ABL 2018-19 Season Preview

The Academy Basketball League (ABL) returns for its fourth season with plenty of new teams and new recruits to get to know.

This season, 33 teams will take to the floor in the ABL, split into four regional conferences, and will play the teams within their conference home and away to complete the regular season.

The top two teams from each conference will make the playoffs, as the post-season begins with the Elite 8 round.

Read below as we preview this season’s teams, with a look at the key returners, new additions and hear from both the coaches and players.

 

Northern Conference

Allerton High School

Last season: 0-12 (7th, EABL Western Conference)

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: Jake Aldridge, Harry Resendez
Notable additions: N/A

Matthew Newby (Head Coach) – “The ABL will be a great opportunity for our program and we look forward to establishing new rivalries following our departure from the EABL.”

Jake Aldridge – “The ABL this season will bring a fresh challenge for the Allerton program this season and give us an opportunity to establish ourselves at this level of competition.”

Archbishop Beck Sports College

Last season: 9-4 (4th, Northern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Jacob Molloy
Notable returners: Phil Deveney, Arron Howard, Dante Sofia, Luke Dalton, James Ward
Notable additions: Mohammed Ali, Sam Dawson

Delme Herriman (Head Coach) – “After an exciting first year in the ABL where we made the play-offs, we are looking to improve that position and try and make the final 4 at least this season. We have everyone back except for Jacob Molloy.”

Player Quote – “After gaining valuable experience last season, we are confident and looking to really improve on our Final 16 position last year.”

Carmel College

Last season: 5-8 (7th, Northern Conference)

Notable departures: Sean Gates, Chris Inman, Kalim Simpson
Notable returners: Alex Mason
Notable additions: Ellis Evans, Findlay Moss

Dominic O’Neill (Head Coach) – “I am looking forward to starting this season with almost a completely new group following last season’s team graduating. This new group will be mostly first years and will have to adjust quickly to be competitive in this division, we will be playing fast paced up-tempo basketball that will hopefully show the players off in their best light to give them the highest chance of leaving our program the best players they can be.”

Adam McGrath – “Our new group is looking forward to the challenge of competing this year to the highest level possible, personally I will be looking to lead the team on and off the court to ensure we have fun playing this year and reach our goals as a team and also individually. We are not scared to make mistakes and develop for the long term and hopefully we will be able to follow in the footsteps of previous players upon graduation.”

Cheshire College – South & West

Last season: 7-6 (5th, Northern Conference)

Notable departures: Louis Rogerson-Evans, Max Jones
Notable returners: Wesley Annan
Notable additions: James Mansell, Miguel Pessarrodona

Jon Keresztury (Head Coach) – “We are looking forward to our second season in the ABL. We had some achievements to be proud of last year making the National Championships. We are taking a new approach to this season and excited for the challenge of the new season ahead.”

Wesley Annan – “As this is my final year at Cheshire College, I’m excited to play with my new team mates and work hard in the upcoming season. With hard work and determination, the team will get good results. We know there will be challenges along the way but practice will be the key to our success!”

John Leggott College

Last season: 8-0 (1st, AoC Yorkshire & Humberside East)

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: Wadah Hassan, Matt Wong, Elliot Kerley, Matt Melady, Noah Gill

Ross Stafford (Head Coach) – “As an institution we’re looking forward to testing ourselves at this level, our Jnr.NBL feeder club had a 15-1 season last year in the Under 16 conference and being able to bring in the core of that squad who have essentially played together for the last three years will be a huge help for us. We’ve also been able to add some experience in key positions to our roster with Wadah Hassan joining us from Sheffield College and Matt Wong coming over from China. We’re steadily building our academy at JLC and this step into the ABL was one that we really wanted to take and having the full support of Principal Leon Riley has been huge for us.”

Wadah Hassan – “I’m excited to be a part of JLC’s first season in the ABL, we have some talented first year players who are more than capable of competing at this level. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to lead the younger guys with my ABL experience and we can put together a competitive season.”

Queen Ethelburga’s College

Last season: 9-3 (3rd, Northern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Eisley Swaine, Jayden Martin, CJ Charlesworth
Notable returners: Jedaiah Alexander, Joe Barrett, Tommy Skelton
Notable additions: Teilo Kelly, Elijah Walsh

Josh Metcalf (Head Coach) – “We are very excited to again be a part of such a competitive league and are looking forward to using it as a crucial part of our players development.”

Joe Barrett – “We have a lot of new faces and personalities this year but I couldn’t be more excited about our group and the overall potential of some of our players.”

Southern Conference

Harris Academy St John’s Wood

Last season: 8-4 (4th, Southern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures:Samuel Akano, Bradley Kaboza, Joshua Cyrus
Notable returners: Abdul Oladipupo
Notable additions: Romel Espanillio, Warren Curney-Sock, Suhayb Choaibi

Jozef Butor (Head Coach) – “The big message to my players this season will be: don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Holy Trinity School

Last season: 8-3 (3rd, Southern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: Stephen Izobo

Daniel Hildreth (Head Coach) – “Having played with 90% of last years squad as u17 we feel that we are better prepared for this level and the physicality required. All 12 players have had a taste of what to expect and we hope we can do our programme justice.”

