My farewell to female UK hoops.

It’s been one hell of a ride!

It was destined to happen with my recent move to the USA and new job role but it’s still very tough to come to the realization that a special part of my life is coming to an end.

Many people ask me how did I even get involved with coaching female basketball and the truth is I really owe so much of the last 4 years to the legendary Jimmy Rogers at Brixton Topcats.

He asked me to lead the women’s team at the historic club for whom I’m forever grateful to for opening that door.

Brixton Lady Topcats finish the 2013/14 season crowned as Division 2 National League & Playoff Champions.

And who would have known that after just one season the team was to be crowned National League and Playoff Champions gaining promotion to the top flight league — the WBBL.

This team was so special. They not only kick started my coaching journey but actually made me think I could be pretty good at this coaching thing which helped me to continue to really start taking it seriously.

When you have a group of people who trust a new coach where most importantly they all had each other’s back including mine, success was destined for us.

Following the success of this team, things kind of just took off from here for my coaching journey.

From being head hunted for the Head Coach position at London Southbank University going to back-to-back Final 8’s, to joining the coaching staff on the Regional U15 Team —

To then heading up the London U17 Girls Team, which we won back-to-back titles, to being apart of the first ever Midnight Madness female travel team to Portugal and then setting up a girls program at DENG Academy.

All of this in just two years! Crazy.

Midnight Madness Female Grand Finals at the Copperbox Stadium on the Olympic Park.

Literally all of my spare time was geared towards female basketball and I remember thinking how do people all over the UK do this? No seriously, how do so many do this!

What followed was a complete shock where I was given the incredible opportunity to coach for my country as the England U16W Assistant Coach.

Representing my country as a player was my biggest accomplishment to date in the sport where I honestly never really thought about coaching for England —

But doing this was the absolute pinnacle of my young coaching career where I loved every single minute of it. Was such an honour and I’m so blessed to have experienced this.

England U16 Women’s Squad at the 2016 European Championships in Romania.

So what next? In just 3 years I had jam packed my schedule enough around my full-time job so what more could I do. Well, anyone who knows me and my passion for hoops will know I don’t go half ass or settle.

Now embedded into this side of the sport, I really got to see first hand just how poor the coverage was for female UK hoops. So with the amount of talent and stories that weren’t given a platform — I decided to create a dedicated website called: She’s Got Next.

I built the site, created social media channels and stared to gather content from so many players — I just rolled with it not really knowing where it would go.

Photo shoot for She’s Got Next. | Model: GB International Jamila Thompson | Photographer: Phil Haynes

I think to date it has provided a good platform and voice for female UK hoops helping to spread the word that we have some real talent playing all over the globe. — Well I hope it has!

In the midst of this, I was also helping talented players gain USA scholarships which although is a very lengthy process, it’s really worth every second.

I’ve been able to build some incredible relationships with coaches and athletic directors in the USA and helped a lot of kids in the UK make their dreams come true. This is arguably the best part for me about getting involved in the female game. Helping others.

My “last ride” was joining Southwark Pride/City of London Academy with Coach Jackson Gibbons. It was such an incredible way to finish my coaching career in the UK as not only did the team steam role every competition winning all major titles but more importantly I was able to gain a family.

Southwark Pride pictured winning the NBL Division One Women’s 2016/17 Playoff Championship.

You cannot describe this club — you just have to be apart of it to understand how special it is.

My last season was a great way to go out, I wouldn’t change any of it and I owe a lot to Jackson and Sterling Muschett for allowing me into their club and trusting me to implement a few things that hopefully helped. Man, I look back and think “Wow, what a season and how far we all came, together!”

So, to all the wins and loses, practice plans, scouting reports, Nando’s visits, Nike goodie bags, gym memberships, 1-on-1 skill sessions (aka rebounding) — the never ending minibus rides, locating KFC + Starbucks service stations, waking up in the middle of the night to write down new sets, the countless laughs and disagreements and all of the friendships gained — what a ride!

I will still be following from afar wishing nothing but more and more success for a special basketball fraternity.

I will truly miss it.

Signing out.

✌︎

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