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By londonthunder, Jun 16 2018 01:29PM

Thunder have the opportunity to be involved in this footwear testing event on July 14th. Join us for an afternoon or evening of summer league basketball, and get to be the first to try out prototype shoes. Lots of prizes on offer. Email Coach Steve Bucknall now to sign up. Places are limited so be quick!!

By londonthunder, Apr 16 2018 08:53PM

Nikki Sealy was determined to find a place for her son Tyler —( a Thunder player since the club was started) — to continue playing basketball. She knew he had the skills to follow his dream of playing at the next level; he just needed to find the right place to develop. Following a scholarship offer from an academy in Atlanta she decided to research this option thoroughly, so took to the internet to find the perfect fit.


This led her to Mike Pannagio, who with his brother Dan a former NBA and NCAA basketball coach cofounded the DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Following several telephone conversations and a visit to the facility “Tyler decided that he would attend our academy,” Panaggio recalled. “And that led to her discussing what she was involved with, which is London Thunder here. And one thing led to another and we decided we would collaborate and organise a camp.”


This began a relationship between Thunder and DME that has now stretched into its second year. Last week, Panaggio and Momir Gajic, the executive director of sales and marketing, visited the Thunderdome for their second annual basketball clinic.


The clinic offers an opportunity for DME to evaluate potential prospects for their program. More than that, Panaggio and Gajic hope that they can provide an all-encompassing basketball development experience to the players in attendance.

“Every year we see several candidates that would be a great fit for DME academy,” Gajic said. “But that's not our sole reason why we are doing these showcases. We truly do want to educate these athletes about the USA basketball system and academic system. We want to educate them what further steps to take in order to research and find the best possible universities and high schools in the United States.”


The clinic itself consists of on-court drills and scrimmages as well as discussion sections in the classroom. From the newest players to the most experienced, the three-day clinic emphases learning and improvement. The clinic culminates in a series of scrimmages that allow the coaches to evaluate talent and give constructive feedback.


“As a player that started eight months back, I'd say I learned a lot and they kind of run it down for me so I can understand it clearly,” Thunder player and clinic participant Harry McCarthy said.


Thunder Coach Ros Mason helped oversee the players and facilitate the training. Mason played college basketball in the United States and said the clinic felt like stepping back into her daily routine from her university days.


“Having that exposure again, it made me realize how important it is to teach the fundamentals,” she said. “I think for the boys, having that experience is excellent preparation for them to get to high school or university, so they’re getting that firsthand from NCAA coaches and NBA coaches.”


An additional advantage for participants is access to the DME super session. DME sponsors ten spots for high performing players from the clinic to come to their Florida campus in August. There, they get to compete against players from DME clinics around the US and the world.


This is part of DME’s emphasis. They hope to build players with a pedigree to play anywhere.


But according to former Thunder player and DME graduate Josh Edwards, just because you make it to the next level doesn’t mean you forget where you came from. Thunder players who have attended DME hope to use the lessons they learned to build the club.


“Now that I have this experience from being at DME, I can also try and help these kids during the summer,” he said. “Me, Tyler (Sealy) and some other guys who are coming back from all over the world, we are just trying to get everyone to do the same thing DME is doing. Just trying to get everyone to a high level so they can go overseas as well.”


The relationships extend beyond Thunder too, as DME hopes to reach players all over England. In addition to players from other clubs joining the clinic at the Thunderdome, DME also ran their first camp in Leicester this year. DME’s goal is to elevate the level of basketball across the country and provide an avenue for these players to reach the States.


Even with the ambitious goals of the program, neither the players nor coaches forgot about the key component of gathering together. What started with an internet search has turned into an opportunity for people from across the world to gather and play the game of basketball together.


“As a community of people that love basketball, we all got closer,” McCarthy said. “We've all gotten closer and that's just a beautiful thing.”


By londonthunder, Apr 9 2018 02:35PM

If you know basketball, you know that springtime is playoff season. And at London Thunder, that means every year at this time the club is gearing up for a run to the Final Fours. This season, for the first time in club history, Thunder has three teams competing in the postseason.


The players and coaches are excited to begin.


“In the playoffs, the teams get better,” Thunder U18 player Mohamed Fofanah said. “The plays, everything is quicker, everything is better. There's definitely more excitement, there's definitely more nervousness. All of it. There's definitely more in the playoffs. It's nothing like the regular season.”


The players on the boys U14, U16 and U18 teams were eager — and a little nervous — as they prepared at the Thunderdome last week. After a successful regular season, they know that the competition is greater and the stakes are higher.


“I get more excited because you get to play against better teams from the different leagues,” U14 player Zion Dapaah said. “It's very exciting.”


