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Youngblood to be Leopards player-coach
3:30pm Wednesday 27th June 2012 in Sport
BASKETBALL: Former captain Robert Youngblood will be the Leopards’ new player-coach for the Division One treble winners.
The 42-year-old steps into the hot seat at the Big Cats as they look to repeat last season’s success which saw them win the EBL Division One league, play-off and National Cup titles.
Youngblood was the original Leopards’ first captain when they joined the BBL in 1994, leading them to a BBL League and National Cup double in 1997 before they repeated their league success in 1998.
He left the club in November 1999, and went on to play in Germany before returning to England to play for London Towers, MK Lions (two spells) and Leicester Riders. He started last season with the Riders, playing against Leopards in the BBL Trophy, before seeing out the season with the Lions.
Leopards chairman Fred Dicker is delighted with the Big Cats new signing. He said: “It’s great to have Robert back with us the club’s first ever player-coach.
“He was our first choice for the job, and he will bring a wealth of experience to our team.
“It will be fantastic to see Robert back on the court for the team where he started his professional career, and we are sure he will make a success of his first coaching job.”
Youngblood said: “I was a Leopard as captain for five years, winning three championships, and I’m very happy to being going back to my old stamping ground for my first coaching job.
“I always intended to go into coaching when I finished playing, and I’m sure that I won’t be a disappointment.
“You will see a team that will play hard and passionately. We’ll be together as a team and play tough defence.
“When you come up against the Leopards you’ll know you have a tough game on your hands.”
Youngblood, who also works as head coach at the Harris Basketball Academy in Beckenham, has now started the job of recruiting a team to defend their three titles, and announcements of signings are expected in the next few weeks.