Crusaders England call ups as Sazant gets national role

Medway Park Crusaders chairman Jesse Sazant has been appointed as the head coach of the England U15 National Basketball Development Squad.Picture of Medway Park Crusaders Chairman Jesse Sazant

Three Medway Park Crusaders players have also been named in the initial England U16 squad. Liam Carpenter, Dave Couchman and Tyler Russell have all been selected for a training camp in Bristol over October half-term.

The Crusaders are one of only two clubs to place three or more players in the national U16 squad.

Sazant has been chairman of Crusaders for the last four years, having previously coached both the men’s and junior teams. He is also the head coach of the Crusaders academy at The Canterbury High School, where he works with elite players from the club on a daily basis.

Sazant is obviously pleased to be given the opportunity. He said: "I've been involved with the U16 national team on a few occasions as an assistant, so to get an opportunity to be head coach of a national team is a proud moment for me. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of helping to develop some of our young stars."

The role will involve a series of training camps over the year, culminating in a couple of international tournaments. The main aim is to prepare and develop players to move into the U16 squad which will compete at the European Championships.

Sazant has previously been an assistant coach with the England U16s, including Crusaders’ former star Ryan Richards, who has since gone on to be drafted in the NBA. 

Prior to moving to England, he coached at Canada’s top basketball university, Carleton University, and various elite club and regional teams in Canada. Since moving here 11 years ago, he has played a key role in developing Crusaders into a nationally recognised club for developing players.

Sazant, who is now a dual citizen, lives in the Canterbury area with wife and two young children.

The three youngsters called up for the training camp are making their first step in the process of preparing for the 2012 European Championships.  It is the first time the England U16s will be competing in the A division of the European Championships having gained promotion this past summer.

Carpenter is a 6’1 guard from Rochester. Couchman, a 6’7 centre, and Russell, a 5’10 point guard; both come from Folkestone. They have all been with the Crusaders for four years.

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