Category: EYBL U17

Phase No.2

Basketball can change lives. Basketball has the power to change lives. When we first met Aaron Pyne , who joined among other junior Elitarians our dreams and visions were not wide enough to encompass such a leader and personality to be part of our team.

In 2019, shortly after opening London Elite club, Aaron Pyne made a big impact on our U17’s team leading it to good campaign in prestigious EYBL league. His outstanding performance did not go unnoticed as Aaron was selected to All Star 5 at the stage in Poland, Lublin.

“I could tell from beginning that Aaron has this special gift of competitiveness. He was always confident in achieving goals and worked really hard. It was amazing to assist him on this journey.”

Aaron not only shone at international level but helped our club achieve what is hard to believe, two U18 titles in most completive leagues, CBL and RBL. Furthermore Aaron was awarded RBL MVP. It is hard to believe this could be achievable without Aaron’s help. His contribution on court was more then outstanding.

Aaron said:” I decided to join London Elite because I was looking for more competitive environment. I really loved that I got pushed and developed into high standards PG. Sometimes I look back and I can’t believe how much of great memories have had at Elite. Winning championships, having basketball family, travel around Europe. This was big part of me becoming who I am now. I am truly grateful to coach Daniel and coach Kieran for all help, Capital City Academy for all support.

Following the profile of our program which is to help UK players achieve their dream and secure full scholarship to play overseas. Aaron is just yet another testimony. We are proud of what he has achieved and thrilled to have another of our Elitarian being noticed and given a chance for further basketball career and oversea education.

Next chapter is ahead of Aaron, but we are more then confident he will far as his talented and working ethic are on different level. Our general Manager Daniel Szatkowski said :

“I am more then proud of Aaron achievement. He has inspired lots of new players to join us, he made London Elite recognisable across UK, assisted Elite in achieving championships. His overall contribution to elite family will go unmatched for long time.”

Aiming stars

Prolific Prep School. Name familiar to many basketball fans in whole world. Program based in Napa Valley north of San Francisco. Known as “Pro Prep” for short, Prolific Prep includes a highly qualified staff and offers the opportunity for top US players who compete with accomplished International level athletes, a unique fusion that provides an unparalleled competitive advantage. Program is run by famous Coach Billy McKnight who was two years as head coach at the United States Basketball Academy in Blue River, Oregon. Program has produced multiple NBA players with recent Jalen Green who has been selected with number 2 pick in NBA draft 2021 by Houston Rockets.

Prolific Prep head coach Billy McKnight said: “We look forward to having Alex part of our program at Prolific Prep this upcoming year. Prolific Prep will again be one of the top programs in the country as we compete for a national championship. Alex will bring toughness and versatility at the guard position. We look forward to having him and helping our back court.”

We could not be happier to see our player, Alex Wildish being part of such a famous program. Alex performances has not gone unnoticed by American coaches and in season 21/22 Alex will proudly wear Prolific jersey.

Having led our U18 to RBL title was one of signs of talent Alex has. Not long after his dominant performance Alex another inspiring performance saw our club collect CBL title with win over Brixton Topcats. Alex collected MVP award.

Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski said:” Alex is a very unique player. He can come in at most difficult time of the game and changed dynamics of the game. In RBL final our team was down 14 in 4th quarter. Alex came in and led our great comeback for RBL title. Knowing calibre of Prolific Prep is breath-taking but in other hand i know, that Alex has clearly earned it and deserves it. He will be truly missed but he is just another testimony what London Elite is about.”

We Had a chance to sit down and ask Alex couple questions:

1)What made you join London Elite?

-It was a level of coaching and competition attracted me and I already had connections with coaches and players from past. Environment is very friendly and competitive at the same time.

2)What did you learn during the time with us?

-At Elite I learned how to be a better teammate and I gained skill and grew as a player in many ways. It transferred directly to my game and help me reach another level.

3)What was best thing during your stay at Elite?

-The best thing during my time at elite was winning both championships and being the MVP of one. These memories will stay with me forever. I am glad i could contribute to overall success of the club.

4)What would you advise next generation of players?

-I would advise the next generation to never give up, stay consistent with the work you put in and be a student of the game. Do not let anyone to outwork you.

