Hemel Storm have bolstered their squad with a double signing in an attempt to get their stuttering season back on track.
The club have successfully re-signed Bode Adeluola – their dynamic, crowd-pleasing point guard who was Hemel’s leading scorer last season – as well as completing the transfer of 6ft 7ins Australian forward Darren Best from Manchester Giants.
Both signings are expected to have an immediate impact for the club following a recent dip in results. The duo will play for Storm against Manchester Magic in the National Trophy quarter-final on Sunday in Manchester.
Jon Burnell, a club director and Storm’s associate head coach who led the recruitment process, said: “Some of our guys have been playing out of position which has not helped, but getting Bode back from Calais Basket in France and adding Darren means we now have a roster that can compete with any in the country.
“We’re a much better balanced squad now and, once Bode and Darren are fully integrated, I expect our results to improve.”
Adeluola has been an outstanding player for Storm since joining the club in 2011 when he led Hemel to promotion to Division One in his first season.
In last year’s third place finish he was the second top scorer in the division.
“It’s great to be back with my Storm family,” said Adeluola. “I can’t wait to pull on the Storm uniform again.
“Our fans have always been fantastic to me so I’m looking forward to our next home game later this month.”
Best played last season in Division Two with Killamarsh Arrows where he was voted the National League’s MVP and averaged better than 31 points a game and nine rebounds.
He was recruited by Manchester Giants of the BBL at the start of this season but found himself playing out of position.
Best plays professionally for the Australian League’s Bulleen Boomers but is also able to play in England because the Australian season runs at a different time of year.
Storm head coach Steve Darlow said: “Darren is an effective scorer, very versatile and has a high basketball IQ. He’ll fit in very well with our way of playing and we’re hopeful he’ll be a longer term prospect for the club.”
“I’m excited to be joining Hemel,” added Best. “They’re a great club and I know from speaking with players and coaches around the country that they’ve got good people there, talented players, an excellent coaching team and great fans.
“They’re ambitious to win national titles and I hope I can play a part in helping that happen.
“I did have offers from other clubs but I know I’ve made the right choice and would certainly be interested in coming back to Hemel next season also. But our goal right now is to blend as a team and turn things around.”