A NEW club has been set up to provide basketball for young people in the city following the departure of the MK Lions, with the ultimate goal of forming a new professional team.
The Milton Keynes Basketball Club Limited is a new company formed by financial supporter Moody Alnajar, director of the Prestige Group, and has taken on all responsibilities for the Lions’ junior development programme, and community, school and youth basketball in the city.
Angela Turner, who previously managed the Lions’ junior development programme, will continue the same work with the new club. Her son, Harrison, came through the ranks in Milton Keynes and now plays in the British Basketball League with the Worcester Wolves.
She said: “Basketball in Milton Keynes was in dire need of a professional organisation to take on the responsibility for working with young people and improving the opportunities for young players.
“In the first three months of our existence we have secured three players into junior England squads – this success is in recognition of the new ownership, management and coaching programme here at MK Basketball Club.”
Milton Keynes Basketball Club has entered five teams in the England Basketball National League, who play home and away most weekends, up and down the country.
This is made possible by a large group of volunteers who give their time free of charge to develop basketball in the city.
Michael New, a former head coach of the Lions, leads the MK College Basketball Academy and oversees the coaching aspects of the club’s programme, working with many of the junior players on a daily basis.
“Both his and MK College’s support of the programme is of paramount importance to the future of basketball in Milton Keynes,” added Mrs Turner.
“Discussions are currently being undertaken to secure a professional future here in MK together with a suitable training venue. Preliminary discussions have been undertaken and Milton Keynes Council has shown its support.”
Pictured with Michael New are David Isseyka, 14, Chloe Turner, 14, and Jason Papaioannou, 15, who have all been called up to junior England squads.