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Knights basketball team march into top league

7 April 2020

The Newcastle Knights have gained an NBL1 promotion. Moving one step closer to the highest level of play in the UK.

Newcastle University’s men’s basketball 1s side will play in the NBL 1 League from next season, thanks to a top-spot finish in NBL 2 fired by the best offence in the league.

The Knights’ 16-2 campaign landed Mark Elderkin the prize for Coach of the Year. While Tom Horvat, an American recruit on a postgraduate degree in International Business Management, was recognised as Player of the Year.

Mark Elderkin, Men’s Head Coach, said: “After a shock end to the season came some very good news being crowned NBL2 division champs and gaining promotion to NBL1. We played some great team basketball along the way and the players deserved this very much.

After making BUCS Premiership Final 4, this was the icing on the cake. Our aim for next season is to establish ourselves in the top NBL division as serious contenders for a strong playoff spot.”

The Knights clocked 1488 points, making them the highest-scoring team in the league. Defensively, Coach Elderkin’s side allowed 1201 points, second-lowest out of the 11 teams in the league.

The promotion cements Newcastle as one of the top basketball universities in the country. It follows a third place finish in the highest division of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) programme. This means that Newcastle has become only one of four universities playing in the BUCS Premier League and NBL Division 1.

Fraser Kennedy, Performance Sport Manager, Newcastle University, added: “This promotion is testament to all the hard work our coaching staff and our student athletes have put into this season. To be promoted into what is a professional league, and also finished 3rd overall within BUCS, is a tremendous achievement.

“Basketball is the 3rd highest participation sport in the UK and being one of the very best universities in the country ensures our reputation and profile is constantly enhanced which in turn aids our ability to attract the very best student athletes from the UK and North America to this great University.”

NBL Division 1 brings together 14 of the best teams in the UK. The first eight teams at the end of the regular season advance to the playoffs where the new champion is decided. While the bottom two teams are relegated to NBL Division 2.

The Knights will continue their BUCS League participation alongside playing in Division 1.