We are very thankful for all Alex has done for our club. He great performance helped us sweep U18 season and off court he become one of us. True friend and brother to all of our players and coaches. Best of luck Alex!

#londonelite #elitebasketball #prolificprep #pathway #USbasketball #basketballengland #elitehoops #hardworkpaysoff

2020 Review

2020 is the year to be remembered. We look back in what happened in previous calendar year. Our club has grown in strength despite all obstacles we faced.

SEASON 19/20

Season 19/20 was cut short due to lockdown being imposed however we look back to our EYBL experience keeping our heads high. In first year of entering club performed on great level against top European competition.

It led to some of our players receiving individual awards of prestigious All Star 5 of tournaments. Aaron Pyne and Israel Olalekan shined at U17 level while Matthew Disu collected this award for his great performance at U20 level. Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski said: “It is shame we never got to finish U17’s season but overall experience showed we belonged to that high level of basketball and can perform against great clubs”

Our Club always priorities development as a key for success. In season 19/20 our talented U12 squad was crowned champions of CBL Division 1! This is outstanding achievement bearing in mind how competitive the league was. Boys showed amazing commitment and heart for the game. This successful campaign would not be possible without impact that our young guard Kaya Birsen had on a team. On many occasions Kaya led our team and earned himself a MVP of the league title. We cannot miss the fact that our top scorer Anton Safin was named to All Star 5 of the league. Well done!

PREPERATION FOR SEASON 20/21

We could not achieve our goals if it was not for our partners. We are fully delighted that from season 20/21 we have taken our partnership with London School of Basketball to whole new level. It creates unique combination and helps London players to take their game to next level while studying at Capital City Academy.

London Elite has entered 8 teams into national league, and 9 teams into CBL for upcoming season 20/21. It is linked to heavy increase of members in our club. It is worth to mention that heading into 2020 year we had 80 members while by Christmas 2020 time this number was 140!

Our European campaign not only continues, but has been expanded by adding U16 boys and U18 Girls. It gives 4 squads an opportunity to take part in European league in season 20/21! We are proud to say that we have made history as first British team to enter European Girls Basketball league. Head Coach William Twigg said: “Great opportunities for girls and women in our sport right now. I believe London Elite will optimise every experience for them in the EGBL and other leagues at U18s international level”

It was always obvious for us that we cannot be sure on when domestic leagues will start. However we focused on things we can control. We organised and played 30 friendly games between August and Christmas. It provided great replacement for lack of leagues that are delayed till at least March/April 2021.

Shortly before Christmas we have opened our clubs merchandise shop which provides all sort of clothing accessories at affordable level. It is another step club is taking towards bright future, but also a gives a way of direct support of club to stay afloat during current uncertain times .

WHATS NEXT?

Our Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski said:” 2020 was a year of growth for us. Lockdowns imposed on UK did not help at all however we prevailed despite obstacles. We are currently in another lockdown which is frustrating. However I am sure and confident that determination of coaches, parents and players will not only allow us to pull through these times, but we will come out of it stronger. You will see in 2021 what London Elite is. New competitions added, new equipment, new pathways to America and Europe. New coaches and even more fun in this basketball journey”

U18’s new plan of action

London Elite U18’s plans are here! We are happy to announce that in season 2020/21 our squads will compete in National league, CBL and European Youth Basketball League (EYBL).

Provision of these competition will create unique platform in best possible exposure for players during 20/21 campaign.

A major change within the team will be Coach Daniel stepping down and handing team to coach Kieran Matthews. This is what he had to say:

“It was right time for me to hand this talented team into hands of Kieran. I see him as one of better upcoming coaches in whole UK. I am sure this is going to be really exciting project!”

Our home for U18/s will be Capital City Academy, which is fantastic venue with 500 bleaches plus attractive location in north west London.

Coach Kieran Matthews said:

“I’m 24 been coaching since I was 16. I can’t wait to take the u18s national and 17s EYBL. As a coach it’s a step up for me , as up until now I’ve mainly worked with u16 and academy players. I’ve been working with Elite players, who have gone on to do great things for some time, so I know I’m ready for any challenges ahead. I think this is going to be a great experience. My philosophy as a coach is very simple. I’m big believer in positionless basketball as-well as encouraging players to Think for themselves. I coach guys for the NEXT level for where they WANT to be not what we need know.”

