WORCESTER Wolves' head coach Paul James has a big rebuilding job ahead of the new British Basketball League campaign after only retaining one player.

Popular, long-serving stars, such as captain Alex Owumi and 2014-15 player-of-the-season Jamal Williams, have left the University Arena after Wolves crashed out at the first hurdle in the play-offs last season.

Only shooting guard Disraeli Lufadeju will be retained with Chavis Holmes, Robert Thurman, Paul Guede, Robertas Bitinas, Kalil Irving and Caylin Raftopoulos also among those heading for the exit door.

James paid tribute to the departing players but admitted the club must move in a ‘different direction’ following last season’s eventual disappointment.

Despite turning in eye-catching displays, most notably against Newcastle Eagles, and claiming their highest BBL finish of third in the table, James’ side failed to build on 2013-14 when they won the the play-offs and National Trophy for their first pieces of major silverware.

An early exit from the National Cup, disappointment in the Trophy and a heavy play-off quarter-final defeat to London Lions over two legs meant Wolves’ campaign ultimately fizzled out.

James said: “We had a team with some very talented individuals and in some games we demonstrated we had the potential to be a title-winning team.

“The three victories over Newcastle clearly demonstrated that fact. However, we failed to progress in the key cup competitions and we all recognise that this was not acceptable.

"Therefore, following discussions within the club, we have decided to revitalise the program and move in a different direction. We have spent the post-season period reviewing the previous campaign and busily planning for the future.

"We hope to be making some announcements about incoming players very soon. A great deal of research has gone into finding exciting players, who we believe will make a strong contribution to what we are trying to achieve in the future.”

Wolves' managing director Mick Donovan said: “There were some great characters in the team and we would especially like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of our departing captain Alex and last year’s MVP Jamal, who played such a big part in taking us to the next level.

"However, we all felt that it was time to rebuild with a new-look team.

“The 2013-14 season was a great time for the club and, while we do not believe we have the divine right to repeat that every year, we need to respond to the 2014-15 end-of-season collapse.

"Releasing three players during the season was not ideal and we have been working really hard to put an exciting team on court for the forthcoming campaign.”