Manchester Giants have completed one of the club’s biggest signings since returning to the British Basketball League (BBL) in 2012, with the announcement that 7ft centre Aaron Geramipoor joins the team for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.

The 28 year-old was born in Stockport and is a product of the Manchester Magic junior programme, returning to play in his hometown for the first time in over a decade during a globe-trotting career.

Geramipoor represents the Iranian national team, most prominently during a breakout World Cup 2019 campaign in which he averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds, shooting 70%, across five games against opponents such as Spain – the number two ranked nation that went on to win the World Cup – as well as Puerto Rico, Tunisia and Angola.

In preparation for the World Cup, he matched up against international sides such as Hungary, Russia and Greece, where he played against NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He played in Iran’s most recent fixtures in November, averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds against Syria and Saudi Arabia, and joins Giants with an eye on the Tokyo Olympics, where Iran have been drawn in the same group as the USA.

After leaving Manchester for the Gran Canarias Basketball Academy in 2009, Geramipoor progressed to NCAA Division 1 Seton Hall in the formidable Big East Conference, where he had a 50% winning record across four years and reached the Conference Tournament semi-finals as a senior. He averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes per game for the Pirates in 2013-14, with a personal best performance of 8 points and 6 rebounds against St. John’s.

Professionally, Geramipoor started in Spain, returning to Gran Canarias after college to average 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, before moving to CB Ourense where he was an LEB Gold Play-off winner in 2014-15. He has also played in Iran (16 points and 6 rebounds per outing), Croatia (9 points and 4 rebounds), and Mexico (9 points and 5 rebounds), where he was a regular season champion and Play-off runner-up on the same Soles team as Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

Most recently, he featured for the same Argentinian powerhouse, San Lorenzo, from which Justin Satchell joined Giants.

Head Coach Danny Byrne said, “The level of competition that Aaron has faced throughout his career – from one of the toughest college conferences to the World Cup – is formidable, and he brings a great deal of experience to us for what will be his first campaign in the BBL.

“He has trained with us at various points during the season, and obviously already knows some of the local guys, so he fits straight into the team which is important as team chemistry and togetherness will be vital in the second half of this season.

“Likewise, Aaron messaged me after watching Justin Satchell play and remarked that he thought they’d play really well together, so we can look forward to seeing how that potent frontcourt gels; along with David Ulph who has been massive for us, and particularly so since we have been down a big guy for the last 10 games.

“As we’ve said all along, the club’s aim is to blend the best local talent with the best international talent that we can acquire – with Aaron, we have both in one player.

“This is a huge signing for the club, and my only disappointment is that he won’t get to play in front of his hometown fans, family and friends this season.”