WHEN it comes to basketball, the University of Worcester continues to go from strength to strength.
Last weekend’s sixth British Universities and Colleges Sport title in nine years was the latest feather in the cap for the Henwick Road campus’ programme.
Since Paul James was installed as director of basketball 12 months ago, he has masterminded a structure so that all of the university teams play and train the same way as the Worcester Wolves in the British Basketball League.
With Wolves currently sitting second in the table and on course for a top-four finish, it is a philosophy certainly reaping rewards.
Many of the Wolves team, such as Tommy Freeman and Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, were part of the BUCS triumph last weekend as they also study at the university.
The Wolves second team are top of National League Division Four (Midlands), while the university’s second string sit top of the BUCS Midlands 2B Division.
The women are also following suit, securing the Midlands 2A league title with an unbeaten record.
James said: “I have been really pleased with the commitment throughout the programme and the most exciting thing is that the model we are developing at Worcester can only get better.”
Mick Donovan, the university’s Head of Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, added: “We are absolutely thrilled with the achievements of all of the players and coaches on the Worcester programme this year.
“The strong foundations that had been put in place over years were always eventually going to bring success, yet the outstanding leadership and inspiration from Paul is really beginning to make an impact and establish the club as a force in the UK.“Paul really has imposed his philosophy that is positive and encourages players to express themselves in a team setting. They enjoy being part of it.”
The Wolves seconds, led by coaches Chris Lowe and Andrew Cahill, achieved a remarkable 22-game unbeaten season to finish top above Ipswich and third-placed Oxford. They now go into the national play-offs for a shot at promotion.
Alex Radu coaches the university seconds and only a 30-point defeat to Northampton in their final match will deny them being crowned champions.
The women, coached by James Bryce, are looking forward to a bright future after being promoted to the Midlands 1A Division.
It is hoped that several players will be integrated into the Wolves women’s team who, during a year of transition, finished mid-table in National League Division Two under the leadership of Becky Brindley.