Hamilton happy to be back in Bromley with Royals
PUBLISHED: 08:15 05 December 2018
Ashley Hamilton is enjoying being back in Bromley with British Basketball League newcomers London City Royals.
The 30-year-old dynamic forward, who has spent his entire post-college career in mainland Europe, finally makes his BBL debut against Glasgow Rocks at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Sunday.
Hamilton, raised in Bromley, badly damaged a ligament in his wrist in the final throws of helping Spanish side Manresa achieve promotion to the Spanish Liga ACB last season.
Now the Sierra Leone-born star is ready to unleash his dazzling skills on British basketball fans having been forced to sit out the Royals’ opening seven league matches.
Hamilton was the newly-formed Royals’ star signing in the summer when he penned a three-year deal.
And after previously being on shorter-term contracts in Greece, Spain, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and the Ukraine, Hamilton is looking forward to his time with the Royals.
“I am thrilled and excited to be making my BBL debut and am delighted to commit the next three years to the Royals,” he said.
“The fact is I never previously had the right opportunity to play in England given various organisational and financial standpoints.
“It was always my dream to play here and I will put everything into making my first game a home win.
“We know have the strength in depth in our squad to make the play-offs.
“I’ve been eager to get started, but understand the process.
“This extra time has given me the opportunity to really get my whole body well-conditioned and strong and I’m now feeling better than ever.
“It’s been tough watching the team go under-manned in some games, taking hits that we should be better able to handle when at full strength.
“Everything happens for a reason and I’m ready to go now so we’ll see how things look with us all on the floor together, finally.”
Royals take on Glasgow looking for a fifth win, but forward Will Neighbour is expected to miss the game having hurt his ankle in the 98-81 win over the Newcastle Giants.
Leading scorer Matt Bryan-Amaning, though, is expected to be over a similar injury.
Hamilton has always been a big draw throughout an illustrious career that took off when he won a place at a training camp in Pennsylvania aged 16.
The NBA was always his goal, but he narrowly missed out on the draft in 2013 and continued to hop around the world instead.
The quietly-spoken, kindly-mannered ace has blown the Royals director of basketball operations Nhamo Shire away with his “attitude, professionalism and commitment”.
“It’s no secret that Ash was the first name on our list when we sat down in the summer to discuss putting together a British led team that would both excite and challenge in the BBL,” said Shire.
“He’s an elite level athlete with strength, mobility, agility and high-level skills packaged into a legitimate tall frame - a celebration of the best of British.
“To have him locked in for the next three years has given us the foundation we needed to build around, so naturally we were in no rush to get him back early.
“We had to be sure he was 110 per cent ready to go. Now he is, we’re all excited for what is to come.”
See the Royals take on the Glasgow Rocks at the Crystal Place National Sports Centre on Sunday, December 9 at 4pm. Tickets at londoncityroyals.com/royals-vs-glasgow-rocks.