Sport 23.01.24

New Basketball Academy announced at the Canon Medical Arena

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks & B. Braun Sheffield Hatters are delighted to announce the PCA Academy, which will be run in collaboration with UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. The academy will act as the elite development pathway for both the British Basketball League & Women’s British Basketball League clubs, making it the only pathway of its kind which directly feeds into the top tier of professional basketball in the Yorkshire region. Atiba Lyons, head coach of the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks is excited to offer opportunities to young players within the region, saying: “This is something we have wanted to create for a number of years, and now the Canon Medical Arena is complete, it is the perfect time to launch a pathway which enables young players to learn what it takes to reach the professional level – with two head coaches of professional clubs serving as the heads of academy.”

The home of the PCA Academy will be the Canon Medical Arena, a brand-new state-of-the-art facility – with a fully functional medical suite, equipped with the very latest in medical diagnosis. Whilst all academic provision will take place at the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, located 200 meters from the basketball arena. Principal of the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Jessica Stevenson, has said: “We are very excited to work with the Sharks and Hatters on the PCA Academy. Our goal as a school is to develop well-rounded young people who can go on to have successful careers in industry. We understand the importance of sport in the development of young people and want to help create an environment where promising athletes can thrive on the court, and in the classroom”. Marko Backovic, who serves as head of operations for the Sharks echoed this by saying: “We want to create an academy alongside the UTC which develops our young athletes as people, as well as basketball players. Sporting careers aren’t infinite, and we want every player which passes through our system to have a foundation which enables them to have success in basketball, and post-basketball.”

PCA Academy will have a particular focus on individual development, ensuring that players understand what steps they would need to take to reach the next level. Vanessa Ellis, head coach of the B. Braun Hatters and GB assistant coach, stressed the importance of this: “Players will receive three sessions a week purely focused on individual development. Dependant on the focus of the session, different coaches would lead the session. This would see BBL & WBBL players lead sessions, based on their area of expertise. For example, Sharks player Rodney Glasgow Jr may lead a session on dribbling with the ball, whilst Georgie Gayle, Hatters & GB player, would lead a session on shooting. This then leads to players already at the level required gifting young players valuable pieces of information which may help them reach the top level”. In addition to this, players would then train twice a week for U18 national league and play games at the weekend. Players who excel, would then be invited to play for both team’s national league development teams against adult men and women. Dependant on progress and coach evaluations, players also have the potential to be called-up to practice with both senior squads. Atiba added: “We’re excited to give young players the opportunity to compete with the best in the country, and truly understand the level. After that, it is up to the player to earn their spot amongst the elite squads.’’

To register for the PCA Academy open night on Wednesday 7 February, please email – Deadline for registration is Friday 2 February.