Cheshire Phoenix have pulled off a major transfer coup by signing star forward Orlan Jackman from British Basketball League rivals Newcastle Eagles.
The 29-year-old becomes the ambitious Phoenix’s fourth capture of what is shaping up to be an exciting summer of recruitment.
And the club’s general manager James Brice believes it is one that sends out a real statement of intent to the rest of the league.
Brice said: “It’s a huge signing for the club. We’ve worked really hard to try and make it happen.
“He’s someone we targeted at the start of our recruitment process and to get it over the line is big. It’s a statement from the club.
“We mean business this year and, as we’ve said numerous times this summer, we’ve changed the way in which we recruit.
“This is a real coup for us. Hopefully it will lead to bigger and better things for the club.”
Jackman was a key member of the Newcastle side that won a third straight BBL Cup and finished second behind Leicester Riders in the BBL Championship and Play-offs last season.
The England and Great Britain international averaged an eye-catching 11.3 points and 7.3 boards per game in the Championship and, in March, brought up 1,000 points in the competition.
Those performances led London-born Jackman, who was educated at Oklahoma City University and counts Worcester Wolves and London Lions among his former clubs, to being named in the BBL All-British Team of the Year.
Brice added: “We’re getting a high quality British player and a high quality BBL player.
“He was at one of the best teams in the league last season, he was at Worcester the year before that, another top team, he’s experienced, he knows how to win, he’s got a high level IQ, and he’s a great athlete.
“He’s a winner, he’s proved that at his previous clubs, he plays with a lot of energy, a lot of passion, he’s a real team player, and he fits into what we’re trying to build here.
“We’re very excited to have him and the fans can look forward to seeing him in September.”
Jackman, who has also played in Portugal and Germany, said: “I’m really happy to be a part of the new-look Phoenix team and I look forward to a lot of great things next season at the Ellesmere Port Sports Village.”
Phoenix head coach Ben Thomas said: “We are very happy to have Orlan on board with us for the upcoming season. He is one of the best British players in this league. His versatility on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor will be a massive asset to us.
“The club has worked really hard over the past couple of weeks to be able to bring Orlan to Cheshire, I know he is really focused and understands that this club is going to take a giant leap forward this season.”
Jackman follows the Nix’s re-signing of Raheem May-Thompson and the additions of Andrew Bachman from Worcester and CJ Gettys following the conclusion of his college career in the States.
Brice, who confirmed further acquisitions are lined up, added: “We’re really excited about this season.
“It’s all coming together and we’re all really looking forward to getting started.”