Storm add Alexis Lewis to Coaching Staff

Storm Basketball Club and HTS Storm Basketball Academy are pleased to announce an exciting new addition to our coaching staff, with Alexis Lewis making the move to join the programme. Coach Lewis brings with him a vast level of expertise and knowledge to continue to add to the high level coaching delivery at Storm.

Speaking about joining the programme, Alexis said, “I’m extremely proud to be coaching with an established and successful programme like Sussex Storm and excited for the coming seasons. Working with this outstanding club – their coaches, players, and supporters – is an opportunity I had to take and I cannot wait to be part of our continued growth and future successes.”

Lewis makes the move to Storm after eight years coaching in the capital with the Greenhouse Sports programme and London Greenhouse Pioneers. During his time with Greenhouse, Coach Lewis has enjoyed countless successes at both a regional and national level – across school and club competitions. His resume of achievements is highlighted by an NBL Playoff Championship for the Pioneers Under 14 Boys in 2016 and a Dynamik National Schools finals appearance for Saint Gabriel’s College Under 15 Boys in the same year.

Storm are incredibly lucky to have secured the services of a coach with such pedigree, with regional and national experiences to draw upon. A stint with the London Regional Performance Centre saw Coach Lewis led the London Under 15 Girls to a 2nd place finish at the 2015 Regional Development Tournament; garnering the attention of the national coaching instructors. Success with the London Region saw Alexis selected to the coaching staff of the England Under 15 Girls National Development Programme, a position he has held since 2016 – and holds to this day in the newly rebranded England Talent Programme.

Alexis will be making the move to Sussex to take up a post at Holy Trinity School in Learning Support, meaning the players at HTS Storm Basketball Academy will have another high level coach to call on within the school programme. The role will allow Coach Lewis to assist with the HTS Storm 1st Team in the ABL, alongside Academy Head Coach Daniel Hildreth.

“The club is always trying to improve on all levels; not just the development of players but adding and increasing the level of coaches is vital to continue with our progression,” said Coach Hildreth. “It sends out a strong message that we are able to acquire coaches of such caliber to the programme. Alexis will be working with our younger players to instil the values and initial development that they need for a successful future. This is another huge step in the right direction for our club and we are delighted he is here.”

As part of his Learning Support role, Coach Lewis will as act as a mentor to our young student-athletes – supporting them to perform their best on and off the court. Already active within the National League programme, Alexis has been made Head Coach of the Under 14 Boys Conference team for 2019/20; working alongside Foundation coach Freddie Winton. Coach Lewis will also be taking an active role in the Local League programme by coaching in the newly launched Crawley Basketball League; while Storm Basketball Foundation will be calling on his services to continue add to the clubs on offer.

Her Time: HTS Storm launch Girls Basketball Academy Programme!

HTS Storm Basketball Academy are proud to announce the official launch of our Girls Academy Programme – following closely behind the programme’s rebrand to HTS Storm back in the summer. The female players at Holy Trinity School will continue to receive the expert provision of coaching, strength & conditioning and video analysis, whilst having the opportunity to test their skills in expanded competitive opportunities.

Girls basketball has been steadily on the rise in Crawley over the last four years, with the rapid growth kick-started by Crawley Cagers starting the first ever girls-only local league team in the town four seasons ago. After rebranding to become Storm Basketball Club in 2017/18, girls basketball continued to progress when the Crawley Storm Local League programme added further girls teams at the younger end of the player pathway. The 2018/19 season saw a number of major developments to the female side of the programme, when Crawley Storm entered two girls-only Local League Under 12’s teams, and the Sussex Storm National League programme entered its first female team at the Under 14 Girls age group. The growth of the club programme has continued into the 2019/20 season with the addition of the first girls-only Local League competition in the county as part of the Crawley Basketball League. Meanwhile, at the National League end of the pathway, the provision of Sussex Storm has expanded to offer three teams – Under 12 Regional, Under 14 Regional and Under 14 Premier. Storm Basketball Club are proud to be the only club to offer Premier girls basketball in the county, setting the standard for female competition in Sussex.

“This was the long term plan when we started the girls teams four years ago,” says Karl Youngman, Storm Local League Head Coach. “The girls in town that were interested in playing had no outlet to do so, so we followed the same model that we used to grow the boys programme – start with an Under 12 group and reset to add a team each year.” Coach Youngman continued, “Now with the club and schools’ programmes combined we have hundreds of girls playing from Under 7 upwards. We will keep going until the female provision and participation mirrors that of the boys.”

