2019/20 Season Preview – ABL

The fifth edition of the Academy Basketball League (ABL) gets underway this week as Haringey Sixth Form look to defend their title. With 38 teams in total and some realignment of programmes within the competition’s four conferences, we’ll take a look across the ABL and preview the 2019/20 season.

 

Eastern Conference

After winning it all last year, Haringey will be tough competition for any team in this year’s Eastern Conference but with the departure of Playoff Final MVP Franklin Agu for Myerscough, their defence of the title won’t be plain sailing.

With the removal of the Central Conference, County Upper School, Long Road Sixth Form and Moulton College all join the Eastern Conference and should provide a new dynamic for the other teams involved. Long Road specifically will need to cope with the notable departure of Josh Batcheler and Micah Gillings, whilst hoping new guards Tash Chariwa and Dan Batcheler can help them towards a competitive season.

As the Essex Rebels enter their second ABL season they’ll be hoping that athletic guard Adam Miaden and big man Ade Atiba can help to replace Pete Ellis, who posted big numbers last season but has now departed the programme.

New City College are fortunate in being able to call upon the services of 2018/19’s Most Improved Player Adelaja Ogidan, and they’ll need Ogidan to take that next step as the impressive Aaron Badibo has now left the programme to continue his career at Sheridan College in the US.

 

Northern Conference

The Northern Conference pits four of last year’s quarter-finalists against each other in Archbishop Beck, Aston Manor Academy, Queen Ethelburga’s and Stoke on Trent College.

After missing out on a place in the Playoff Final by just one point, Stoke will be hoping that the addition of Jacob Williams, Sam Raji and Tom Odeny can help them go one better this year.  Aston Manor also missed out on a place in the Final by just a single point and they’ll be hoping to make amends this season to.

Archbishop Beck Sports College will need to find a way to weather the loss of a pair of key players in Dante Sofia and Phil Deveney as both have departed for America, though the addition of four new players including Harry Kisby and Sadiq Makki could assist on that front.

As Carmel College enter their fourth season in the league they are hoping that the loss of Steve Shoan to Nereto Basket in Italy doesn’t harm their chances of success.

 

Southern Conference

After failing to send a team to the ABL post season a year ago, the South Conference will look to collectively address that trend in 2019/20.

John Roan’s Head Coach Courtney Van-Beest believes that his players can do just that and they’ve added James Miller and Tega Ogbebor to help take them to the next level. The North School saw 7 of their senior players graduate after the 18/19 campaign, making this coming season an exciting prospect as the programme turns to a number of new players.

Northfleet Technology College has lost Temtayo Fatusin to Hertfordshire University after he led them in points and rebounds a year ago, they’re hoping that a number of new additions to their ABL roster from within the school’s basketball pipeline can help the side move on from a tough 2018/19 showing.

Equally, HTS Storm will look to make their mark on the standings as they can call on the services of GB international and highly rated Deng Camp selection Cameron Hildreth. With returning players like Josh Otor, Ben Hilton and Brandon Laryea, the newly rebranded programme is looking to make some big steps this year.

 

Western Conference

After losing by 17 points in last year’s ABL Playoff Final, St Charles College could still be the pick for the Western Conference. They’ve added Jihan Ybanez and Lukas Zaicevas to their squad, strengthening their back court as try for a title in 2019/20.

Oasis Academy is hoping that no notable departures from last year’s squad will allow them to build as a team and embrace some continuity.

After losing five of their roster from a year ago, including Shaydon Eytle, Abdul Oladipupo and Max Rentto, Harris Academy will be working a number of new additions into their roster and hoping for some chemistry on court to help make a push in the standings.