exceptional role model for all of the players he coaches. Having spent years honing his own skills, Tosin knows a lot about player development and will bring a unique and creative set of skills and drills to the program.”

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U13 V Tres Cantos Select 

Coming of a disappointing second game performance and knowing that this would be the last time the boys would play in Madrid this summer they certainly looked ready to try and get home with a win! Even from the warmup they looked so engaged and fired up which was great to see. As the game started boys got of to an incredible start being up by 10 points after the first quarter. Second quarter was very much the same with every player playing hard defence and giving their all. After the fist half we had a 15 point lead! Second half unfortunately would cause a wriggle for the boys as Tres Cantos put a lot of pressure on with a full court press(something the boys haven’t dealt with before). Before we knew it they had scraped back into the game but Owen Muir hit a huge 3 pointer to keep us in the game. Unfortunately it was not enough to keep them from coming back and end up winning the game by 8 points. We are all extremely proud of them for having a never quit attitude the entire game. The boys should also be extremely proud of themselves!

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We had our end of tour dinner last night and after the dinner we had an interactive session with the boys and all the coaches. The first question we asked was what were the main differences between the Spanish teams and us.

We hadn’t talked about it openly much, and so when we heard the variety and depth of responses, we were elated at what the boys had seen and understood. We feel our task of introducing opportunities to develop to them has taken a giant first step and they now have knowledge and ammunition to go back to their clubs and schools and improve their game with it. We really look forward to seeing the results.

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U13 V Tres Cantos 

After the close first game the u13 looked hungry to try and get the first win on the trip. The game began very well with some great plays from Owen Kimber to start us of well. We certainly started with a lot more composure in comparison to the first game which was great to see. The first half was very close with us only being down 4. As the second half progressed it was clear that fatigue was going to be the hardest battle of the game. Tres Canton started to dominate us on the boards and before we knew the game had gone from us. An early night for the boys and we are ready to come back for the last games to to try and get a win!

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We learn in many ways. Sometimes we are told, sometimes we are shown, sometimes we see, but always we experience.

The boys have had so many experiences, positive and negative, and they all present opportunities to develop. Whether it be the Spanish food, the boys you are sharing with, the heat or playing the Spanish at basketball there is something to learn in all of those.

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Our rest day didn’t mean doing nothing, but a later start was welcomed by all.

We began with the usual hearty breakfast from the hotel with has a selection of hot food (bacon, scrambled eggs, Spanish sausage), bread, rolls, toast, cold meats, cheeses, cereals, yoghurts and pastries. The pastries were getting hit hard given we had no basketball today. A little treat on a Sunday morning.

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U13 V Tres Cantos Select 

It had been a jam packed morning but game time was here and it was time to play. Was great to see the boys so pumped and excited for the game as they were warming up. Before we knew it the ball was in the air and play had begun. To start of with it was clear to see some nerves as there were a few easy shots that didn’t end up falling, so a quick time-out by coach to settle them down soon had the points on the board. Also some great defensive blocks from both Oliver and Freddie protecting our paint got the team fire up. The Spanish side showed some great basketball throughout the first half and ended up pushing the lead out to 19. After the half they came out with a complete new mentality of lets get back in this game and they did just that with some great plays from Thomas,Archie and Samuel. Before we knew it the split was down to 8. Then coach Zak made a few subs and players came in and matched the hard work to make it a 1 point game at the beginning of the 4th period. The score went back and fourth and we executed some great fast break plays, especially from Owen Kimber and Charlie Johnson. Then all of a sudden the opposing team had stretched the lead back to 8 with some impressive outside shooting and the final whistle was blown. An unbelievable first performance from the u13s where they did not stop competing for the entire 40 minutes! Very proud of the boys but we are sure ready for more!

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Yesterday was a huge day. One I am sure they will all remember for a long time.

It started with the acclimatisation. They had to start getting used to following the schedule. Getting themselves up, making the most of a great breakfast buffet, and getting dressed and downstairs for the coach departure to the gym.

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For many of these boys there are many new things. The new experience of travelling abroad, with new team mates, for new coaches to a new country. It is really nice to see them experience that and the differing reactions they have to it.

Some are apprehensive, some are nervous, some take in their stride, but they are all in the same mixing pot of forming something new, and they are excited about it.

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