He is one of the most beloved young managers in British basketball and, after impressing during his time with the Manchester Giants, Lloyd Gardner now has the opportunity to help rejuvenate another sleeping BBL giant. as he takes the hot seat for the Surrey Burners.
The Scorchers won it all during their time in the BBL, but haven’t made the playoffs in five years, so Gardner has a task on his hands to bring the team back to its former glories, and it’s one he’s got. “He’s very excited as he looks to squeeze the maximum potential out of an exciting and versatile roster he’s built.
“I am delighted to move here. I think there are a lot of similarities between Surrey now and Manchester last year when I arrived there, sadly underperforming in recent years but with a lot of potential to unleash in the franchise.
“I’ve been really happy with what I’ve seen here over the past few weeks and I think with everything the club has around it, we’re on a very good basis to grow and develop this club of exciting way.
“I don’t think I can say yet what the end goal for this season is, to be honest, because I’m more of a process-oriented person and that process will dictate where we can go with this team at the moment. We’ve put together a roster that we think can be competitive in this league, but every other team will feel the same right now, so hopefully we can get the results we need.
“Our first ambition is to be competitive in every game.”
Although Gardner is reluctant to look too far into the future, he admits there is a real opportunity for the Scorchers to achieve excellence in a number of areas if they can get certain things right on and off the wood. hard.
One of these in particular is youth development – an area Gardner has a strong passion for with a proven track record in developing elite talent – and he discussed the opportunities that could await Surrey in this regard. , as well as hopes the team has of ending their postseason drought.
“Our most pressing need is to be more competitive on the pitch, but this is a franchise that has had success in the past and we need to start doing that more regularly. There are so many opportunities for us to developing young players to an elite level is something that really excites me, so there’s plenty to be excited about.
“We have to prove to people that Surrey is an organization that people invest their time in, and we do that by proving that we can be competitive on the pitch and that we can develop talent. If we can put together a pathway to get these players through, we’re on a winning formula because there’s so much talent out there that we can help develop.
“We try not to put a goal on things right now. Our first ambition is to be competitive in every game and to succeed in this process of improvement, which will lead to victories and then potentially to the playoffs. There are only 10 teams in the league so it is not excluded to go from 10e in eighth place, but we know we have work to do before we can think about it.
“I want to give players the freedom to make their own decisions.”
As a manager who has been hailed by some of the biggest names in the British game past and present, including British captain Dan Clark, who credited Gardner as the main reason Clark joined the BBL with Manchester l Last year’s new Surrey play-caller has quite the reputation.
We asked the man himself about what made him so popular and what qualities he thinks he has that make him a coach some of our game’s biggest icons can’t wait to play for.
“Having good players usually helps! I had some really good people in the roster last year and it always helps you look good but seriously I value relationships I like to think I can find ways to connect with my players at a good level, i am organized and hard -working and i empower my guys.
“There are a lot of great coaches in this league and I just try to do my best to prepare myself and my team to compete at the highest level possible. I want to give players the freedom to take their own decisions and play in a setting that allows them to succeed.
“Our job as coaches is always to make sure our players always have a clear message to follow and an understanding of what they’re being asked to do and what we think they can achieve.”
Surrey Scorchers welcome BBL Trophy holders Ben Thomas’ Cheshire Phoenix to Surrey Sports Park on Friday September 23 to open the new campaign. Watch all the games of the next BBL season live and free on the BBL YouTube channel.