“As a coach I am the tough love guy, I push the guys as much as I can to get the best out of them on and off the court. My priority with these guys is to develop Top level athletes who can achieve their goals and compete in the highest level league in Europe but also help them become good and disciplined people.” Coach Matthews continues.

Elite squad will benefit from everyday training with highly qualified coaches while will have access to compete in ABL too.

Head Coach Kieran Matthews will be available on Zoom on Saturday 9th of May at 3 pm. Link will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram profiles. Do not miss this opportunity to find out more details about his philosophy, opportunities and what support you will receive in reaching your basketball goals!

What a start of 2020 for our players!

As our club has entered new calendar year with great trip to Xmas tournament in Belgium, we did not forget how important it is to compete in all our regular competitions. Every player across London Elite is improving significantly, furthermore few of our boys earned special individual awards in January 2020.

Aaron Pyne has joined our program in summer 2019 and from day one showed good ability to perform at highest possible level. As he is our main point guard, he shows no fear towards top competition in Europe leading our U17’s team in EYBL competition. Aaron earned very prestigious All Star 5 tournament which is given to best players of whole stage!

Our teams compete in London School of Basketball league which has grown into one of most competitive leagues in country. Our U12’s and U14’s show on regular bases that our program is one of most competitive in whole country. But this success would not be possible without individual performances of our players.

Jaidan Midha has been outstanding throughout whole season and Belgium tournament gave him additional boost of confidence which Jaidan used in LSB U14 age category, leading our side to improve our record to 4-1!

Jaidan recorded unbelievable 56 points on day in 2 games. He scored 32 points against Westside and followed with 24 against Greenwich Admirals.His shooting ability is very much needed for our team! He truly deserved player of the month January in U14 London Premier League!

Our U14’s Head Coach Matt Williams said: “It’s been a absolute pleasure coaching a future 5 star player, hard working, resilient, calm under pressure and mature above his years. His commitment and work ethic puts him a great place for his basketball future”

As our U12 team is marching to claim first place after regular season, it has been noticed that our results would not be possible without our fiercy guard, Kaya Birsen. Despite being still U11 he shows no fear against older competition. Kaya shows lots of potential in basketball. In months ahead, this is exactly what our team needs!#

Our own Myles Davendra had a great start of the year in both, on and off the court. After returning from Xmas tournament in Belgium he proved that he is not only one of most improving players across our U12 team but represents pour club in excellent way at his school! We are really proud to say Myles Represent club excellent not only while playing, but he earn very prestigious golden medal at Ealing Schools Challenge Quest where he delivered great presentation called “Eat, Sleep…play basketball”. It is our pride to say that Myles met coach Daniel at his primary school sessions when he was 8 years old. What a journey Myles has had so far! He played his first international tournament in December, he competes on our first U12 team and what is most exciting… there is more to come!

Expect more from us…

Our u17 squad had been hit with lack of 2 main inside players heading out to stage 2 of EYBL league. As our tournament started with unexpected forfeit from London United our boys had only 4 games left to play.

Coach Daniel Szatkowski said:” We knew being hit with loss of our leading players we would need extra effort to secure our own rebounds”

As first two games were cold shower for our boys, we knew that our team is not travelling to Poland to give up that easily. European style of basketball is different then London players see on day to day basis. It is great experience to face against top teams in Europe. First two games against Tsmoki Minks and Sykki Helsinki showed how much we need to adapt in style of play.

During the second day of tournament our U17 squad faced SMS Pzkosz and showed the ‘never die’ attitude. Despite loss at the end we could see much improved performance which gave boys extra shot of confidence before last game of tournament. In last game before return to London our u17 team faced BS Jugla from Latvia. Led by fiercy guards A, Pyne and M.Cotterell jumped into early double digits lead. First half saw u16’s A.Wildish scoring 11 points.

As team continued to lead in double digits behind 23 points performance from Cotterell, it was our young guard going down with knee injury towards end of 3rd period. Our squad lost confidence on offensive end and narrowly missed last game by 2 points. Highly disappointing result after such a great performance however being outrebounded by opponents was hard to be overcome.

