Manchester Giants are pleased to confirm that Lloyd Gardner will continue as Head Coach heading into the 2021-22 British Basketball League (BBL) campaign, having agreed an extension to the short-term contract that he initially signed in March.
Gardner took the helm with ten games remaining last season and made an instant impact by beating Worcester Wolves 97-90 in his first game to snap a run of six straight defeats, and 11 in the previous 12, that had seen Giants slip out of the Play-off places in the BBL Championship.
In total the team picked up four wins in the final month of the season, most notably with a startling comeback on the road at Play-off and Cup double-winners Newcastle Eagles, as Giants came from 15 points down in the fourth quarter with an 18-2 surge to win 95-91 – the only win of the year against one of the trophy-winning sides.
That sparked a run of three victories in a row, with a comprehensive 77-58 defeat of local rivals B. Braun Sheffield Sharks in the best defensive showing of the season, and a road win at Glasgow Rocks in which Giants went through the century in the second-highest scoring game of the year. That meant that the Play-off chase went all the way to the final weekend, falling just short with a narrow two-point defeat to Bristol Flyers.
“I’m extremely happy to return as the head coach of the Manchester Giants. I thought we took positive steps last year. I’m confident we can continue to move the club forward. It’s nice to be able to finally confirm I am returning and I appreciate the club for waiting for that time.” Said Lloyd Gardner
Starting afresh and able to plan for a full campaign, the exciting squad that he has assembled will convene for pre-season training this week, and builds on a returning local core of North West talent with numerous Great Britain internationals and a talented contingent of American players.
Before joining Giants, Gardner had held various roles within the GB national team set-up, including Assistant Coach for the senior men’s team and Head Coach for the u20s; experience that helped him to recruit the calibre of talent seen in this year’s squad.
In the BBL, he previously won the Molten Kevin Cadle Coach of the Month award for September/October 2019; and prior to a spell at London City Royals spent over a decade as Director of Basketball and Head Coach at Barking Abbey, setting the standard for young player development in the UK and also winning the National Basketball League Division 1 Play-offs and Coach of the Year award.
“Lloyd set the standard for young player development in the UK. The club is building for the future and having a coach who experienced players want to play for is crucial to that longer term plan.” Said, Jamie Edwards
Lloyd also added I feel that we have put together a strong group of players on paper. I’m pleased with the signings we’ve made. Credit has to go to our coaching staff for identifying and working to get a balanced roster with high character individuals and also the management for supporting and securing the players we had identified. I’m looking forward to getting back to work and can’t wait to get on the floor, this time with fans!