GB players will return to competitive action for the first time in over seven months when the top divisions in Spain and Germany return this weekend.
Twenty-two GB Senior and Academy players will begin their season for their respective clubs on Saturday (31st October), while 2018 World champion Martin Edwards will have to wait another month before he begins his season in Italy with Special Sport Bergamo Montello next month.
The leagues are being held in line with their respective country COVID-19 restrictions and guidance.
Sixteen GB players will play for clubs in Spain’s Division de Honour this season, including five at BSR Amiab Albacete.
With Kyle March, Harry Brown, Gaz Choudhry and Lee Manning all remaining in Albacete for the 2020/21 season, there is a familiar British feel to the Albacete line-up. This season it’s been boosted further by the arrival of Ben Fox, who will team-up with his fellow GB teammates from the 2019 European Championships winning team having moved from Mideba Extremadura.
BSR Amiab Albacete begin their season away at Bidaideak Bilbao BSR on Saturday (16:00 UK Time).
Albacete were the leading title contenders in the table, along with Terry Bywater’s CD Ilunion, before the 2019/20 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
CD Ilunion will once again feature the all-round shooting of Bywater for the 2020/21 campaign, and the Madrid-based club have added additional GB firepower to their team with the addition of 2018 World Championships MVP Gregg Warburton.
Speaking ahead of the season opening fixture, Warburton said:
“I’m really happy to be joining CD Ilunion and to be playing for one of the biggest clubs around and partnering up with Terry. He has helped me settle into the club and the city and I hope to have many successful years here just as he has done.
“I can’t wait to get back to competitive games this weekend after such a long time without it. The Spanish league is exceptionally strong again this year and I’m excited to play alongside my new teammates and also to go up against different teams with different looks and the challenge of world class competition week in, week out.”
Bywater and Warburton will begin their seasons away at Getafe BSR, on the outskirts of Madrid (16:30 UK Time).
Phil Pratt and George Bates remain at Mideba Extremadura this season, and they’ve been joined in Badajoz by 2017 U23 World champion Billy Bridge, who has returned to Spain having previously played in Valladolid.
There will be British interest on both sides of the court when Mideba begin their season away in Malaga at Amivel on Saturday (17:00 UK Time).
Abdi Jama will face his former club when he lines-up for Amivel against Mideba. It’s a move which sees Jama re-united with friend and three-time Paralympian Ade Orogbemi. It was Orogbemi who actually introduced Jama to wheelchair basketball after visiting his school and the pair went on to both be a part of the Great Britain teams at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games.
GBR Academy athletes Will Bonner and Lee Fryer have made the move to play aboard for the first time, joining Servigest Burgos for the 2020/21 season. They host Fundacion Vital Zuzenak in their opening fixture.
Ian Sagar has moved from Special Sport Bergamo in Italy to Germany to join Simon Brown at RSV Lahn-Dill, who finished second in the RBBL1 table last season. Lahn-Dill begin their 2020/21 season with an away trip to Doneck Dolphins Trier on Saturday (14:00 UK Time).
Commenting on the move to Germany, Sagar said: “These past 10 months have felt like 10 years without a game of basketball. To step out on the court for the best, most renowned team in Europe is a dream come true. I feel like a rookie again and can’t wait to get started.”
Three-time Paralympian Helen Freeman has moved back to Germany, after a previous spell in Cologne, joining RSB Thüringia Bulls, who led the way last season. Last year’s table toppers host ING Skywheelers at 19:00 (UK Time) on Saturday.
On the move back to Germany, Freeman said: “I’m very excited to get started with the Bulls. After the cancellation of the leagues back in the spring, I think everyone has been counting down the days until we can play again so I’m sure Saturday will be a lot of fun.”
Thomas Smith has swapped Spain for Germany, signing for Baskets 96 Rahden, where he will be joined by 2017 U23 World champion Peter Cusack, who will play abroad for the first time. The pair will go head-to-head with Jim Palmer and Rhine River Rhinos Wiesbaden in their opening fixture on Saturday (16:00 UK Time).
More information on the European leagues, including how you can watch the games can be found on the respective league websites below: