Charleene Tom, Grace Sinnott, and Yasmin Belle-Mbaye have all committed to return to Essex Rebels ahead of the club’s second season in the WBBL.
Charleene graduated from the University of Essex and will be staying on to study for her Master’s degree whilst competing for the Rebels.
The 5’9″ guard has been part of the Essex set up since her arrival at the University three years ago and had a key role in the previous success of the programme, winning Basketball England’s NBL Division 1 and will form part of a leadership group for the club.
Having learnt her trade at the highly respected Ipswich Basketball Academy, Charleene was one of several players developing at the university as they take their next step in making their way through the East talent pathway.
“Charlene is a leader, I’m very happy that she will be returning to play for us this coming season,” said Head Coach Tom Sadler. “She was part of the important core group of players last year that have helped us to establish our culture.
“She’s been on a journey with this program. Not only was it really special to see her playing at the highest level within the women’s game in this country, she proved that she can compete and contribute in this league.”
Joining her are two Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) athletes, Grace Sinnott and Yassin Belle-Mbaye, who also return from last season.
Like Charleene, Grace Sinnott also spent time at the Ipswich Basketball Academy, and also spent time at college in the States representing Colorado Christian Cougars, who she joined for their post-season tour to China in 2018
Yassin Belle-Mbaye rejoins the Rebels after having a fantastic year last year, developing her game in every aspect both on and off the court.
In 2018 she attended the England U18 Squad training and had a successful campaign representing the Bridge Academy in London. She too joined the University’s post-season tour to China following graduation from the school where she began her integration into senior basketball and preparing to compete in the WBBL with the Rebels.
The 6’0″ forward is a very strong rebounder and an athletic player who is also developing a perimeter game in that transition to professional basketball.
“Grace is talented player, with a lot of upside to her game,” commented Sadler. “She showed last season that she can play in this league. She is someone we are really focused on developing over the next two years within our performance program. She gives us depth, and I think will really help us throughout the year with her ability to come in an impact the game the way she showed last season.
“Yassin is one of our youngest players within the program. I thought she learnt a lot last season, with the minutes she earned. Again she is someone we are really focused on developing, who I think in the years to come will be able to carve out a nice role for herself in this league.
“She has a great attitude, and shows up everyday with the energy and effort that lifts everyone around her.”