Big signing as Mark Woodhouse joins Mansfield Giants

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Mansfield Giants Basketball Club this week added a major signing to their squad then they brought in 6ft 9ins forward Mark Woodhouse.

His arrival follows hot on the heels of Scottie Summersgill (pictured) and former coach Dan Richards as new coach Curtis Xavier begins to build for the new season in earnest.

Woodhouse has had a glittering playing career so far since he started out at South Notts College in 2000.

After three years he was awarded a full scholarship to North Carolina A & T state university in the NCAA Division One.

His professional career began in Belgium for Division Two side Optica Hanut.

The following season, Mark moved to Iceland Premier Division side Thor Akureyri, enjoying a very successful season, and the following season saw him sign for BBL side Plymouth Raiders, where he was part of the trophy-winning side that year.

In the post-season that year he attended the Andorra international TBCA recruitment camp where he was selected by Spanish side Eliocroca Lorca.

Here he enjoyed two successful seasons, before returning to play in Iceland after a spell in Spain, where he played for Thor Thorloskohfn and earned the honour of Eurobasket Bosmon of the Year for his division.

Finally, Mark returned to England in 2009 and played the next three seasons with the Derby Trailblazers in EBL Division One where he was part of a championship-winning side and a National Trophy winner in 2012

A club spokesman said: “This is a fantastic signing for the Giants.

“Mark has played at the highest level in England and abroad, and is great role model for our young guys to look up to.

“His work ethic and enthusiasm are outstanding and he has bought into what are trying to achieve over the next few years with this group of players.

“Mark has also been passing on his knowledge to some of the younger Giants players over the summer in a series of day camps, which was a fantastic opportunity for our club members to learn what it takes to play at the highest level.”

Xavier also bolstered his back court with veteran signing Scottie Summersgill from Anderson Town Tigers Basketball Club in Northern Ireland.

Summersgill spent two years in the BBL in the early 90s playing for Oldham Celtics, then moved across to Northern Ireland where he spent 16 years playing in the Irish Superleague for Star of the Sea in Belfast.

Scottie will be working on the Giants and Express Coaching Services community programme in the local schools and also helping coach some of the Giants’ junior teams in their training sessions and camps.

A spokesman said; “We are delighted to bring a player with Scottie’s experience into the club.

“He is a great three-point shooter and in very good physical condition. Scottie will no doubt contribute on the court at the point guard spot and help some of the younger guys out too.”

Long serving player Dan Richards was the first player to sign for Xavier.

Richards, now in his eighth season with the Giants, will also coach the U12s team in the Notts Open Mini League as well as work in the local schools and community.

Richards said: “I’m delighted to be back playing again. I’m really excited about the future of the Giants now and glad coach Xavier sees me as part of his plans.

“We have spoken at great length and I’m more than happy to take on the role he wants me to do, even though it will be very demanding. I’m up for the challenge.”

Giants will be entering a new team in the Founders Cup this year to underpin the men’s National League team.

The Founders Cup is a competition open to non-National League players, giving them an opportunity to perform on a national level.