Manchester Giants

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This article is about the modern day Manchester Giants. For the original team, see Manchester Giants (1975–2001).
Manchester Giants
Manchester Giants logo
League British Basketball League
Established 2011
History Manchester Giants
Arena Trafford Poweleague Arena
(Capacity: 1,100)
Location Manchester,
Greater Manchester
Team colours Dark Green, Indigo and White
Main sponsor Parrs Wood
Head coach United Kingdom Yorick Williams
Ownership United Kingdom Steve Mansfield
Kit body.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours
Kit body.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours

Manchester Giants are a British professional basketball team, based in Manchester, England. The franchise was established in 2011, and admitted to the top-tier British Basketball League in 2012.[1] The team's formation was led by Jeff Jones, a former player and coach of the previous team of the same name that folded in 2001 due to financial difficulties.[2] As of 2014, the team play their home games at the 1,100-seat Trafford Powerleague Arena in the Trafford area of Greater Manchester.


Plans for a new Manchester-based British Basketball League franchise were first reported in spring 2011, initially with the city's English Basketball League outfit, Manchester Magic (headed by former NBA star John Amaechi), mooted as a possible candidate.[3] However, after no formal bid was made, Magic's head coach Jeff Jones (a former player and coach of the Manchester Giants franchise that folded in 2001) put together a consortium to start a new professional basketball franchise and revive the Giants brand.[4] A formal application to join the top-tier British Basketball League was made in January 2012,[5] which was accepted and officially announced on 19 June, joining fellow new franchise East London Royals for the 2012–13 season.[6][7] It was also announced that the new team would use the 900-seat capacity [8] Wright Robinson College 'M18 Leisure' facility, in Gorton, as its venue for home fixtures,[9] with a long-term plan to move to a 2,500-seat purpose-built venue as part of the redevelopment of the city's Eastlands area.[10]

On 17 July, it was revealed via a link posted on Giants' Twitter account regarding team merchandise that the team would be wearing a purple, white and green themed kit, manufactured by Irish-based sportswear brand O'Neill's.[11] On 19 August, media reports confirmed that the first player to sign for the new-look Giants was Nottinghamshire-born Forward David Watts, who had previously played for Worcester Wolves.[12] More signings were later unveiled with Manchester-born players Nathan Schall and Stefan Gill (formerly of Cheshire Jets and Milton Keynes Lions respectively) joining ex-Mersey Tigers star David Aliu and brothers Callum and James Jones (both son's of Giants coach Jeff Jones) in the line-up, whilst Great Britain international Nick George was rumoured to be a transfer target.[13] Former Giants star Mike Bernard was also confirmed as a new recruit along with young prospect Devan Bailey, just days before the start of the new campaign.[14]

Wright Robinson College arena

The new-look Giants played their first competitive game against London Lions on 21 September 2012, at their home venue at Wright Robinson College. A sell-out crowd witnessed a tight one-point victory in favour of the Giants, winning 85–84, with James Jones posting 29 points for the home team.[15] The following week, a convincing 99–87 victory at home to Sheffield Sharks meant Giants had opened the season with a 100% record, however their form soon dipped as the new team recorded only one win in the subsequent 12 games. Former Great Britain Under 23 international Ben Eaves was signed at the end of October in a bid to improve Giants' fledging squad, whilst a deal to sign long-term target Nick George was eventually agreed in December. The team's form gradually started to improve throughout the winter with victories against Durham Wildcats, local rivals Cheshire Phoenix and Mersey Tigers, as well as back-to-back home wins over title-chasing Surrey Heat in January and February 2013. It was announced on 19 February that Nick George had departed the club after making only six appearances. Giants continued with their resurgent form in a bid for a top-eight finish and a place in the end-of-season Play-offs, taking it down to the penultimate game of the regular season.[16] However an 85–87 home defeat to fellow Play-off chasers London Lions – despite a heroic comeback from the Giants who were down 19 points at the start of the fourth quarter[17] – saw Lions take eighth-place and the final Play-off spot, consigning Giants to a ninth-place finish in their rookie season.

