National League Basketball Returns To Gloucester as Saxons Boom!

Gloucester Saxons are pleased to announce that there will be National League Basketball in Gloucester again. Saxons will boast National League Teams at Under 16 Boys, Under 18 Men and Senior Men who will all compete in Basketball England’s National League Structure. The Club also runs teams at under 10/12/14 years of age in various Regional and Local competitions and has just launched a girls programme for anyone aged between 8 and 14 years of age.

This will be the first time that Senior National League Basketball has been in the county since the demise of Gloucester Giants many years ago. The Saxons team, who have now been preparing for a few weeks, will step onto the court in their first game of the season against Cardiff City, on Sunday September 17th at the College Campus.  It’s definately an exciting time for Basketball in the County. Along with the rise of the Saxons, the growth in the sport prooves that there is an air of optimism as to just what can be achieved. At the helm of the Saxons is Danny James, who has been instrumental in the raising the profile of basketball in Gloucester over the last 2 years.

Danny, who grew up in the area, playing for Gloster Jets at Under 17 and Under 19 level has returned to the City from Bristol, where he was responsible for creating and developing the Bristol Flyers and SGS basketball Academy, having worked in Bristol for 13 years as Director of Basketball.  Bristol Flyers are now one of Britain’s elite Basketball Clubs playing in the British Basketball League (BBL).

From humble beginnings, with no sustainable club structure, Danny guided the club through its years of infancy, developing a sound club structure.  In order to offer young people more opportunities within the game, access to facilities was improved, along with community initiatives raise the sport’s profile. Coaching staff were also employed to improve the standard of play, including Andreas Kapoulas, the current Flyers Men’s Head Coach.
Danny recently eflected on his journey and explained why Basketball in Gloucester has so much potential:

“Basketball has always been popular in the County. When playing junior basketball in Gloucester for the Jets, the club was very strong nationally and many of the clubs players including myself, represented England and also went on to play Basketball professionally.

After getting an offer to come back and build something here in Gloucester I simply couldn’t refuse the opportunity. Gloucestershire College were offering to provide an outstanding opportunity to establish something very similar to what has happened in Bristol.

The Flyers have had a meteoric rise as a club, and knowing the potential available in Gloucestershire, thought it would be very possible to replicate their achievements here in Gloucester. Around 2 years ago I drew up plans to dramatically improve how Basketball was being delivered at the College which then included the former Blazers Club.

Personally, my belief was that the Club had kind of lost it’s way and was just about managing to keep it’s head above water, which was very similar to how I found Bristol Basketball way back in 2000. After some lengthy negotiations with the College and the Club it was decided to dissolve the Blazers and create a new club which was renamed the Gloucester Saxons.

The College facility would become a Basketball Only facility and the home to Basketball in Gloucestershire. The Saxons club would build and develop strong community links and match this with plans to grow the game and infrastructure in the future.

After this, our first season the fruits of this labour and the positive changes are evident. The Club has moved forwards, New Coaches, New Ethos, New Structure and fantastic support from Gloucestershire College. The Sport is booming, we have new players through the door weekly, we have added teams, competitions and recruited new coaches and officials to support this boom.

Every level of player has been welcomed and each has access to sessions and competitions to play in, that fit their needs. We have added younger age groups to cater for players aged 8 and upwards. This year we have a huge focus on Girls Basketball with sessions for girls U12 and 14 starting in the next few weeks.

There are also things happening in Gloucester in terms of infrastructure that will allow the club to develop further with the potential of a facility that will certainly allow the senior teams to progress without the concern that its facilities do not meet league regulations.

We are growing our partners and developing further community programmes to engage with people interested in the Sport which also allows us to promote both the Sport and the Brand. I can honestly see a repeat of what happened in Bristol happening here in Gloucestershire, Its why I’m here, there is so much potential that each month surprises me to how quickly we reach goals and targets. It will take time but it certainly is going in the right direction.

We have great coaches, we offer great opportunities to players, parents, officials and supporters of the Sport, the club is very much Community focused, something which I’m extremely proud of”. It’s been a busy summer for the coaches, planning, preparing and now delivering basketball to the players at the club, after what was a very successful year for the Saxons. There has been little rest over the summer but the new season will herald a new challenge to the club, one which it cannot wait to start.”

Saxons Play and train in Gloucestershire College in a facility that as eluded to is Basketball only 7 days a week, something that does not exist anywhere else across the Southwest. There is so much going on at the Saxons and with Basketball locally that it would be too much to add to this release.

A trip to Facebook or the clubs website will allow the observers to see what else is going on. Saxons are keen to grow further and would like to hear from anybody who has an interest in taking up the sport. From 8 years of age upwards there is a session, team and competition for you.
To find out more get in touch.
Details can be found on the clubs website

For further information:

web: www.gloucestersaxons.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/gloucestersaxons
twitter: @glossaxons.

Danny James
Head of Basketball Operations
Gloucestershire College, Llanthony Road
Gloucester, GL2 5JQ
mobile: 07913326190  email: dannybjames72@gmail.com