Bradford College Sports Lecturer, Sam Messam has been announced as the new under 18s Team Manager for England Basketball.
England Basketball has participated in international basketball for over 60 years and is a member of Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur Europe.
Sam Messam’s love for the sport began over 30 years ago when he first played basketball and discovered a passion for the game. For nearly a decade Sam forged a successful career as a professional player, when he retired, Sam turned his attention to helping up-and-coming athletes excel.
Expressing how he felt when he discovered he had secured one of the top jobs in English Basketball, Sam said: “As a team manager it’s a great opportunity to learn. I’ve been working towards it for the last three years. The whole idea of being part of a championship team, travelling out to the European Championships in Turkey and working towards that is exciting - I’m really looking forward to it!”
In preparation for the games, the team will also compete in the prestigious Mannheim Basketball Tournament held in Germany later in the year. Elaborating further Sam said: “The event is by invitation only - and only top teams are invited to attend. This will be the first time in the history of the games that we will take part. We will get to play against the USA, France and Croatia. These are some of the top teams in our age group.”
Commenting on the likelihood of bringing home the title, Sam said: “We’re a division A squad so we’ve got a good chance. The coach is working hard with the team so we will see how we get on.”
Sam added: “We’ve got a squad of 24 at the moment and at some point we will have to get the team down to 12, so it’s a very competitive environment.”
Explaining how he hopes to reduce the number of players, Sam said: “We’ve got three tournaments and two camps, between those six events; it will be a case of the players demonstrating their ability. They have lots of work to do away from the camps; we will be measuring and assessing them so see if they can play at that level.”
The squad will also head out to Belgium to take part in training camps before they compete in the European Championships.
Sam continued: “I’ve just completed my United Kingdom Centre for Coaching Excellence Level 4 and over the last two years I’ve learnt to be much more of a listener. I really try to engage with the athletes to understand what it is that they want. I like to build relationships with them to get the best out of them that I can.
“We spend a lot of time looking at different aspects of the game and getting them to work really hard on the technical, tactical, physical and mental elements in an attempt to make them better, but I’m not pushing for the sake of pushing; we agree targets for them to achieve.”
Paying tribute to Sam, Paul Porter, Bradford College Sports Academies Coordinator Manager said: "The on-court success of the team is the result of a lot of hard work and preparation off it. Sam Messam's relentless quest to improve the team's performance, including seeking out the help of international sprint coach Ilona Melounova, has paid off handsomely. That coupled with the generous new sponsorship from local sports supplement suppliers Cre-8 Nutrition, has put the team in pole position regionally, and ready to make an impact at national level. Sporting success doesn't come overnight, but Bradford College's sporting strategy is now paying off over an increasing range of sports."
Sam concluded: “Becoming the under 18s basketball team manager is a great opportunity for me to become a better coach for the Academy so the students from the College get to benefit from my knowledge and experience.”
As a highly regarded Sports professional, with a capacity to innovate, Sam looks set to work in harmony with the College and England Basketball to help develop the next generation of elite Basketball stars become the best that they can be.