WORCESTER Wolves' "long process" to find a big man has paid off with the signing of Merrill Holden for the 2019-20 British Basketball League season.

The 6ft 8in American, 25, brings further strength, athleticism and versatility to the roster.

During 75 games in his NCAA career in the USA with Louisiana Tech and Iowa State, Holden totalled 292 points, 49 blocks and 199 rebounds.

Since graduating from Iowa State, the Chicago-born talent has played for Caballeros de Culiacan in Mexico and Bahrain Basketball where he averaged 24.8 points and 14.8 rebounds.

Worcester head coach Matt Newby said: “I am really excited about Merrill pulling on a Wolves jersey this season.

"It was a long process trying to find a position 5/4 that would complement the line-up we have recruited and I believe we have found him.

"He has the ability to impact the game at this level in a number of ways and I feel his desire defensively is a super strength.

"When you couple this with high outputs on the glass at both ends of the floor and his ability to protect the rim as well as strong basketball IQ I feel we have a great asset.”

Holden said: “I’m excited to start this year with Worcester.

"I feel that we have a young group of guys that will bring toughness, skill, energy and determination.

"I’m excited to show the Wolfpack nation the energy and leadership that I will bring to the programme.

"It’s going to be a special season. You don’t want to miss out!”

Wolves' summer signings Raheem May-Thompson, Maarten Bouwknecht, Kofi Josephs, Jordan Williams and Cortez Edwards have all arrived in Worcester.

But having reached Worcester new recruit Kyle Carey is leaving due to personal reasons, according to the club.

London-born small forward or shooting guard Carey, 22, had played for Great Britain under 20s and England under 18s.

He also boasted experience at NCAA level in the USA with Northern Colorado Bears and Barry Buccaneers.

Newby was looking forward to giving a young domestic player the chance to shine in the BBL but Carey is departing without playing a match.

Wolves start pre-season preparations at BBL rivals Newcastle Eagles on Friday night before hosting Leicester Riders on Friday, September 13, and Bristol Flyers on Monday, September 16 (all 7.30pm).

The competitive campaign starts for Wolves in the BBL Cup at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday, September 20, when London Lions visit (7.30pm).

The BBL championship begins in December this season with the cup group stages running until November 22 to 24 and the quarter-finals being played on the following weekend.

Meanwhile, the captain of first opponents Lions, Joe Ikhinmwin, will return to the city club for a seventh straight season.

The fans' favourite joined London in 2013 and returned from a knee injury last season in time to help the club win the cup and championship.

Ikhinmwin spent four years at South Carolina State University where he averaged six points and three boards in his final two years before graduating in 2012.

A season with the Newcastle Eagles in 2012 was followed by him signing for his hometown club.

Ikhinmwin joins league MVP Justin Robinson, former Wolves ace Jordan Whelan, Dii’jon Allen-Jordan, Brandon Peel and Jorge Romero in the squad.