New coach: ‘Hemel’s fans are the best in the division’

Hemel Storm chairman Tony Humphrey (right) welcomes new head coach Robert Youngblood to the club.
Hemel Storm chairman Tony Humphrey (right) welcomes new head coach Robert Youngblood to the club.
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One of British basketball’s best players of all time has just been signed as the new head coach of Hemel Storm.

Hemel announced on Monday the signing of new head coach Robert Youngblood who has been the first assistant at BBL club London Lions for the past two seasons.

A fierce competitor in his playing days, Youngblood was a beast on the boards as a rebounder and tenacious defender. He finished his UK playing career in the top ten of four statistical categories – games played, points, blocks, and rebounds.

Youngblood led Essex Leopards in National League Division One for three seasons, coaching them to final-four appearances each term, a National Trophy win in 2013, league runner-up spot in 2014 and the league title in 2015.

A veteran player in the BBL and with European teams, he comes to Storm as the club sets its sights on bringing silverware to the town having established itself over the past five seasons as a competitive Division One outfit.

Originally from Florida, Youngblood has dual American-British nationality and is looking forward to taking the helm at Hemel. He said: “I’m thrilled to be appointed as Storm’s head coach.

“I’ve played and coached against Hemel and they are a first-class organisation. The fans are the best in Division One and I’m looking to get the club to the top very quickly.

“The way Storm’s management handles players and other personnel with such professionalism made it an easy choice for me to step in as head coach. I will make the very best of a great situation.”

Storm’s head of basketball programme Dave Titmuss said: “Coach Youngblood is a great fit for us. He brings vast experience and terrific basketball intelligence to our programme.

“As a player he was always a believer in the team concept and was the type of guy who did the intangible things to help his teams win.

“These are attributes that match perfectly with what we’ve tried to ingrain at Storm and which now we want to translate into more competitive success.”

Youngblood is now said to be reviewing the club’s roster and looking at how it might be strengthened. He is planning a number of open try-out sessions before pre-season training starts in late August.

The club is expected to announce his coaching team in the next two weeks.

Storm’s chairman Tony Humphrey said he was delighted with the appointment and added: “This is just another step towards our goals as a great community club competing nationally.

“We have without doubt the best fan base in the league and have attracted some high-profile commercial partners also that are working closely with us to take Storm to the top.

“The match night experience for fans and players alike is second to none and now we want to build on all of the work that’s been done already and herald in a new era of national success.”