A dominant 2018/19 season in local competition saw Holy Trinity School capture Sussex Schools County Cup titles at Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 age groups – before reaching the Last 16 of the Dynamik National Schools championships at Under 14 and Under 16. Hoping to repeat this success, the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy will this year compete in the Dynamik National Schools competition at the Under 17 and Under 19 age groups, with the lower school also ready to defend their county titles at Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16.

The expanded provision of the HTS Storm Basketball Academy to offer an elite outlet for female players across Sussex and beyond comes as a reaction to the growing numbers of girls engaging with the game through the work of the Storm Basketball Foundation. With over 300 female participants across the vast schools programmes and 50+ girls within Storm Basketball Club – the talent pool is there to push through the programme to compete at the elite level when they reach Under 19 competition. The progression of the female talent across the Storm programme was evidenced in summer 2019 when 20 players earned county honours, 3 went on to represent the South East Region and 1 earned National Team honours. Chennai Mushore, who has been with the programme for the last four years throughout its transition from Crawley Cagers to Storm Basketball Club, was this summer the first female player to earn Great Britain honours as she represented the Under 16 Women at the European Championships in Bulgaria. With players of Chennai’s calibre making their way through the foundation, school and club programmes, the need for an elite female outlet is clear.

The international recognition in the HTS Storm Girls Academy does not end with the playing prowess of performers such as Chennai, with Barney Blake stepping up to lead the programme as Girls Academy Head Coach. Coach Blake has recently represented the England Talent Programme as the Under 15 Girls assistant coach, while also being named Head Coach of the South East U13 Girls squad for the 2019 Aspire Tournament. Alongside the upcoming exploits with HTS Storm, the former Great Britain Under 18 Women Assistant Coach has also recently been appointed as the South East Girls Aspire Head Coach – evidencing the calibre of coaching that our HTS Storm players will receive within the Girls Academy programme.

“One of the reasons I made the move to join HTS Storm last season was their passion for developing the female game across the club and academy, along with the massive potential and room for growth,” explains Barney Blake, HTS Storm Girls Academy Head Coach. “The number of girls we have playing across all that Storm Basketball provides is mind-blowing, and some of the talent coming through will definitely turn some heads.” Coach Blake summarised, “We hope that HTS Storm Basketball Academy can become a legitimate option for elite girls across Sussex, the South East Region and beyond – an environment where they are supported to achieve their potential on and off the court, as they further both their studies and their performance.”

The launch of the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy marks the arrival of the first female Academy Programme in the South East Region, now mirroring the boys programme in providing a highly competitive option for girls across the county and region to achieve their basketball dreams without having to move across the country.

For more information about Holy Trinity School and the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy, please email basketball@holytrinitycrawley.org.uk to register your interest for the upcoming Sixth Form Open Evening on Wednesday 16th October 2019, 6.00pm-8.00pm. Alternatively, if you are unable to attend the Open Evening, we would be more than happy to set up an individual visit at a time convenient for you. 

HTS & Train to Perform Partner for 19/20 Season

Holy Trinity School Basketball Academy is going from strength to strength, quite literally!

In September 2019, the HTS basketball programme will welcome Train to Perform – who will be conducting the strength & conditioning programmes for our academy students. Having previously worked with Surrey Scorchers in the BBL and leading on the physical profiling & fitness testing for Deng Camp UK, Train to Perform joins the programme with a pedigree in game to match the vision of high calibre delivery at HTS. 

Head Coach Daniel Hildreth said, “The support we get from the Senior Leadership Team at the school is second to none. They have the same vision as us: to create the best opportunities for our students and, in doing so, aiming to bring in the best support to do just that.” 

With the introduction of National Team coach Barney Blake this year, the ever increasing staff list just goes to show the quality and aspirations of the programme. 

Coach Hildreth continued, “We genuinely feel that we have created a programme that has the potential to compete with the elite academies up and down the country. We have a club that runs from u8 all the way up to u19 academy basketball, which means we are able to develop home grown players and give them the opportunity to play at the highest level here in Sussex. We have been successful doing this over the years, but we are always looking to improve. Bringing Train to Perform on board is a huge step for our programme, for both the school and the club, and I’m delighted that we’ll have them working with our students from September.”

Train to Perform is lead by Liam Mitchell, who has just returned from Tokyo with the Great Britain Sailing team as they prepare for their Olympic campaign next year. Liam has also spent time with the prestigious English Institute of Sport, before working with the RFU supporting the England Rugby 7s program. The ex-BBL basketball player comes with a wealth of knowledge not only in the strength & conditioning industry, but also the specific requirements of elite level basketball. Investing in new state of the art equipment will assist with this process.