Morgan Cotterell said:”The trips really helped us get better as a team and taught us a lot about the game of basketball. The first games were scrappy and we didn’t play team basketball. The last games were a lot better we moved the ball and worked well together and had a lot more assists as a team.”

Our boys currently stand with 3-7 record and will need a big 3rd stage to push for play offs race. We have to congratulate to A.Pyne for achieving unbelievable prestigious All Star 5 of the tournament after averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 rebound and nearly 3 assists per game.

Aaron Pyne said:”We were prepared for worst. Realising that we were a relatively small team and outsized and outrebounded but also coming to realise the fact we had the most heart. I am proud of my teammates in how we got stronger together as a team and individually, we no only wait to take stage 3. Stage 3 is ours. Just wait!”

Stage 3 of EYBL U17 will be held in Minsk, Belarus between 26-29 of March.

Coach Daniel reflects on EYBL experience.

London Elite participates in 2 age groups of European Youth Basketball League in season 19/20. As both teams completed their first stages, coach Daniel reflects on importance of participation in such a big basketball project.

“As I decided to enter two of our talented squads into the most competitive league in Europe, it was no brainer that we will face challenges that we cannot see in the UK”

“Any good youth coach always has a player development at the bottom of his heart. It is easy to realise players need the toughest possible challenge. Why? Because without continual growth and progress through falls, struggle and sacrifice, such words as improvement & success have NO MEANING.”

“Our U20 team finished their first stage with 1-4 record however progress made was stated by EYBL President “quickest improving team in EYBL”. As boys improving with each game it was obvious that young Londoners will collect the win. In game number 4 we beat Helsinki Rocks 61-58 behind 23 from Matthew Disu, whereas at the last game of tournament boys came inch away from collecting 2nd win however DSN Riga got away with 2 OT win”

Our U20 squad is currently in Riga, Latvia for their 2nd stage of EYBL. Boys will face BS Jugla, BC Ventspils, Sandvika BB, BC Liepaja and Myerscough.

Coach Daniel continues” We had decent preparation for this tournament, playing few competitive friendlies, working on our weakest sides which extensively improved our squad since the previous stage. Still, a great deal depends on our top scorers M.Disu and R. Murray, however, our squad is deeper and we have lots of players that can step up to that level and contribute significantly to our team.

Team Roster: K.Kolesnikovas, R.Murray, M.Disu, J.Alimi, K.Ogunbona, R.Bumba, T.Agbede, K.Hines.

Follow our social media for live updates!

EYBL U17 start their Euro campaign!

Riga, Latvia 25/10/19

London Elite U17 team will start their season 19/20 in most prestigious league in Europe as they travel to Riga,Latvia.

During first stage our boys will face teams from Russia ((Khimki Moscow, BC Samara, BS Admiralteiskaya) and Poland (TBV Start Lublin)

Competition will take place in beautiful and historic venue Daugava Sports Center where Kristaps Porzignis played when was younger.

Going into tournament Coach Daniel Said: “we have very talented group of players and i believe we can be very competitive here. But mainly we will look to build our team stronger and become one unit which is most important thing right now”

Our younger team will rely on individual performances of 3 of our leaders ,guards M.Cotterell and A.Pyne and athletic I.Olalekan it can be deadly combination.

Morgan Cottrell said:”I think we have a very strong team and guys are hungry to win. We have a lot of talent on this trip and will play as hard as we can”

First game of tournament is taking place Friday 25th October at 11:20 local time (UK 9:20) against Khimki Moscow.

Israel Olalekan said:”We are very diverse team with different styles and skills to offer. As we fairly new team we enter best competition in Europe. It is a lot lot to live up to, however we have no problem facing biggest teams.

Roster for our team: I.Olalekan,A.Pyne, M.Cotterell, L.Bigby, D.Bigby. D.Houghton, K.Thomas, A.Wildish, N.Soberano, A.Akappfu

A.Pyne rightly summed things up: “As a team this is nothing but stepping stone for the future. We are here to get better as team and play for win”

First games tomorrow so stay tuned!