All members of the Oaklands Basketball Academy program will step onto the court this year in the WBBL for Oaklands Wolves.
The move to create a complete synergy between Oaklands WEABL Academy and the WBBL this season will give the athletes the best opportunity at the very highest level.
In the backdrop of what was the most difficult 18 months for youth sports on record, and society in general, Oaklands are determined to use its standing to provide a genuine pathway for elite talent in the UK.
“I have been through this program and recognise first hand how important it is for young aspiring players to be tested at the highest level,” said Head Coach Lauren Milligan.
“We recognise the great work being done by programs up and down the country to engage youth in our sport and want to work together to see a sustained pathway from junior clubs to the professional game in the UK. It’s a great opportunity and challenge for our academy players this season.
“They will be supported by all staff and senior players with the single goal in mind; to help them all realise their potential. I can’t wait to see them excel.”
Oaklands Wolves squad will be led by returning National Teams duo Jocie Leavold and Daisy Porter; the pair played a key role in Wolves outfit last year and will take on leadership roles this season across the new program.
“I’m really excited for this season, it’s a great opportunity for me to develop my leadership skills in the WBBL,” said GB International forward Leavold. “I want to personally increase my production this season and demonstrate my improving skill set.”
Welsh International guard Porter added, “We are all looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity Oaklands has provided. It will need to be a fast learning curve, but we will show we can compete whilst continuing to develop our games.”
Academy WBBL Squad:
Jocie Leavold (forward, Oaklands Wolves)
Daisy Porter (Guard, Oaklands Wolves)
Eva Karasaite (Forward, Luton Basketball Club)
Kizzy Spence-Mussington (Guard, Manchester Mystics)
Eleanor Solis (Forward, Oaklands Wolves)
Alice McKenzie (Guard, Glasgow Fever)
Rosie Porter (Guard, Oaklands Wolves)
Cleo-Lewis Gayle (Forward, Mersey Mavericks)
Ufuoma Urhioke (Forward, Newham Youngbloods)
Tamara Smith-White (Forward, Oaklands Wolves)
Miriam Carrasco-Menendez (Guard, Oaklands Wolves/Luton)
Oaklands Wolves are known for giving youth the opportunity at the highest level; the Hertfordshire based academy was created with the ideals of providing a platform for National Teams youth, something Head of Performance Lee Ryan wants to see progress even further.
“The improvements in the WBBL over the past five years have been outstanding,” said Ryan. “Teams are raising standards on and off the court rapidly and we have a professional league that can inspire the nation. When you add to that a return to European competition by London Lions, it’s a great time to get behind women’s basketball.
“These improvements today cannot be without an eye on the future – which is why Oaklands is dedicating its program to future generations.
“We have seen a similar model with Caledonia and what they have achieved for Scottish Basketball, Oaklands wants to do even more across the UK and by increasing the player pool we can benefit the WBBL and GB basketball for years to come.
“We are determined to provide a platform for those next WBBL stars to realise their potential and take the women’s game to new heights.”