Wolves Director chooses coach
By Trevor Owens, BBC H&W Sports Editor
Mick Donovan is pleased with his new player-coach signing, Skouson Harker...
After weeks of searching across both sides of the Atlantic, the Worcester Wolves basketball club have finally appointed Skouson Harker as their new Player-Coach.
The 30-year old Canadian joins the Wolves knowing that he doesn't have much time in which to assemble a competitive BBL squad for the coming season, but the Wolves management team is confident that they have the right man for the job.
Minutes after the new Player-Coach had put pen to paper on his contract, the Wolves' Director of Basketball, Mick Donovan told BBC Hereford and Worcester they were delighted to have brought in a man with such a broad base of experience:
"We're really excited about it; he's just flown in for a 24-hour meeting - it's a long way to come and it just shows how serious we are about securing the signing.
"He's played at the highest level in the States; he's also coached at a very high level.
"He's got experience in the British Basketball League so, for us, it's a massive signing."
It is a big season for the Wolves; their debut campaign in the BBL saw them win only four games from 36 and club officials know that they are going to have to radically improve on that if they are to retain their credibility at this level.
Mick Donovan readily acknowledges this, but he points out that there won't be too many of last season's squad remaining, so there will be no hangover from the disappointments of last season:
"We're starting with a clean slate next year; we've released more or less all of the team now; one or two we'll take a look at when Skouson takes his first training session.
"He's also got a reputation of being able to attract players who want to come and play for him, and that's obviously a big thing for us.
"In the BBL, we found that we need players from a higher level, and he's got the links with the coaches and the players, and that's a massive bonus for us.
Skousan Harker, new Worcester Wolves player-coach
"He can play anywhere from the two-man to the five-man and, for a 6'8" guy, he gets around the court pretty quickly, so that's going to help us as well."
In terms of recruitment, time will be of the essence; the new BBL season starts in the third week of September, and the Wolves have to build a squad from scratch, and go through a pre-season between now and then.
It is clearly a daunting prospect, but Mick Donovan told BBC Hereford and Worcester that Skouson Harker was into his work almost as soon as he had cleared immigration:
"As we were driving back from the airport today, we were chatting about various players that he can get.
"Obviously, we've got a budget, and we've got to stay within that, so we're not in a situation where we've got an open cheque book; we're still one of the smallest clubs within the league.
"That's obviously a factor, so he's got to work even harder to find the right players on the budget that we have.
"We have increased the budget from recent years because we're not daft and we know that we have got to get some people in who will need some financial reward, but in the next two weeks, we'll certainly be making our first signing and then they're going to come thick and fast."
As soon as we have news on those new signings at the Worcester Wolves, then BBC Hereford and Worcester will bring you all the details, both on air and online.
last updated: 16/07/07