Hemel Storm have further bolstered their squad ahead of the upcoming season by clinching the signature of British-American prospect Brett Cannon.
With the season now just 17 days away, Storm have signed the 6ft 3ins talented wing-man Cannon, who will arrive from Oklahoma this Thursday to join his new team, who were in training camp at the weekend.
Cannon joins Hemel from the Great American Conference champion East Central University, of Ada, Oklahoma, where he led the college team in assists and shot an average of 45.8 per cent from the floor.
He will be able to have one practice with his new team-mates before Storm’s pre-season friendly game this Saturday against the USA-Select touring team at Hemel Leisure Centre (tip-off 7pm).
The season-proper then begins on Saturday, September 22, when Hemel host the Thames Valley Cavaliers in a National Trophy cup tie.
The athletic all-round player Cannon will replace Elliott Sentence, who has now signed a professional contract in Germany just weeks after he initially joined Hemel.
Cannon will complete Storm’s dynamic back-court, bringing savvy and speed to the club’s new-look squad.
Hemel’s head coach Robert Youngblood said: “Brett is a terrific addition to our line-up, he’ll bring energy and pace to our team. We’re delighted to have signed him and we’re looking forward to integrating him into the squad as quickly as possible.
“I think he’ll gel well with the characters on the team and his skills fit perfectly with the way we want to play.
“As ever, our goal this season is to bring silverware to the town and to build on the successes of last season.”
With player retirements and transfers, Storm will return just four key players from last season’s National Cup-winning squad – Tom Adorian, Jack Burnell, skipper Bode Adeluola and Mike Darlow – so the make-up of the 2018-19 roster will mean a switch in playing style to an even more up-tempo style of basketball.
Youngblood’s delayed return from America for personal reasons has meant that Storm’s associate head coach Dave Titmuss has led the team’s preparations at training camp, with senior club coach Jon Burnell and guest coach Gary Maitland – a highly-regarded skills development coach – working alongside him.
The players have also received technical feedback from Dane Frost, Storm’s performance analyst.
Titmuss, the veteran former national team head coach, said: “They were demanding sessions no question, but our fans will want to see an all-out commitment from their team and that’s exactly what they’re going to get.
“I liked how professional the guys were about getting down to business and how well they’ve started the process of building chemistry.
“We’ve got a mentally tough squad this season and I think the fans will love how hard and how passionately they play.”
Storm’s squad has been completed after a series of try-outs over the summer also resulted in the signing of 6ft 6ins forward Sam Dunscombe, 6ft 4ins forward Oliver Ladlow and experienced point guard Ian Berry.
n Storm fans will have an opportunity to meet players this Saturday from 2pm at the Rainbow Stage outside the Marlowes Centre in Hemel.
Club volunteers will be on hand from 11am-3pm to run shooting and dribbling competitions and to organise a special tombola.