Oaklands Wolves Basketball Academy have secured the services of Spanish coach Sergio Vicente Belena to kick off the new academic year.
Coach Belena will work as a performance coach at Oaklands Academy and Head Coach of the U18 Wolves Club team who this year will make the step to the Premier National League.
The position will be Belena’s first outside of Spain, where he has amassed an impressive coaching resume including stints at Real Madrid Basketball Club and most recently as head coach at men’s EBA side Basket Azuqueca.
Having been overwhelmed by the number of strong applications for the position at Oaklands, Wolves Basketball Director Michael Ball confirmed Coach Belena as the outstanding candidate for the position.
He said: "When Sergio's resume came in we knew he was someone special. We had candidates from all over Europe but his experience, open mind and expertise in player development made him the stand-out applicant.
“Sergio has vast experience working and developing players at all age groups, he also understands the academy environment well and will promote the ‘player first’ ethos we commit to at Oaklands."
Head of Performance Lee Ryan added: "As an elite program it was important to find someone who can add value to what we already have at Oaklands. Real Madrid Basketball Club is recognised widely as the leading junior club in Europe, we want to draw on Sergio's three years of experience there to benefit our players. We have already started to exchange ideas and working together this season will be exciting for our athletes."
At 34 years old, Coach Balena gained his qualifications in Natural Science & Health and spent time as a player before starting on the coaching pathway with the Madrid Basketball Federation; where he has qualified as a Training Master.
Upon his arrival Coach Belena is eager to get to work with British talent in Basketball at Wolves. He said: “For me, being part of the Oaklands Wolves this season is a great challenge for my professional career, it is a great environment for performance basketball for the best players.
“I have seen some of the players already and I am excited by their athletic talent. I will be focused on improving skill levels and mentality for basketball - I cannot wait to get started."
He continued: "The staff here at Oaklands push for excellence every day and I am ready to learn from them and share my knowledge. I am also really looking forward to working with Coach Mark Bennett, this is a chance for me to be even better for the players and my future."