Liam said, “I’m really excited to be working alongside Holy Trinity School and Storm Basketball Club. These guys have already put a fantastic programme in place for the players, and having the opportunity to be involved in this is something I know will have an even bigger impact to their success.” 

“I was born and raised in Sussex,” Liam added, “so I am really proud to be part of one of the best junior programmes in the country and will do what I can to keep supporting players from Sussex to compete at the highest level.”​

Blake Joins HTS

Barney Blake will be joining The Holy Trinity School’s Basketball Academy in January 2019.

Barney originally hails from Stafford, but has been based in Manchester for the past 18 months working for Basketball England – starting out in their Customer Service team, before moving to their Marketing team. Most recently Barney has been heavily involved in the Manchester Magic & Mystics programmes, being named Assistant Coach/Performance Analyst with the NBL Division One team, whilst also being named an Assistant Coach of the U18 and U16 Premier Girls teams. Blake is also the Head Coach of the North West Girls Aspire programme, having recently led the North West U13 Girls to a second-place finish at the 2018 Regional Development Tournament. 

In his time in the North West, Blake has also had stints with Myerscough College’s NBL & WEABL squads alongside the Lancashire Spinners WNBL Division One team, having been heavily involved in the Cardiff Met Archers programme whilst at University. In his role as a National Team Performance Analyst, Barney has worked with the England U16 Girls in 2016, GB U18 Women in 2017, England U18 Men in 2018 and with the England Senior Men’s squad in the run-up to, and throughout, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The role will predominantly consist of working with the students at the school in the ever improving programme. In line with this there will be a strong involvement with the club and the recently formed Foundation, working in the community and in the surrounding schools.​

Daniel Hildreth said, “This is a big statement from the school in hiring a 3rd coach. It shows the true dedication and commitment towards improving the programme. Barney was a natural selection, his attention to detail, passion for the game and instant rapport with the students made the decision very easy. We feel we have created very solid foundations within the school and club but understand it is vital that we continue to bring in new blood  to help the programme grow.​”

Barney said, “I am honoured to have been offered this new opportunity with The Holy Trinity School and Storm Basketball Club, and cannot wait to get going! This will be a big change for me, but it is one that I am very excited about.”

Karl Youngman added, “I’m really excited about Barney joining the school/club and bringing a wealth of experience. His passion for growth and an all encompassing programme alines with ours. I think he’s going to help push forward basketball as whole, in Crawley & Sussex”.

Hildreth Joins HTS

​The Holy Trinity School, rich in basketball history and numerous National titles, has made a huge step in the continuing development of the already outstanding programme. Over a number of years basketball has had a huge impact on the school, its students and the effect it has in the community.

With the programme developing each year it was essential to build in terms of contact time with the pupils and the quality of the programme. The school is delighted to announce the recent appointment of ex-professional and National League coach Daniel Hildreth to play an integral part of the process moving forward. 

Hildreth played many years as a professional in the UK’s top flight league alongside playing and coaching Senior National League Division One where he won many awards. Having represented England Universities, played in a BBL All-Star game and won many National titles as a player,  Daniel has recently won his 2nd Junior National Championship as a coach. Currently National League Head Coach of Sussex Storm Basketball Club, Daniel leads the U16 Premier team alongside mentoring the other coaches within the club. 

With his wealth of experience and success at both senior and junior level, and now a priority of Sixth Form involvement, the hope is to continue bringing in the very best players in the county to study alongside a fantastic basketball programme.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Hildreth, “I’ve been speaking with Karl about this for nearly 2 years now, about how we can incorporate our very successful National League programme with an educational institution.”

“What is and has always been vital to me is player development for both boys and girls, providing opportunity through a natural pathway from primary school, through to National senior basketball. The school is so supportive of the programme as it appreciates the massive benefits it has on its students. I’m just ready to get started now and see what the future brings.”

The combination of of Hildreth & Youngman now ensures that all students at Holy Trinity School will be receiving top class coaching everyday. Entering both boys and girls teams at all age groups is something that very few other schools do in the whole country, and with the addition of another top level coach – that is exactly what Trinity are now able to do.

It is an exciting time for all involved and the man behind it all, Karl Youngman, had this to say, “It feels like when LeBron joined D-Wade in Miami. This is a massive step forward for the programme, and means we can offer a lot more to all of the students. We will be looking to start a girls programme from the get go and I’m really excited to see what we can do together.”

Hildreth has already been working with some of the students as the school programme now really gets underway!