NBL1: Worthing Thunder make pre-season waves with raft of new signings

Last season's fifth-place finishers Worthing Thunder have prepared for the 2022/23 campaign with a number of big-name signings.

Looking to improve on their fortunes from last year, when the team suffered a first-round exit from the playoffs following an 88-79 defeat by Nottingham Hoods, the South Coast side have already been busy this offseason with a number of moves.

Off the court, Zaire Taylor has now shifted from his spot anchoring the Thunder rotation to a place on the bench as the team's new head coach.

On the court, it's an exciting time for Worthing as they aim to capture a first D1M league title since 2006/07, ending the dominance of neighbours and local rivals Team Solent Kestrels in the process.

Part of the plan to topple the Kestrels, who announced a change of direction for their programme recently, involves recruiting two of their stars from recent seasons in Orlan Jackman and Andre Arissol.

The duo, both part in the Team England 3x3 mix for the Commonwealth Games, have played a major part in helping their former team lift almost every piece of silverware available in the recent years, and both will now be suiting up for the Thunder in 2022/23.

Worthing have also recruited two of the league's most exciting imports from last season in Newcastle duo David Moya and Ronald Blain.

The pair helped the North East side to a top eight finish a year ago and a spot in the playoffs, with Blain finishing a league-third best for points per game at 22.5, whilst Moya led all D1M players with 9.3APG.

It's not just new faces for Thunder either, with 2021/22 British Team of the Year selection Hafeez Abdul making a return to Worthing for another season.

The 6'7" forward averaged 18.6PPG and 7.4RPG a year ago and is sure to also play an important role for Taylor's side during the upcoming campaign.

Of the former Solent duo, Taylor said: “As talented of a player that Dre [Arissol] is, what was the biggest draw more than anything is his winning attitude and approach to the game," said coach Taylor.

"I think he will play an instrumental role in building our culture, A culture of winning and professionalism.

"I also think Orlan is a massive signing for the team. He’s a proven champion in the league and leagues beyond.

"Being a first year coach I think it was essential to pick up an established veteran with championship pedigree and I honestly couldn’t think of a better player to tick both of them boxes."

For more information on Worthing Thunder, use the button below to head over to their website.