In the build up to Christmas 2018 Bucks Hornets put together a select group of U18 players (2001 born) to participate in the 14th International Junior Tournament, Arroyo De La Encomienda, Spain. The tournament featured some of the top Junior teams in Spain, Estudiantes, Valencia and Valladlolid all linked to professional clubs, as well as Grand Dax Basket from France.
This was the first time that any English team had competed in the tournament so we were determined to represent well. The squad selected by Hornets Head Coach Lee McCarthy consisted of current and former Hornets players as well as a few players who were talent spotted at the Hakeem Olajuwon Summer Camp 2018.
Day 1: Hornets got off to a great start with two wins from two versus locals CB La Flecha and Agustinos Eras respectively to be tied at the top of Group B with Valencia still to play
Day 2: Hornets faced Valencia Basket in the Group B decider but unfortunately came up short and finished runners up in the group. This meant Valladolid and Valencia played for 1st/2nd and for Hornets a 3rd/4th place playoff game followed versus Grand Dax Basket from France. A very well contested game throughout saw Hornets ultimately finish in 4th place with an agonising 1pt defeat to the French side
Considering the squad only had 3 practices in the build up to the tournament and never had a full squad at a practice the 4th place finish from 8 well established teams was a fair result.
The tournament provided great exposure for our boys, playing in front of professional coaches and scouts. For many this was also their first opportunity to play basketball at a high level in Europe and Hornets are proud to be able to help young up and coming talent get such opportunities.
If you would like to gain some exposure playing in Europe and are interested to play in the Tournament for 2019 then do not hesitate to get in touch.
From the left:
Lee McCarthy (HC), Joslyn Mcleod (Hornets/Itchen), Brad West (Hornets/Combine USA), Josh Last (BHASVIC), Nic Nicolaou (Hornets), Juan Kunakah (Hornets/Myerscough), Tife Fagbenle (Barnet), Luke Parry (Hornets), Reece Price-Harrison (HCACP), Robbie Long (Hornets), Ben Geddes (AC), Byron Emerenini (Uxbridge)