Star centre Leigh Greenan has signed a professional contract with NBL Division One side Hemel Storm, Ipswich Basketball Club has today announced. The seven-footer averaged twenty points, twelve rebounds and three blocked shots for Ipswich in Division Two last season, leading the team to fourth place in the league and the play-off semi-finals.
Greenan has been with Ipswich since 2005, when his national league career started with the club as an under-16. He went on to play under-18s and senior level for the club while also attending Barking Abbey Sixth Form (before the days of Ipswich Basketball Academy). Leigh has also had stints playing in Division One with Essex Leopards and a season at the professional level in France with St Dizier.
“I am really excited and can’t wait to get started with Hemel,” said Greenan. “That being said, Ipswich will always be my basketball home and it has always been and always will be a very special place for me. I can’t thank everyone at Ipswich enough for all of their support over the past twelve years.”
Greenan did not close the door on the possibility of a return in the future.
“Ipswich is a great club with great people. I want to challenge myself at the highest level possible and give myself a chance to be in the mix with the Commonwealth Games in the near future, this move gives me a great platform for that.
“But one day, who knows – I could be back, I love it here.”
Ipswich Head Coach, and Leigh’s coach for the past twelve years, Nick Drane, had this to say about the move: “I’m very proud of Leigh, both as a player and as a person. In both senses, he is irreplaceable. He’s one of, if not the best player to come out of this club and has certainly been an absolute monster for the team over the past six season’s with the men’s team.
“However, we like all of our players to spread their wings and Leigh is still young enough to have a real shot at playing senior international basketball – who would want to stand in the way of that”.
Drane added “Leigh has been as big of a part of the Ipswich Basketball family as anyone for more than a decade and although he will be wearing a different uniform next season, nothing will change – he will continue to be part of our club and a great role model for our young players.”
With Head Coach Nick Drane stepping down from the senior team at the end of last season and now the team’s Most Valuable Player moving on, there will be a very different feel to the Ipswich senior team next season.
Newly appointed Coach John Ellis added: “We all wish Leigh every success with his new team. I know how ambitious he is to further himself and hopefully he finds the opportunity he is seeking.
“I’m up for the challenge. We still have a very talented group of players and while Leigh leaves a huge gap, this opens up the opportunity for guys to step up and take the team in a new direction.”
With no Drane or Greenan next season, Ipswich Basketball Club’s men’s team starts a new era. While daunting, it’s a very exciting time for the club.