Hemel Storm have re-signed three of their outstanding former junior players as the team-building process continues for the 2017/18 campaign.
And as part of a coaching reshuffle, Storm have also appointed last year’s head coach Dave Allin to work alongside new man Robert Youngblood, who joined the club last week.
All three former juniors – Jack Burnell, Michael Darlow and Nick Allin – were developed in the club’s former National Premier under-18s programme before they graduated to the senior level.
“I’ve coached all three of these young men over the last six years at junior and senior level,” said Dave Allin,“and they fully appreciate the values of this club and understand that Hemel is a special place to play.”
Darlow echoed those sentiments, saying: “Other clubs often try and recruit us but why would anyone want to leave a club like Hemel?
“You only have to look at the fantastic fan support we get, the elite levels of coaching and player development work, the incredible volunteers who are the life-blood of the club, and the aura of professionalism that pervades everything that is done on and off the court.”
Despite being early in their senior careers, all three have already made significant contributions to the first team on the court.
Darlow was a consistent starter for Hemel last season and is an excellent rebounder with the ability to shut down inside scoring with tenacious defence.
Nick Allin has become a highly dependable and unflappable ball-handler whose all-round game makes him one of Storm’s most consistent players.
And despite his relative inexperience, former England junior Burnell is one of the best shooters in the league, renowned for his long-distance marksmanship.
Coach Allin is delighted to be returning to the club in his new role as an associate head coach and is especially pleased to be working with Youngblood, the vastly experienced and successful former BBL player and coach who has taken on the lead coaching role.
Allin said: “I’m excited to be back at the club for the coming season.
“My first experience of working with Coach Youngblood at recent try-outs was an extremely positive one. It’s clear that we have similar standards and expectations.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the challenge of building sustainable on-court success at Hemel for many years to come.”
As well as speaking with current players, the club is staging a series of open try-outs in advance of the squad’s pre-season training which begins on Tuesday, August 29.
Further player and coaching announcements are expected shortly.