PREVIEW: Hibernia v Bakken Bears

PREVIEW: Hibernia v Bakken Bears

  • Nov 19,2015
European Club basketball returns to Ireland after a 22-year wait this evening as Hibernia play at home for the first time in the FIBA Europe Cup. The combined club side have endured games in Denmark, Slovenia and the Czech Republic in the last three weeks but will host Danish Champions Bakken Bears at 7:30pm at the National Basketball Arena.

“We looked to ambush them in Aarhus,” said Player Coach Colin O’Reilly. Bakken Bears came from behind to win comfortably and are now one win away from qualification to the last 32. “Now it’s about being confident and giving as good as we get on our home court. We always knew it was going to be tough on the road.”

The last time European club basketball was played on an Irish court was in 1993. Jameson St. Vincent’s beat UMF Snaefull of Iceland in the first round before defeat to Dutch side BV Commodore. Mark Keenan was the side’s point guard. “It was a massive experience as a player,” said Keenan who is now Head Coach of Templeogue. “I remember we had good support for the home legs in the Arena. There were plenty of people from clubs around Dublin there so I hope the lads get the same again on Wednesday night. They’ve had it tough with the away games so they’ll be relishing the challenge at home.”

There’s been mixed news on the roster front this week. Belfast Star’s Shawn Vanzant has been added to the extended squad to bolster Hibernia’s chances of a first win in Group F. The American is the leading point guard in the Men’s Premier League in terms of scoring with 22.2 ppg while also averaging 6.6 assists. Vanzant signed for Belfast Star at the start of this season on the back of stints in the NBA Development League, the Finnish Korisliga and a stellar college career at Butler University. With Butler, he played under current Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens and went all the way to the NCAA Championship Game in 2011.

“I was honoured to be asked to play for Hibernia,” said Vanzant. “I watched a couple of games online and saw that it’s a really high standard. I’m good at creating for myself and creating for others and I take pride on defence. Whatever I can do to help the team I’ll do it.” Vanzant is a replacement for Templeogue’s Michael Bonaparte, who has withdrawn due to ongoing work commitments.

Player Coach Colin O’Reilly top scored for Hibernia against the Bears in October, and returns after a week’s rest to an ongoing ankle injury. Martins Provizors was due to return this week but a severe hand injury had ruled him out of the rest of the group games.

The FIBA Europe Cup remains the only chance to see professional basketball in Ireland this year. Tickets are available at

Hibernia Basketball FIBA Europe Cup Extended Squad:
Kyle Hosford (C&S UCC Demons), Roy Downey (C&S UCC Demons), Adrian O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Patrick Lyons (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Shawn Vanzant (Belfast Star), Kevin Lacey (GCD Swords Thunder), Ciaran O’Sullivan (C&S UCC Demons), Colin O’Reilly (C&S UCC Demons), Luke Thompson (Eanna), Dylan Cunningham (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Conor Grace (Templeogue), Keelan Cairns (Belfast Star), Ronan O’Sullivan (SSE Airtricity Moycullen), Lehmon Colbert (C&S UCC Demons), Jason Killeen (Templeogue), Martins Provizors (DCU Saints)
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