Manchester Giants have announced that British big man David Ulph will return to the club for the 2020-21 British Basketball League (BBL) campaign.
The 6’7″ 27-year-old joined Giants part-way through last season and was quick to establish himself, averaging eight points and eight rebounds in 12 games, making him the sixth biggest rebounder in the BBL, and third best rebounding Brit. He had four double-figure scoring games, and four with double-figure rebounding.
Ulph shot 57% from the floor, also adding two assists, one steal and one block per outing, with a season-best double-double of 18 points – on 8-9 shooting – and 13 rebounds against Surrey Scorchers on New Year’s Day.
The north-west basketball stalwart joined – along with Jack Hudson – from Liverpool Basketball Club, where he had been averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game in National Basketball League (NBL) Division 1. The previous year, as Liverpool were promoted from Division 2, he led their scoring and rebounding with 19 points and 11 boards, scoring 15 as they won the D2 Play-off Final at the Giants’ new home at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Belle Vue.
The shortened season back in the big time was a great learning experience for Ulph, who has used the break to bulk up physically, at coach Byrne’s urging.
David Ulph said: “I’m really excited to get this opportunity to return and play for the Manchester Giants, there is a feeling of unfinished business as far as I’m concerned, we didn’t get the results that the fans deserved so this season we’re going to go all out to give show them performances that they can be proud of.
I was pleased by my performances last year, but the work I’ve done over the summer will hopefully be reflected in better numbers this time around.”
Head Coach Danny Byrne said: “I was so impressed with David’s seamless transition into the BBL last season, and he showed that he is one of the best rebounders in the country – you could put him at any level of basketball and I think he’d get the same number of rebounds, because he is one of these rare instinctive rebounders.
“He does exactly what we like our bigs to do, in that he is a rim-runner, extremely active on the offensive glass, and scores the ball efficiently. He adds further variety to our frontcourt, alongside an old school post player like Breaon Brady and a dynamic stretch four like Lyle Hexom.
“Along with Jack Hudson, I said at the time we recruited them last year that I’d wanted them here for a long time, and see them as the future core of local talent at the club. They have played together for years and the chemistry between Jack and David was an offensive spark for us last season, and I’m confident that will continue.”