Throughout the 2013 off-season the club announced several new partnerships and projects in the Manchester area, including the launch of a basketball academy with The Manchester College[18] and a development partnership with Stockport Falcons basketball club.[19] The team continued its policy of signing locally-produced players with the unveiling of Keith Page as the teams first new signing for the 2013–14 season, replacing Devan Bailey.[20] The roster was also bolstered with the signing of veteran Yorick Williams, a stalwart of the previous Giants franchise,[21] as well as Robert Marsden from Leeds Carnegie, Spanish forward Iker Amutxastegui and French swingman Papis Sambe. Nigeria international Jayson Obazuaye was also brought in by Coach Jones, but his transfer fell through due to the club not receiving international clearance for the player.[22] The team improved on their rookie season performance with a 14-19 record during regular season and qualified for the post-season Play-offs for the first time. The seventh-seeded Giants were drawn in a two-game series against the second-seed Sheffield Sharks in the Quarter-finals. The first game saw the Giants edged out by the Sharks, 60–63 at the Wright Robinson College arena, whilst the second game in Sheffield finished in a rare stalemate between the two rivals, ending 78–78. Due to Sharks' three point advantage in the first leg, they advanced from the series with an aggregate score of 141–138. There was some success for the team however, as three Giants players were recognised in the BBL's End of Season awards honours, with David Aliu, James Jones and rookie Robert Marsden all selected as part of the Molten British Team of the Year.[23]

The Giants management announced in June 2014 that the team would be leaving Wright Robinson College and switching to a new home venue, the 1,100-seat Trafford Powerleague Arena, for the start of the 2014–15 season.[24]


Home arenas[edit]

Wright Robinson College (2012–2014)
Trafford Powerleague Arena (2014–present)

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season Division Tier Regular Season Post-Season Trophy Cup Head Coach
Finish Played Wins Losses Points Win %
Manchester Giants
2012–2013 BBL I 9th 33 12 21 24 0.364 Did Not Qualify 1st Round (BT) 1st Round (BC) Jeff Jones
2013–2014 BBL I 7th 33 14 19 28 0.424 Lost in Quarter-finals to Sheffield Sharks Quarter-finals (BT) 1st Round (BC) Jeff Jones
2014–2015 BBL I - - - - - - - - (BT) - (BC) Jeff Jones


Current roster[edit]

Manchester Giants roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht.
G 4 United Kingdom Bwana, Chris 70001854200000000006 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
G 5 United Kingdom Purcell, Anthony 70001854200000000006 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
G 6 United Kingdom Gill, Stefan 70002006599999999996 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
G/F 8 Latvia Bankevics, Ingus 70001955800000000006 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
F 9 United Kingdom Murtagh, Connor 70001955800000000006 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
F 10 United Kingdom Watts, David 70002032000000000006 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
G 11 United Kingdom Jones, Callum 70001930400000000006 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
F 12 United Kingdom Lewis, Ryan 70002006599999999996 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
C 15 United Kingdom Bernard, Mike 70002032000000000006 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
F 20 United Kingdom Simmonds, Shomari
F 21 United Kingdom Eaves, Ben 70002006599999999996 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
F Republic of Ireland United States Grimes, Devin 70001981200000000006 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 1st February 2015

Notable former players[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Manchester Giants and East London Royals join BBL". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  2. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants striding back for second coming". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  3. ^ "Manchester Magic consider move to BBL". Manchester Evening News. 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  4. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants press on with BBL plans". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  5. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants submit application to join BBL". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  6. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants confirm return to BBL". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  7. ^ "Manchester Giants and East London Royals join BBL". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants confirm return to BBL". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  10. ^ Anthony Jepson (2011). "Manchester Giants striding back for second coming". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  11. ^ "Here's the link to our merchandise". Manchester Giants' Twitter account. 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  12. ^ Mark Woods (2012). "BBL In's and Out's". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  13. ^ Anthony Jepson (2012). "Manchester Giants announce six signings". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  14. ^ "Mike Bernard, Devan Bailey sign up to boost Giants". Manchester Evening News. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  15. ^ Anthony Jepson (2012). "Manchester Giants 85 London Lions 84". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  16. ^ "London Lions pre-match preview". 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  17. ^ "Giants fall short of Play-off place". 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  18. ^ "College plans with the Giants". 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  19. ^ "Giants seal partnership with Stockport". 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  20. ^ Anthony Jepson (2013). "Manchester Giants all set to turn a new Page". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  21. ^ Anthony Jepson (2013). "Yorick Williams' true frit will help Giants". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  22. ^ Anthony Jepson (2013). "Jones warning for Giants stars". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  23. ^ "Plymouth Raiders' Nick George fifth in BBL British MVP vote". The Herald. 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  24. ^ Anthony Jepson (2014). "Manchester Giants have new home near Trafford Centre". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 

External links[edit]