Derby strengthen coaching staff with double appointment


Hanson Morris 1Derby Trailblazers Head Coach Matt Shaw has wasted no time in adding to his coaching staff, as he tries to fulfil the void caused by long-standing Assistant Coach Steve Baxter’s decision to emigrate for a life of sunshine in Tenerife.

Shaw has named two new assistant coaches, both of whom will be familiar names to followers of Derby Basketball.

Bowen 2Paul Bowen has previously worked with Shaw as an Assistant Coach, while Michael Hanson-Morris joined the club last season as a Performance Analyst.

Both will become fully fledged Assistant Coaches within the Senior Men’s programme, while continuing to fulfil their previous commitments.  

“I'm delighted to have Michael Hanson-Morris back with us for another season and to be able to harness some of Paul Bowen’s vast experience,” commented Coach Shaw.

“The Performance Analysis role which Michael undertook for us last season showed he has a great understanding of the game and he produced some fantastic scouting reports and video analysis for us. I want him to build on that, as well as taking on a wider coaching role moving forward.  

“In addition, he keeps abreast of new ideas and methods and puts in a lot of time and effort into scouting our opponents each week. From a players’ perspective that’s a real bonus, as it means they know exactly what to expect from each team and their specific individuals.
“The information Michael gathers will often shape our practice sessions as we prepare for upcoming games. In addition, he will help provide valuable feedback to myself and the players during games, at practice and after reflecting on video. It's a huge plus for us to have him back for another year.

"Paul’s addition will provide a wealth of experience to our setup. He played for the Trailblazers as we progressed from division three to division one, winning league titles in all three divisions.

“He knows what it takes to win and is an energetic coach who will interact well with our young group. He will especially work with the guys on defends and help develop our post players. He will expect our current group of players to do the same kind of dirty work which he was renowned for in his playing days."

“Paul has also been in charge of the Trailblazers Ladies Academy team since its inception and that’s a role which he'll continue to develop. He also spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach on the England Men’s U17’s programme, so there’s no questioning his experience to deliver results,” Shaw said.

Speaking about his appointment, Hanson-Morris was quick to pay tribute to his predecessor:

“Firstly, I must say best of luck to Steve Baxter on his move abroad. He made my transition into the club as easy as it could have been last season. He had implemented a great system into which I was easily able to add my input efficiently. I have no doubt that some of the systems he devised will continue to be used by the club in seasons to come.

“It was a huge honour to be offered this role by Matt, but I also want to thank Matthew Harber at Leicester Riders, for a life changing three years under his guidance. He pushed me on a constant basis to get to the stage I am now at.

“However I believe the timing is right to accept a new challenge and I’m delighted this has come from the Trailblazers, who will help me to keep pushing myself. The club and their fans managed to create a special atmosphere last season and that was something which made the job such an attractive option.

“My aim now is to help Matt, Paul and the players put a product on the floor which is capable of generating a high level of engagement from our supporters once again, because we are keen to make the Clarence Wiggins Sports Hall an even tougher place for visiting teams to come to.

“Last season, Matt and I were often on the phone in the early hours of the morning planning and preparing for games and that passion and willingness to try and fine tune small detail is something which makes this such a great opportunity to grow and reach even bigger goals.

“We are now putting the finishing touches to next season’s roster together, as we strive to maintain our reputation as one of the better clubs in division one,” he said.

The Trailblazers plan to start announcing details of player recruitment over the coming weeks, ahead of the new season which gets underway on Saturday 24th September, with a trip to Loughborough Student Riders in the Pool Stage of the NBL Men’s Trophy.

Derby’s first home fixture comes seven days later, when they face Leicester Warriors in another Men’s Trophy Pool Fixture.

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