Meet Denzel Ubiaro, Tola Okiki and Joshua Palmer, our Marjon Student Raiders.
The three players are currently undergraduate students at Plymouth Marjon University, and represent the Marjon Basketball Programme as well as competing professionally with Plymouth Raiders Basketball.
The Marjon Mens’ Basketball Programme currently competes in Western BUCS 2A, where they are coached by Plymouth Raiders Lead Assistant Coach and Head of Video Analysis, Danny Magee. It’s hoped this continued partnership between Raiders and Marjon will bridge the gap between Marjon’s sporting programme and professional sport.
Danny said: “This is the beginning; we want to forge more opportunities for students here, to experience a high-level of basketball and do so in conjunction with higher education.”
“Denzel, Tola and Josh are outstanding individuals and ambassadors who represent what we’re trying to achieve as a University programmme. They also provide a young British nucleus to the professional team”
“We want them to get their degree, that’s foremost, but doing this helps their pursuit of professional sporting development and gives them diverse opportunities in the world following their studies.”
Raiders number 10 Denzel Ubiaro is a returning player following his 2017-18 debut season for the Raiders, after impressing at a try-out for the professional club. As part of the partnership between the Plymouth Raiders and Marjon, Denzel was offered a Scholarship to the University to study a Sports Therapy degree.
“It’s exciting to be here another year with the Raiders and have the opportunity to continue my education further at Marjon as well,” said Denzel.
“It was no hard decision at all on re-signing to the Raiders. It has been exciting to work with the new coaching staff, team mates and also my academic staff. It’s also great to see the progression of the basketball programme at Plymouth Marjon University.
“Knowing that I’ll have the opportunity to play at the Pavilions again with the best fans in the BBL is a privilege and to stay in the lovely city of Plymouth makes it even better.”
Josh Palmer and Tola Okiki attended this season’s BBL trials in July and impressed in front of Raiders management and newly appointed Head Coach Paul James and Assistant Coach Danny Magee. Tola and Josh now engage academically at the Plymouth Marjon University, Tola studying Sports Therapy BSc (Hons) and Josh studying for a Business BSc (Hons) degree.
Tola said: “I’m thankful for the opportunity afforded to me by Paul James and Danny Magee and I’ve learnt a lot from them and my teammates already.
“I’ve really enjoyed being in Plymouth and competing for Raiders and Marjon. I feel like this is a great city with some great fans that really support us and love the Raiders. This is going to be a great 3 years and I’m excited for my development as a player and person.”
Josh added: “I’m grateful for the opportunity that Marjon has given me to study whilst playing alongside the Raiders.
Director of Basketball and Raiders Head Coach Paul James said he was pleased to have the talented trio in his roster for the season.
“These three young men, Denzel, Josh and Tola will set the path for other talented young student athletes to follow,” said Paul.
“We want them to have a student experience that they are proud to talk about with their peers. We will provide them with everything they need to succeed. It’s now up to them to grasp the opportunity with both hands and from what I have witnessed, all three of them fully intend to.”
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