30-year-old, 6’8”, London born power forward, Harris, is no stranger to West Yorkshire basketball supporters, having previously completed a couple of seasons with Leeds Force, in the British Basketball League (BBL).
Having initially played junior basketball with the London Towers, Harris then spent some time in the United States, attending high school in Houston, Texas, followed by prep school in Maine and then Wagner College in New York.
This will be his eighth season as a professional, a career which has included spells in Romania, France, Belgium, Spain and Germany, before finally returning to the United Kingdom, with Leeds, in 2015. Following two seasons with the Yorkshire club, major changes within their management structure prompted Harris to make a move over the Pennines, to rival BBL side Manchester Giants, for the 2016/17 season.
Bradford’s head coach, Chris Mellor is expecting good things from Harris, stating, “Clayfell can give us some rim protection, inside presence and rebounding, and he’s already showed he has excellent leadership qualities.”
Harris himself is looking forward to his new challenge and says, “I’ve always heard that the Bradford Dragons are one of the hardest working and closest teams in the league and I have only heard good things about coach Mellor.
“For me personally I want to bring not only toughness and a great work ethic, but also experience, both on and off the court, to help my teammates become the best players they can be and help us win as much as possible.”
Lycoudis, a 6’3”, 21-year-old guard from Dronfield, started out as a junior with the Derbyshire Arrows, gradually progressing through the ranks into their senior squad, in the second tier of the National Basketball League (NBL). He made his first appearance for the seniors aged only 17. He has also combined his position on the Arrows roster with representing Sheffield Hallam University in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition.
“I’m delighted to be joining an established division one side such as Bradford,” claimed Lycoudis. “Coach Mellor, the coaching staff and the players we have, all share the same hunger and vision to do well this season, as has already shown in our pre-season training so far.
“I am excited to learn and play alongside the great players and experience we have in this side and hopefully bring some silverware back to Bradford this season.”
Another guard, 6’2”, 18-year-old Armstrong, who originally hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has represented the North East at regional level and was selected for an England under 16’s camp. After winning the NBL division four title in 2016, with his local club Gateshead Pheonix, Armstrong moved to the John Madejski Academy in Reading. Armstrong combined playing for his academy team in the Elite Academies Basketball League (EABL) with a place in the Reading Rockets under 18’s team, making the playoff quarter finals at the end of last season.
On his move to Bradford, Armstrong commented, “I’m looking forward to getting started with the Bradford Dragons, in order to continue my development under coach Chris Mellor and the Dragons family.”
Mellor commented on his two young recruits, saying, “Andreas comes to us from division two’s Derbyshire Arrows and I am confident that he is smart enough and tough enough to make the step to division one without too much difficulty.
“Matthew is a young player, who’s showing a great desire to get better and although he’s not played at this level before I think he can definitely contribute this season.”
All three of Mellor’s new players will be available for the Dragons’ opening National Trophy double-header weekend, away at Team Newcastle University Knights, on Saturday 29th September and then a home fixture against Manchester Magic the following afternoon.
The league campaign commences the following weekend, on Saturday 6th October, with a home tie against newly promoted Nottingham Hoods. All home fixtures will once again be played at the Bradford College Sports Hall on Trinity Road.
Photo Edits – Chloe Love