Finnish International Ville Makalainen has agreed to sign for Worthing Thunder for the upcoming 2009/10 season.
Makalainen, a 6'5" forward, comes to the BBL fresh from his country's attempt to play in Eurobasket 2009 in Poland, losing out to eventual qualifiers France, who have a number of NBA players in their ranks. Classed as a defensive specialist, which is how he got into the National Team, Ville still managed to average 11 points and 5 rebounds per game for KTP of the Finnish Korisliiga, the premier league in Finland and is heading the the UK looking to advance his game as he looks to play in the bigger leagues of continental Europe.
Thunder Operations Director Alan Sweetman-Hicks is delighted with the capture: "Getting a current Division A international to come and play for the Thunder in the BBL is a real coup – whilst known for his defensive abilities, Ville is also extremely quick offensively and strong taking the ball to the basket. I anticipate that we will be playing a somewhat different style of basketball to the other teams in the BBL this season, so it will be interesting to see how our opponents adapt. Our starting five are all very quick, intelligent players, and although lacking in BBL experience, all bar Reggie Bratton have played professionally before, some for a number of seasons. It is shaping up to be a great season!"
Thunder's final signing is 6'7" forward Sam Cricelli. Local boy Sam hails from Brighton, but comes to the Thunder having had three seasons at NCAA Division 2 college Caldwell, where he averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds a game in his sophomore season before averaging 8 and 6 in an injury affected junior season last year. A versatile athlete, Sam can play a number of positions on the floor and will be a key contributor from the bench. Sweetman-Hicks comments on Cricelli's signing:"We're always looking to give local guys a chance to play in the BBL. Sam comes to us having had a fine college career at a good school. Now fully fit again, we hope that he will develop further this year, maybe even pushing for a starting spot."
These two signings bring the Thunder squad for the coming season up to 10 players, all able to contribute every night to the cause. This is the best line up the club has ever put on the floor, with cover in all positions.
The first opportunity to see the team in action is the Thunder Cup on the 19th September, more details to follow shortly. Before then though, there is an opportunity for supporters of the club to meet new Head Coach Dave Titmuss on Wednesday 9th September at 7pm in the Shaftesbury Room, Worthing Leisure Centre. This will be followed by another of the club's popular Open Forums, where supporters can share ideas with the Club Directors.