Category: EYBL U20

Against all odds.

“You have to achieve certain skills, enrol and attend specific basketball programme with exclusive USA programme connections, then follow the patent and recommended pathway to have a slight chance to make it to USA” They say.

But maybe not necessary? Maybe there is other way around, alternative pathway focused on your talent properly staged for others to see and as a result of your hard work and dedication .Not connections. Your hard work pays off and not necessary you are designed to bang your head against the wall.

Following this little introduction I am thrilled to announce that Stephen Ovia from London Elite team has landed full sport scholarship to attend Phelps Prep school in Philadelphia in upcoming season.

The Phelps’s School is located in Malvern, PA, a western suburb of Philadelphia. The Phelp’s Lions basketball program plays a highly competitive schedule against the best competition throughout the north east coast. Several Phelps
alumni have gone on to play college basketball at prestigious universities such as the University of Connecticut, Penn State, Temple, Drexel and Seton Hall. The Lion’s play pre-conference tournaments and exposure events throughout the season. Phelps is a member of the highly competitive Great Atlantic Conference (GAC) and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools end of season tournament (PAISAA)

“We can not wait to get Stephen on campus. His athleticism and multi-faceted skill set will add tremendous
value to our program. A player of Stephen’s calibre will bring excitement to our upcoming season” – said Phelps School Head Coach John Harmatu

Stephen joined our program with background from West Hearts Warriors in summer 2019. Regardless long period of lockdown , which did not help in any basketball player career , against all odds Stephen prove that he can outwork everyone.

Despite missing out on EYBL experience, Stephen has made most of all London Elite provision in domestic competitions. Our club compensated lack of national League competition with great number of friendly games.

In season 2020/21 we have played over 40 games across RBL, CBL and friendly games. Stephen on many occasions contributed over 30 points with 15 rebounds alongside. His role was crucial in our clubs sweeping all competitions and being crowned RBL and CBL champions.

His outstanding performance saw him being selected for prestigious event Hoopsfix All Star Classic where he ended up 3rd top scorer.

We had a chance to catch up with Stephen before his flight to Philadelphia:

1)What made you join London Elite?

“I joined London Elite because I liked what the program had to offer and saw it as an opportunity to improve my skills by being in an environment where I can practice every day”

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

“I would say the main thing I learnt during time in London Elite was how to be versatile and adaptable to different situations. I was able to get a feel of different positions on the a court. I realised that this taught me how to be more effective and not so one-dimensional”

3) What impressed you most with our program?

“What impressed me was the way the team was able to gel quickly in such a short period of time, players and coaches. We worked hard as a team and coaches were constantly pushing us. We also were constantly pushing ourselves which helped us work cohesively to achieve our common goal”

4) What advise would you give to players following your pathway?

“Make sure you keep you head down and focus. Both on and off the court. Listen to coaches and utilise every opportunity you have to improve. Coaches go out of their way to do extra early morning sessions and even during the day so make sure you make the most of them”

We would like to say big thank you Stephen for all effort you did in helping us achieve our goals . We are truly proud of your progress and achievement. We will be looking out for your further career overseas.

Upcoming new men’s team!

We are excited to announce that in season 2020/21 we will be competing in National League Division 3 organised by Basketball England. With our ambitions to provide best possible platform for players to develop their game and collect needed experience this would be ideal opportunity. Our Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski will look after this project. He will be assisted by upcoming young italian coach, Mauro DiNunzio.

Our team will be based on our EYBL U20 team with addition of few men’s and experience players. Coach Daniel said:

“Our philosophy as a club is very simple. We want to develop best possible players. However we understand that on mens level, they need to be supported by experience players who can assist the younger group during season. We have very talented kids at Capital City who will benefit from this project and I am looking forward this new challenge for us as a club”

Despite lockdown period, our club has started working towards building strong structures for upcoming season, starting with addition of Adam Burjij to our staff who will look after our players and educate them about injury prevention. Our team will be having regular highlights and great social media exposure with credit to Ivan Grotsev who is one of best in business!

There is one more name that we need you to highlighted, which is Josh White.Our first men’s player has played professionally in countries such as Germany, France, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Prior to playing professional, Josh has experience playing university basketball at the NJCAA, NAIA and NCAA levels. This is what he said:

“I am 31 years old and I’ve been playing competitive high level basketball for the past 15 years. Over the last 6 years, I’ve played for well over 25 clubs in more than 10 countries around the world. Not every stop on my journey was successful, there have been ups and downs, I’ve been cut from teams and won championships with teams. In the end, I have always learned something and come out of the experience a better person and player. My favorite part about playing basketball overseas is the relationships I’ve developed all over the world. I’m looking forward to to playing with London Elite this season in the NBL and helping this group achieve their goals.”

We organising online trials for players interested due to lockdown restrictions. As soon as we are back to training we will have invitation only on court tryouts. Please do not miss opportunity as our men’s team journey is looking exciting! Please see details below.

Contact coach Daniel on 077453314867 or [email protected], should you have more questions.

Elite Duo commits to TMG Prep Academy

As our season is slowly coming to the end, we have more and more exciting news coming in. After season of playing for London Elite U20 squad, Richie Bumba and Kitan Ogunbona have landed full athletic scholarship from TMG Prep Academy in California!

