After a historic season with his Leicester Riders Women’s team, who made history by qualifying for all three major Women’s British Basketball League Finals in the same season, Krumesh Patel’s focus soon switches to Great Britain’s Under-20s Men’s team, who have an exciting summer ahead.
His recent appointment as Head Coach of the team was met with tremendous excitement on social media, and with the WBBL season now concluded, we caught up with Krumesh to discuss his hopes and ambitions for the summer with GB.
“For me, it was really exciting to see [the reaction].” Patel said.
“It’s a different challenge for me, obviously, as I’m moving across to the men’s side – although I have done some work with GB and England Men’s before, as well as the Riders.
“It was nice to see a lot of support on social media, you know, from peers and other people showing support both in the men’s and women’s game. I’ve always wanted to be a GB Head Coach and have been applying for a few years, but never quite got one for whatever reason.
“I’m excited about the staff I’ve been able to bring in with me as well. There are a lot of exciting young coaches and staff in my group and in the other teams, so I’m really looking forward to that, but more importantly we have a lot of people with different perspectives and backgrounds, and we feel confident that we can have some success in the summer.”
“We want to be aggressive in what we’re trying to do on.”
Working with a group of players who are on the cusp or who have already embarked upon exciting professional careers, there is much excitement about what Patel’s cohort of talent can do on the floor this summer.
Whilst it has been a hectic season domestically for the Riders play-caller – with Leicester competing in every possible game in the WBBL this season and only just wrapping up their season on Sunday – Patel details how the foundations have long since started to be put in place for his U20s to have a positive summer.
“Our preparations have already started. We’ve got a list of players we’ve been looking at and we’ve tried to learn what they’re doing at club level already and see how we can work that into our programme here, so that we all have an easier transition into the group.
“The group we’re looking to put together has a lot of size and athleticism so we want to be aggressive in what we’re trying to do on both ends of the floor, and the work to plan for that has been underway for a while so that when we come into camp we’re all ready to go at it.
“This is obviously a different challenge to a club setting but it’s an exciting one to see how we can condense a lot of what we’d do in a full season into a small window of six to eight weeks and how successful we can be. Our ambition is to achieve promotion to Division A.
“Every young player in the country will be looking up to this team.”
Back in competitive action for the first time since 2019, there will be a lot of eyes on the Under-20s with many of these players looking to make the step up to the senior team in future years.
Patel sees that pressure on him and his team as a privilege, and says expectations are part of playing at this level, but hopes his group will embrace the challenge and inspire a generation of future hoopers back home in the UK when the team compete at the European Championships in North Macedonia at the beginning of July.
“We’re a new team and staff but the work on building a culture has already begun for us. We have an identity as a staff of what we want to do and that’s going to feed into the players as soon as they get into camp. It’s a daily process to get to where we want to be and feel we deserve to be, but we have to work for it.
“We know there are going to be a lot of eyes and expectations on the team but we just have to embrace it. We have to recognise the opportunity we have here and know that our actions are what will define whether we’re successful or not.
“Every young player in the country will be looking up to this team and it is our job to set an example for them and inspire them to want to be part of our culture and be in this team in the future.”