Basketball: Uni make history with first pro women’s coach

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In what is being seen as a highly significant and progressive move for the sport, Edinburgh University have appointed a new professional coach for women’s basketball, with the title of Head of Performance Basketball.

Cameron Tucker from Indiana, USA, a history graduate from Ball State University, has a chance to create his own little bit of history as the first ever pro coach of a Scottish women’s student team.

In taking up the post, he hopes to transform the women’s game in Scotland by changing the culture, not just at the university, but also in the rest of the country.

Last season Tucker was assistant coach at Houston Baptist University in Texas, the NCAA division college where Edinburgh’s own Donnia Finnie is now doing her own ground-breaking as the first Scot to become a head coach in USA hoops.

At HBU, Tucker was the guards and wings coach and offence co-ordinator as well as the camp and clinic and academic co-ordinator.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Cameron Tucker as our new Head of Performance Basketball,” said Jim Aitken, director of the EU Centre for Sport and Exercise.

“His appointment is crucial in unlocking the undoubted potential of our women’s team, both as individuals and collectively.”

“We’ll combine Cameron’s coaching experience of top-flight college basketball with our own performance sport offering and we’re sure this will promote real improvement in club, university and Scottish basketball – it’s really exciting for all concerned.”

With no game until October 16, Tucker has been concentrating on fitness and fundamentals with training four times a week from 7am till 9am.

“I’m absolutely loving it here so far and the players are eager to learn new concepts,” said Tucker.

With Edinburgh back in the Northern Premier Division, the top division of the British Universities (BUCS) League, they will face several teams who not only embrace the semi-professional culture of the leading men’s teams in England, but are building more and more partnerships between schools, colleges and clubs to strengthen the game.

Loughborough, who have strong links with Leicester Riders, Northumbria, who have just signed a new three-year deal with Newcastle Eagles and Sheffield Hallam, who have close ties with Sheffeld Hatters (women) are three of the formidable teams in their division, while Durham have also been strong in recent seasons and Leeds Met, who are in the England women’s division two, may still be a handful.

Edinburgh men, meanwhile, opened with a runaway 106-23 win over Abertay at the Pleasance.

EDINBURGH KINGS

Edinburgh Kings have announced the signing of two new players, Wojcieai Kabat, a powerful Polish post player, and Menelaus Kololios, a Greek guard.

Both men are expected to take their places in the Kings side to face St Mirren in the Scottish League at Portobello HS tomorrow at 3pm.

It is a game that Kings cannot afford to lose, given that close rivals Falkirk Fury are still unbeaten and Kings have already dropped a game to Boroughmuir Blaze.

But, with international centre Simon Flockhart back from holiday, the home side should have a much more solid look about it.

EDINBURGH KOOL KATS

Holders Edinburgh Kool Kats, weakened by injury and non-availability, face a tough Scottish Cup first round tie against St Mirren at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre tonight at 8.15pm.

Capital rivals Polonia Phoenix, the Scottish League champions, are also likely to be understrength for their away Scottish Cup tie, but should take care of Falkirk Fury at the Mariner SC tomorrow at 1.50pm.