Lewis signs Williams as the Pirates step up for hoop off

THE Essex Pirates have completed the signings of Dean Williams, Pablo Rodrigo and Kyle Dodds.

The trio have all joined ahead of the Pirates’ inaugural season in the British Basketball League.

And head coach Tim Lewis is delighted to welcome them on board.

Williams is a veteran campaigner in the BBL having played for the London Towers, Thames Valley Tigers, Plymouth Raiders and most recently, Guildford Heat where he averaged 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds during the 2008-9 Championship season.

His experience will form an integral of the Pirates campaign as they try to achieve success this season. “Dean is a veteran player who has many years of high level competitive experience in the BBL with the added bonus of him having played against top level European competition in 2007-8,” explained Lewis.

“Dean is a strong leader and someone who our younger players can learn from.”

One of the other new arrivals, Rodrigo, is an emerging talent though.

He will be swapping Spain for Southend as he joins the Pirates from LEB Bronze side CB Navalcarnero where he averaged 10.5 points and 5 rebounds per game.

But coach Lewis is predicting a bright future for the Spaniard: “Pablo is a young and hungry player who has started a number of games in the LEB Bronze — a great grounding for playing in the BBL,” said Lewis.

“He is a four or five-spot (Power Forward or Centre) player who can also step out and shoot the ball really well. We look forward to further developing his player skills and overall potential.”

At 6’11” tall, the third new signing — former Great Britain U20 international Dodds — is a huge prospect for the upcoming season in more ways than one. Having recently graduated from Eastern Michigan and played in the NCAA throughout his college career, Lewis cannot wait to start working with him.

“Kyle is a player I have admired for some time and has a host of attributes which we feel will fit well into the system that we want to play,” said Lewis.

“He is really athletic, rebounds well, plays long and can block shots. Kyle has a real upside to his game which we will harness.”

With the roster beginning to take shape for the Pirates, Lewis was quick to justify his recruiting strategy.

“We are committed to recruiting British or European players and while we will try to add experience where necessary, it isn’t easy to do that with limited budgets though,” he added.

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