Josh Otor – “We have unfinished business. Most of us have played together at HTS for 5 years, this is likely to be our last year together as a group so we want to make the most of it.”

King Henry School (formerly Erith School)

Last season: 10-0 (1st, Eastern Conference), Elite 8

Notable departures: Michael Adegayo
Notable returners: Anthony TJ Hibbert, Mohamed Fofanah, Joshua Adeniyi
Notable additions: Bradley Tabamsi, Josh Udeje, David Oputa

Steven Bucknall (Head Coach) – “Looking forward to another productive season and with the additional players from our London Thunder programme we should be really competitive.”

Mohamed Fofanah – “Our team should be good this season in the ABL and we will hopefully a good run in the playoffs.”

New City College

Last season: N/A – new team

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

Raines Foundation School

Last season: 8-2 (2nd, Eastern Conference), Elite 8

Notable departures: Tyrel Capelton Robinson, Sayone Srikantha
Notable returners: Jason Prince, Simon Olanipekun, Tapedza Edwards, Daniel Obeng
Notable additions: Shakeem Giwa, Zoka, Tega Agbede, Maliq Oke

Perry Lawson (Head Coach) – “We had a great off season so really looking forward to trying to improve on our first year as an academy, with what looks to be an improved ABL.”

Player Quote – “In our first year we fell short on our achievements, and I’m so glad to get another chance to redeem ourselves and try and win the trophies we missed out on.”

Sir Robert Woodard Academy

Last season: 5-5 (5th, Southern Conference)

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

St Charles Sixth Form College

Last season: 10-2 (1st, Southern Conference), Final Four

Notable departures: Levi Edwards, Hans Manku, Ryan Murunge, Damarni Velinor
Notable returners: Taariq Powell, Mohamed Elmoutasim Mohamed
Notable additions: Tyler Small, Abiodun Adedo

Patrick Avorkliyah (Head Coach) – “Our performances in games are a result of our actions in practice. The formula is really simple, I guess.”

Player Quote – “We are a high energy team that will outwork anyone on the court.”

Three Rivers Academy

Last season: 2-8 (8th, Southern Conference)

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: Jack Fettes, Kane Kenyon, Liam Langridge-Barker
Notable additions: Marc Sylvest, Harry Fairfield

Caylin Raftopoulos (Head Coach) – “The focus this year will be on individual development, which should translate into some good team performances.”

Uxbridge College

Last season: 2-10 (9th, Central Conference)

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: Richie Bumba, Himmatpal Singh, Byron Emerenini
Notable additions: Ahmed Kahin

Robert Banks (Head Coach) – “Looking forward to the season and building on last year as almost every notable player is returning.”

Himmatpal Singh – “I am excited for this season as most of last year’s squad is still at the college. Everyone has learnt a lot from last year’s experience and I can see that they have all developed. The new additions have improved the squad and we are prepared and ready for a good season ahead.”

West London College

Last season: 1-11 (9th, Southern Conference)

Notable departures: Raeem Leavy, Marley Opoku
Notable returners: Justin Tolentino, John Arenas, Mishak Marfo, Noah Mesquida
Notable additions: Idryck Wilkinson, Mikaeel Muhammad

Michael Quamina (Head Coach) – “We have an entirely new team and I am excited to see their development over the course of the season.”

Player Quote – “I am excited to play in the ABL with this new team and excited to play against good competition.”

 

Central Conference

Aston Manor Academy

Last season: 12-1 (2nd, Northern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

 

County Upper School

Last season: 11-0 (1st, Central Conference), Final Four

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

Gateway College

Last season: 6-5 (4th, Central Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

Long Road Sixth Form College

Last season: 2-9 (8th, Central Conference)

Notable departures: James Morris
Notable returners: Ben Rayner, Micah Gillings, Josh Batcheler
Notable additions: N/A

Pete Charlwood (Head Coach) – I’m excited to be taking on the challenge of the ABL for the third year and with a new group of players. We have a lot of work to do to get where we want to get too but the boys have started well this preseason and set a good atmosphere in training. We will take each game as it comes and aim to be the best we can be in each game and every moment.

Ben Rayner – “We’re really looking forward to the season ahead. We’ve got a good mix of returning players and new players with the potential to improve on last season and develop as individuals and as a team.”

Moulton College

Last season: 4-7 (7th, Central Conference)

Notable departures: Hayden Alcinder, Cameron Samuels, Alibhe Cooper, Zak Kitchen
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: N/A

Craig Hopkins (Head Coach) – “The players have worked hard during the off season, now to put that into the season.

Zach Dixon – “Heading into this season, I believe our hard work as a team will pay off.”

Nottingham Academy

Last season: 6-7 (6th, Northern Conference)

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

Stoke on Trent College

Last season: 12-1 (1st, Northern Conference), National Runners-Up

Notable departures: Luke Webster-Smith, Ben Tew, Marcel Kofi, Theo Jarret, Dylan Magloire
Notable returners: Michael Jara
Notable additions: Alex Tew, Ezekiel Oyemade, Bayley Guant

Shawn Jamison (Head Coach) – “We are thankful to be competing in the ABL for a second year. This is a rebuilding year for us but we look forward to an exciting year of basketball.

