WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club coach Daniel Hildreth is already busy preparing for the 2013-14 EBL Division 1 season.
He is hopeful of having the majority of last season’s squad return to the club and has already recruited three of those players ahead of the next campaign.
Former junior players Jack Sunderland, Joe Carter and Rhys Francis have all confirmed that they will return to the club, which has delighted Hildreth, whose side start pre-season training in the middle of next month.
They will begin with two sessions a week throughout July, before moving on to three sessions a week in August to build up for the season, which begins in September.
Hildreth is looking to build on the success of last season when Thunder, who were bottom and winless at Christmas, went on a remarkable run to finish eighth and reach the play-offs. They then got to the final of the EBL play-offs, where they lost to league champions Reading Rockets.
Hildreth said: “The club is ecstatic to announce that Jack, Joe and Rhys will all return next year as our intention is to bring on local players.
“Rhys, without question, was the most improved player from the first half of the season onwards last year. He really developed, with the help of Kadiri Richard, who spoke to him a lot to help him out. He had his opportunities as he was thrown in at the deep end a little bit and came out really well and we’re hoping for big things from him next season.
“Jack’s energy is contagious and he’s the hardest working player in games and in training. I’ve coached him for years and, although point guard isn’t his natural position, he did a great job for us there last year. He’s a player who doesn’t need to score points to have a good game because he works so hard.
“Joe was outstanding for us last year, especially in the second half of the season and he’s a real impact player.
“His confidence grew as the season went on and he top-scored in our last league game of the season against Brixton.
“He brings a different dimension to the team and his hard work paid off last season.
“I’m delighted that all three of them have come back as it’s really positive for the club and we’re all very excited about next season already.”
The club is also in negotiations with all of last season’s squad and hope to announce further signings in the coming weeks.