Head coaches named to England senior teams
England Basketball is pleased to announce the appointment of head coaches for England senior national teams for men and women.
Paul James has been appointed as head coach of England’s senior men and Vanessa Ellis is the selection for the senior women.
The re-emergence of England senior teams is primarily as a result of basketball not being included in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Bangalore, India. Recognising the popularity of basketball throughout the Commonwealth, the world governing body (FIBA) is staging tournaments in August 2010 (senior men) and 2012 (senior women).
These tournaments, named the FIBA Commonwealth Championships, are part of FIBA's efforts to maintain the case for basketball competitions for Commonwealth countries. Seven countries have already qualified for this year's eight team men's championship: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, Nigeria, Malaysia and India. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are major basketball nations and have also qualified for this year's FIBA World Championship, so the opportunities for England are significant.
The England national team programmes will also give opportunities for new and emerging English players to compete at international level, providing them with a potential stepping stone into the Great Britain senior squads.
Warwick Cann, Performance Pathways Coordinator for British Basketball and England Basketball, said:
"The Great Britain and England programmes will work closely together to ensure British players, particularly emerging senior players, will gain from the chance to play at the FIBA Commonwealth Championships.
"It's a great opportunity to further the development of British Basketball."
Paul James was hired in December 2009 as the Worcester Wolves head coach, and has a distinguished background as both a player and coach in the domestic national leagues dating back to 1981, when as a 17 year old he played his first game in Leicester.
His playing career covered two decades until in 1997 he was appointed head coach of the Bracknell Tigers, the team he played with for the previous nine years.
He remained coaching the Tigers until the franchise was pulled from the British Basketball League (2005) and replaced by the Guildford Heat. The accolades continued to roll in for James with Guildford as he guided the team to various BBL titles over several seasons as well as being named Coach of the Year in 2006-07.
On the international scene, Paul James represented England as a player (22 caps) and was also the English Under 20 head coach (2001) and Under 18 assistant coach (2005).
Vanessa Ellis has one of the most extensive basketball backgrounds in England, male or female, with a career that began in 1976 with the Sheffield Hatters, Great Britain's most successful national league basketball team.
Ellis played with the Hatters for nearly 30 years and through the 1990's the Sheffield club won 27 of the possible 30 league titles up for grabs. She succeeded her mother, Betty Codona, as Hatters head coach in 2008 and went onto win the National Cup, League and Playoff titles in her first season as lead role.
Ellis' international career as a player and coach spans three decades beginning in 1985, when she represented Great Britain at the World Student Games in Japan.
Two years later she again played with the World Student Games team and in 1989 joined England's senior women. In 11 years with the national team, she made nearly 60 playing appearances and captained England from 1994-2000.
Her international coaching career begin in 2000 when she retired as a player and took the role of England senior women assistant coach, a position she held until 2005. In 2006 she was appointed head coach of Great Britain's Under 20 Women and two years later was named assistant coach to the British senior squad – a position she holds to date.