ESSEX Pirates’ leading ever points scorer Taner Adu believes the team’s withdrawal from the league will hit young British players hard this season.

Pirates regularly filled their roster with budding UK-based professionals.

And Adu fears those youngsters will now not have the opportunity to impress at such a high level.

“The best thing about Pirates was they gave young British players a platform to play and that won’t happen now they’ve gone,” said Adu who bagged 963 points during his two seasons with the Southend based side.

“Other teams in the BBL select older, foreign players but Pirates never did that.

“They gave me my chance and several others as well so it’s a real shame what’s happened.

“Lots of people in the game have said the same to me as well and that includes a number of youngsters who now don’t know who will give them a chance to play.”

Adu went on to win international honours with England along with Sam Toluwase after they both impressed for Pirates while Randy George, Adrien Sturt and Jamell Anderson were all snapped up by bigger clubs.

Adu now looks set to play abroad this season.

But he had been planning to come back to Pirates and hopes to have the opportunity to do so in the near future.

“I was looking forward to heading down to Southend again but I’ve been told Pirates might be coming back after a year’s break,” said Adu.

“If that happens then I would definitely be interested in coming back again and I think it’s really sad what’s happened.

“They were holding try-outs only a couple of weeks ago so I thought everything was going OK.

“All I can think of is that it must be down to money and that a sponsor pulled out because it’s all happened so late.

“However, I hope we get to play again as Pirates because we don’t want to go out with the way we ended last season with just one win to our name all year.”