Eastern Conference

Barking & Dagenham College

Last season: 0-10 (8th, Eastern Conference)

Notable departures: Eddie Tavares, David Fanimoh
Notable returners: Teddie Barnes, Lukas Vilgolkas
Notable additions: Elias Antoine, Brett Buttler

Ravidson Teixeira (Head Coach) – “This past summer we have combined forces with Barking & Dagenham Thunder Basketball Club in order to reboot our programme and to further develop junior basketball in the borough. This is a great opportunity for both the college and the club, not only can we provide more basketball opportunities to those who want to play both in the ABL and NBL, but we can increase practice hours and player profile.

Player Quote – “With new changes brought in by Coach, as the Captain I’m looking to accomplish more than the previous years. We’ve practiced all Summer both at College and at Thunder and with the new players and extra coaches around us, this season is looking promising and I’m very excited for it.”

College of Haringey and North East London

Last season: 8-4 (3rd, Central Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

Haringey Sixth Form College

Last season: 5-7 (5th, Central Conference)

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: N/A

Franck Batimba (Head Coach) – “Our overall message this season will be ‘no mercy’.

Havering Sixth Form College

Last season: 3-7 (7th, Eastern Conference)

Notable departures: Gabriel Sanni, Miles Johnson, Shekem Vige, Jordan Odamatey, John Odur, Lenny Tshimbombo
Notable returners: Ben Butawan, John Bergonia, Kelson Mitchell, Klaidas Giedrikas
Notable additions: Daniel Simmons, Samuel Roe, Donavan Wright, Ivan Kosev

Damien Plummer (Head Coach) – “Very excited about the upcoming season We have a group of players who are hungry to improve and get results this season.  With an established core group of returners we are in a strong position to progress the programme from last season.

Ben Butawan – “This is a new season with a fresh start and a chance to show what we can do as a unit and what we have developed and learned over the offseason and from last season. The returners and the new first years have shown potential and I am excited to see what we are able to achieve as a team this season.”

Leyton Sixth Form College

Last season: 5-7 (6th, Southern Conference)

Notable departures: Titas Zydelis
Notable returners: Arran Skeete
Notable additions: Mukhtar Adelakun

David Lavinier (Head Coach) – “Now enjoying our third season in the ABL, we feel we have acclimatised to the demands and standards of the league. We’re excited for another rewarding and challenging season ahead.”

Arran Skeete – “Having moved conferences this season we are excited to meet new opposition in a strong league. With a lot of returners in the squad, we hope to start the season strong and have our sights set on a playoff place!”

Northfleet Technology College

Last season: 6-4 (4th, Eastern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Joshua Moore, Emmanuel Sesay
Notable returners: Duwan London, Jayden Douglas-Webber, Armen Olivar, Tyrese Tay
Notable additions: Temitayo Fatusin, Abu Dumbuya

Martin Parry (Head Coach) – “Having fallen in the first round of the play-offs in the past 2 years, we hope we can make a deeper run into the play-offs this season with the group of players we have returning.”

Jayden Douglas-Webber – “This season the team is looking very strong and we are determined to push ourselves , our aim is to make the play-offs and beyond.”

St Thomas the Apostle College

Last season: N/A – new team

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: N/A

Ryan Abeleda (Head Coach) – “I am very excited to lead this new academy programme into the ABL. It will be a tough journey but looking forward to the challenges ahead as we look to compete with the more established academies in our conference.”

Michael Asaolu – “It’s a new challenge for us as a new team but we will push each other to be the best teams in the ABL, through our hard work and commitment.”

The John Road School

Last season: 3-8 (7th, Southern Conference)

Notable departures: Roster information not submitted
Notable returners: Roster information not submitted
Notable additions: Roster information not submitted

The North School

Last season: 6-4 (3rd, Eastern Conference), Sweet 16

Notable departures: Adam Wernham, Ross Bampton, Emmanuel Ephenus-Agostinho, Issy Solomon
Notable returners: Sean Trumper, Jay Parnell, Kai Potts, Harvey Kemp Green
Notable additions: Luke Goodacre

Andrew Sunderland (Head Coach) – “Very excited for the season ahead. With a number of key performers moving onto University, we have a very different looking roster but we are full of potential and we are working hard to build our own identity and be ready to take on the challenge of facing top class opposition week in and week out.”

Jay Parnell – “I am very excited for the season ahead. Our team has great chemistry and we all devote so much of our time in and out of practice to prepare for the upcoming year. With a group of like-minded, dedicated student-athletes, we are confident that we will have a great season.”

V16 Colchester Colleges

Last season: N/A – new team

Notable departures: N/A
Notable returners: N/A
Notable additions: N/A

Tom Sadler (Head Coach) – “This is a brand new team, in a brand new program. We are excited to be competing in the ABL in our first season and look forward to the challenges that come with playing in one of the best competitions we have for Under 19 basketball.”

Josh Green – “Everyone is really excited to get the season underway in the ABL, our workouts have been intense and focused on just getting better every day individually and collectively.”