Oliver Hylands, Rafi Saipe, Joaquin Calvo, Marcus Gooding, Rihards Sulcs, Eisley Swaine, Jermayne Laing and new signing Disraeli Lufadeju all attended the Junior sessions at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College on Saturday morning, starting with the under 12’s and Beginners session, which attracts new players to the sport, from seven years old and upwards. The players helped to run the training session, whilst also taking the opportunity to show off some of their own skills, as a means of inspiring the young players.
A number of the under 12s parents commented on how much their children had enjoyed the opportunity to get up close with the first team players and expressed their gratitude to the club’s Head Coach, Chris Mellor, for making it happen.
The players then stayed on to support both the under 14s and under 16s in their league fixtures later that day.
In a highly competitive game of basketball, against York Eagles, the under 14’s unfortunately ended on the wrong side of a 44-63 score-line. However, despite the defeat, Junior Head Coach, Pawel Bohdziewicz, was pleased with both the attitude and the performance of his young players.
The under 16s enjoyed an 82-52 victory over East Durham Lions. Olufemi Bright led the Dragons’ scorers with 24 points, Arnas Kildisas followed up with 22 points and Milos Kangrga also contributed 14 points to the winning total.
Commenting on the days events, Bradford’s American Point Guard, Marcus Gooding stated, “It was an absolute pleasure to take some time away from playing and give back to our Juniors today. They are a great energetic group with loads of genuine love for the game of basketball.
“It was refreshing to share the knowledge that I’ve grasped throughout my career, thus far, with the kids.
“I feel that this will strengthen the bond between the juniors and our Division One team, as together we go hand in hand into the future of the Bradford Dragons.”
These sentiments were echoed by under 16s player, Bright, who said, “It was really nice to see the Division One players coming to our sessions and supporting the next generation of players. They are really helpful and encouraging and I hope that we see more of them in the future.”
The senior players are now preparing themselves for a tough ‘War of the Roses’ clash, against their Lancashire rivals Manchester Magic, this coming Sunday. Bradford have not had a great run of results against the Magic in recent seasons, having not taken a win against them since January 2015. However, Manchester have not enjoyed the best of seasons this time around and currently sit two points and two places behind the Dragons in the league table, albeit with two games in hand. Bradford will feel that this is their best opportunity in a long while to get the better of the 2016 quadruple winning side, and a win will also maintain their league position above them.
The game takes place in the Dragons’ Den (Bradford College Sports Hall, Trinity Road, Bradford) and tips off at 4:15pm. Advance ticket sales are available via the club website (http://www.bradforddragons.co.uk/tickets.html).