Tony Garbelotto has backed Manchester Giants to become a strong franchise in the BBL, ahead of their anticipated inclusion for next season.
The Giants, along with London Leopards, are expected to be welcomed in to the competition for the start of the 2012/13 season, although the previously announced deal to bring a Birmingham team in looks likely to be delayed by a year.
It marks the return of an old name to the BBL, with the previous incarnation of the Giants dropping out of the league back in 2001/02 season.
In fact, the British record crowd for a domestic basketball game came when nearly 15,000 people filled the MEN Arena in 1995 to watch the Giants, ironically against fellow prospective new boys London Leopards.
Garbelotto, who has coached the Mersey Tigers for the past four seasons, met with Jeff Jones recently, and was impressed by the visions for the Manchester franchise.
He said: “Manchester are really interesting. I met with Jeff and was so impressed by his plans, not just the playing side, but off the court too. If he pulls it off, it’s going to be another strong franchise, and that’s what the league needs.
“I know the people at the Leopards personally, and they just love basketball. They know how to run it, and run it well.
“I don’t see any issues with those teams. They’re going to be a credit to the league, and it’s good that they are joining.”
At the beginning of last season, Essex Pirates joined Worthing Thunder in withdrawing from the BBL, but there was one new addition – with Durham Wildcats making the step up from the EBL, and ensuring an 11-team competition for 2011/12.
It is not known whether there will be any further additions to the BBL for next season, or even whether any existing clubs are under threat.