Coach Daniel Szatkowski said:” Them two boys were really hard working duo, despite fact of living more than an hour travel from Capital City, they still frequently made it to 6:30 am sessions. It’s great that they show younger players on Elite program what hard work really is and how it pays off. I am proud of their commitment and will look out for their further development”

“The London Elite programme gave me an opportunity and a platform to showcase my talents. Coming to a team that emphasises ball movement so much wasn’t something I was used to but in adjusting to it, it improved my IQ and offensive ability as a whole. I’m grateful to Coach Daniel for giving me the opportunity to play for London Elite & I want to say thank you for being a Coach that we could all laugh and joke with, but also pushing us to get better as a team and individually.” “

“I’m also grateful to all of my teammates for putting up with my antics off the court, and supporting me on the court. Any previous differences aside, you guys showed me genuine love and I appreciate that!” Kitan Ogunbona said.

“I’m grateful to Coach Daniel for giving me the opportunity to play for London Elite as it helped me better get better as a team and individually from the 6:30 am morning sessions to work we put in the summer it showed me the importance of preparation.I’m also grateful for my teammates who I put in work with and won with and lost with, those EYBL trips brought closer and I didn’t just gain friends I gained brothers thanks for showing the love on and off the court and also and I’m grateful for it.” Richie Bumba added.”

We would like to say massive Thank You for representing our programm. We are truly proud of their progress and we will be looking out for further development of Richie and Kitan!

U20’s EYBL journey in books!

Our U20 squad left UK on 26th of February onroute to Valmiera, Latvia. As a part of European Youth Basketball League our squad completed 3 different tournament, playing overall 15 games against top competitions from 8 different countries.

As our team was formed in late summer, we had little time to prepare, however team made program proud by coming 12 position out of 18 despite injuries problem throughout campaign. Head Coach D.Szatkowski said: “When you look where we were in summer, and were we are now we can clearly see it was a journey to remember. Many players emerged from nowhere and made a statement at highest European level. My vision is to build to for players and help them grow. I am happy that we achieved it despite some results not going our way”

We are proud to see some of our players receiving recognition and being awarded individual awards. Joshua Alimi picked the best player of the team award after completing stage with 13 points per game This is what he had to say: “It was an experience of growth throughout the tournament my teammates put there trust in me, which allowed me to express myself and execute my scoring ability when my team needed me to”

As our top scorer Matthew Disu enjoyed another successful tournament, he has been selected All Star 5 award by the league which is a phenomenal achievement, Matthew said:” Competing in eybl from stage 1 all the way to stage 3 has really changed the way I approach basketball. It showed me that you can’t get anywhere without genuine hard work, preparation and discipline. Playing in EYBL I learnt so much, the things I learnt here has made me a much better player. It helped me understand to play smarter not harder. I appreciate my coach for widening my basketball knowledge and experience by giving me the opportunity to compete against top players in Europe

As this campaign has come to the end, we are already planning season 20/21. Big thanks to Ivan Grotsev for an outstanding work with media. His work was just unbelievable! Stay tuned for upcoming info regarding this fascinating project!

EYBL U20 stage II in books!

Our U20 men’s team flew to Riga, Latvia to take part in second stage of most prestigious youth basketball project, EYBL. As currently this league provides most competitive games available in Europe, we knew we will be facing big challenges.

As boys touched down on thursday morning in cold Latvia, they truly enjoyed day of rest preparing to play on friday first game. In first match of the tournament, boys faced possibly best Latvian team in tournament BC Jugla. However led by K.Kolesnikovas and M.Disu jumped into 8 point lead at HT controlling the game. As Latvian team did not look to give up they made couple of 3’s to claim 1 point lead on 20 seconds to go. However Kevin Kolesnikovas made long range to to put Elite team up and took a charge to claim ball back from opposition.

However in controversial circumstances referees award ball to latvian team at 1.6 second to go. You Jugla team players executed perfect players leading to game winning buzzer beating lay up to claim win against our team. Heart breaking experience for our boys that game was.

In Evening game we faced Ventspils who are currently top 3 teams in EYBL. Our boys failed to execute same defence and let opposition with solid win. Coach Daniel said” i think we were still mentally in first game which hurt us a lot. Its tough start of tournament but i believe boys can do well in next days”

On day 2 of EYBL stage, our boys faced Sandvika team, young swedish team. Our boys hit their lows after dropping first games. It was Swedish side that used our boys struggle and converted in easy comfortable win.

Coach Daniel said:”we had lots of expectation and really after the game hit us hard. I knew i have to pick up boys off the floor and help them to realise how good team we can be. Tough job to do but these boys truly deserve it.

In Second game of the day boys came out of changing rooms as completely different team. Played aggressive defence forcing Liepaja players into turnovers leading to easy lay ups. Led by 22 points from Matthew Disu our team claimed first win of the stage!

In last day of the tournament our side faced currently 2nd sead, leader of EABL, and top division 2 Men’s NBL, Myerscrough. Our boys went out of blocks claiming first half 29-24 behind hot shooting from K.Kolesnikovas and great defensive effort from R.Murray and T.Agbede. However slow 3rd period saw Myscro jumping into 7 point lead before final period. While Opponents were looking to close the game pour boys showed “character never quits” and brough game into 3 point difference with 40 seconds to go behind hot outside shooting from M.Disu. Great team defence forced myscro players into shot clock violation however our boys missed 3 opportunities to level the game and academy from North England escaped with small win.

Rio Murray received team MVP as recognition of his great performances through out a stage. 3rd stage is organised in Valmiera, Latvia at end of February. Please check London Elite TV on instagram for all games highlights!

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!