Along with the excitement comes added pressure. But for players who have been trained all season under London Thunder coaches, they are mostly just ready to get out on the court.


U18s player Michael Adebayo has been feeling the nerves that come before big games, but says that they won’t last.


“I feel that when we start playing, (the nervousness) goes away,” Adebayo said. “We've come here to play. You can’t really get too worried about the crowd or be scared of what other people might think of us on the court.”


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Over the course of the season, the teams have learned the strengths — and some weaknesses — that they will focus on in practices to prepare to advance as far as possible.


Before they can address the specifics, however, head coach Steve Bucknall has a message to all players: one of the most important steps is to be at every practice.


“I think it is important getting all the players, and I mean all the players, who are competing for a spot down to training, working with each other and preparing themselves for that playoff run,” Bucknall said.


Some of the players have heard this message from the coaches and taken it to heart. U18 player Joshua Ayodele Adeniyi emphasized the importance of being at practice and being sharp.


“(The coaches’) main focus is to get everyone at training, and have the right mindset when we are training so that when it comes to playoffs everyone will be focused and we will be able to perform to the best of our ability,” Adeniyi said.


When it comes to game time, Bucknall acknowledges that playoff games carry a little more weight. While the club has regularly advanced teams to the Final Fours, to win a championship the players have to sustain their highest level of intensity for a long stretch of time. All of the coaches have been emphasizing the need for players to step it up for every game.


“Just stay alert and stay at your level, that’s what they’ve been saying.” Fofanah said.

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Years of success have given those at London Thunder a right to have confidence going into the postseason.


“We are hoping to win it all, to be honest,” U18 player Kenny Godwin said. “We feel like we’ve got a lot of good pieces, everybody does their role and we feel like it’s a realistic goal.”


Coach Peter Lang emphasized that the experience surrounding the playoffs can be a unique and exciting one for players. For those that are in their first playoffs, he hopes that they can shake off the fear factor and enjoy the experience.


“My expectation for the team is we hopefully can play the full bench, we have a good time, and we come out with a pink slip,” Lang said.


The path to the playoffs is a long one, and while the coaches want the players to appreciate the experience, they also don’t want them to forget what it took to get there.


Though some of the players are new to the program, many have been with the club for years. The coaches hope that no matter how long a player is with the program, they consistently develop their game.


“I think it’s more of a longer journey,” Bucknall said. “We didn’t know what the expectations were at the beginning of the seasons. We just wanted to be the best teams that we could put on the floor and compete. And I think we've done that this year. Consistently over the last how many years, seven or eight years, we’ve been consistent with that.”


While the club puts emphasis on winning the games, the process and progress involved are even more important. And in that process, the players build the bonds they need to play as a team. Between teammates and even beyond individual teams, everyone at London Thunder builds relationships and benefits from the pursuit of excellence.


“Across all teams (at Thunder), there is a bond,” Godwin said. “Everyone is close to each other. No one hates each other; it’s like a family. I've noticed that across all teams from as young as under-12s all the way to under-18s. Across all London Thunder teams, it’s all one family.”


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Thank you to coaches Fernando Angulo, Nestor Diaz, Peter Lang and Steve Bucknall

As well as players TJ Hibbert, Kenny Godwin, Michael Adebayo, Joshua Ayodele Adeniyi, Mohamad Fofanah, Jonathan Mbanefo, Sofiane Dehiles and Zion Dapaah for their contributions for this story.


By londonthunder, Mar 28 2018 01:50PM


Congratulations to U14s Boys Thunder Players Miles Alcindor and Jamal Bremmer on being selected to attend England U15 training camps on the 15th April and 20th May.


The U15 Boys will be divided into two groups and attend sessions in Manchester (North West) and Wokingham (South).


U15 Boys Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces said: "I think that it´s great to mix the RPC platform with this U15 National Camps. We will be able to have more contact in the last part of the season with all players that we have been following, and some of them they don´t even know. I have to thank you all coaches that have been in contact with me in the last months and weeks, and I hope all kids enjoy this experience. I´m really positive about the work we are doing; and really looking forward for these camps, as the next step in their national teams, most of them for the first time."

By londonthunder, Mar 14 2018 01:05PM

We are all very proud of what we've achieved at London Thunder over the last 10 years. A lot of people have put in a great deal of hard work, and it's continuously worth it. This lovely film captures the essence of the club brilliantly. Thank you to all at Sports on Screen and of course our own Coach Steve Bucknall who has inspired so many young people to follow their dreams.


Check out this video featuring London Thunder coaching director Steve Bucknall and London Thunder players!



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