Leeds Carnegie Basketball set for top flight
Head of Sport, Sally Nickson, said: "Leeds Metropolitan University are delighted with today's announcement that Leeds Carnegie Basketball club has been accepted into the BBL. We knew that the club has worked extremely hard to achieve the standard required to be considered for entry into this league. Being part of the successful development of basketball from grassroots to performance level is something our University is proud to be involved with."
Leeds Carnegie's entry into the BBL will put them up against the best teams in the UK, including iconic British basketball clubs such as the Newcastle Eagles, Glasgow Rocks as well as current treble winning champions the Leicester Riders. This move will also see Leeds Carnegie make their first ever appearance on TV as part of the BBL's deal with Eurosport.
Director of Basketball and Head Coach, Matt Newby, said: "To bring a basketball franchise to the city of Leeds which has such an amazing sporting pedigree is a privilege. I feel that it is a testimony to the hard work of the staff at Leeds Metropolitan University and the Leeds Carnegie Basketball Foundation which has assured our ascension through the ranks and the continued development of our community programme."
Leeds Carnegie will play their BBL games at Leeds Metropolitan University's Sports Arena which is set to host the biggest nights of basketball that West Yorkshire has ever seen. Coach Newby is keen to use this move as an opportunity for young British talent to play at the highest domestic level. He added: "I hope we can continue to develop home grown talent from across the country and give them the opportunity to step in to the professional domain whilst maintaining their academic aspirations within our academic pathway which includes Allerton High School and Leeds Metropolitan University."
The BBL is in its 27th season and has been looking to aggressively expand their portfolio of clubs. The BBL has a clear strategy of looking to establish basketball franchises in every major UK city. The 2013/14 season saw the launch of the Birmingham Knights and the 2014/15 season will see Edinburgh and Bristol join Leeds as new arrivals in the league.
Coach Newby continued: "The BBL is the premier basketball league in the UK and is going from strength to strength. It is a great time to make the move up and it will ultimately help us achieve our goal of creating a complete performance pathway, which we have been building since 2006. It will further enhance our community focus and commitment to social agendas and ultimately we hope inspire a new generation of basketball enthusiasts within the city of Leeds."
The BBL's Chief Operating Officer Andy Webb added: "We are pleased to welcome Leeds Carnegie to the BBL.Their addition will take our roster to 15 clubs for next season and will give us a 2nd club in Yorkshire. The club have a solid community base from which to grow, and we look forward to working with them to develop the club in the coming seasons"Coach Newby has appreciated the assistance that the club has received in its plight to reach the top tier of British basketball saying "I would personally like to thank the BBL for all their support in the process and those in England Basketball for all their support over the past 8 seasons as we climbed the EBL structure"
Leeds Carnegie's BBL schedule will throw up some new rivalries.This will include a White Rose derby against BBL veterans the Sheffield Sharks as well as a classic Yorkshire against Lancashire battle against the Manchester Giants. Leeds Carnegie will be keen to finish their last season in Division One with silverware and have had a bright start to the new season, having reached the final 8 in both the National Cup and National Trophy.