NBL signings: Busy January sets teams up for the home straight

With January's NBL licencing deadline now passed, some teams have made moves to shore up their roster for the rest of the season.

Defending D1M champs Hemel Storm made perhaps the biggest waves across the NBL, but plenty of sides up and down the pyramid inked signings that they hope will serve them well the rest of the way.

We take a look below at some of the key signings from a busy January.

Division One Men

Hemel Storm announced a pair of deals recently, with a familiar face joining a new one for the defending champs.

After his release from BBL side Plymouth, American Taylor Johnson is back in orange and black once again, ready to help his former side make a push up the standings in the next few months.

Storm also added former BBL winner Darien Nelson-Henry to their roster, coaxing the former Leicester man out of retirement to add a two time BBL Team of the Year selection to their title push.

Hemel weren't the only ones who were busy before the deadline. Current leaders Derby Trailblazers added Josh Armstrong ahead of next month's KitKing Trophy Final against Bradford.

Armstrong has just finished up a four-year stint at Providence University College, helping the Pilots to their second consecutive Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference title in Canada.

Derby's opponents in the KitKing Final, Bradford Dragons, were also active, recruiting a familiar guard to their ranks in the form of American guard Ronald Blain.

Blain enjoyed spells with Newcastle and Worthing in recent seasons before a short stint with Sligo in Ireland to begin the 2023/24 campaign.

The athletic guard is now back in the NBL and hoping to push the Dragons to KitKing Trophy glory, as well as into a spot in the post-season.

It's not just the teams at the top who are making moves, with teams further down the stadnings making some additions.

Guard Kayne King has completed his transfer from City of Birmingham to fellow D1M side Nottingham Hoods, and former Worcester and Surrey BBLer Herny Wilkins is now with Worthing.

In mid-January City of Birmingham Rockets signed Canadian guard Jayden Grewal from Portuguese side MBA Montijo Basket, with Barking Abbey adding forward Troy McIndoe to their programme.

McIndoe has previously lined up for both London Elite and Thames Valley Cavaliers and will hoping to do his bit to lead BA out of the bottom two. 

Division One Women

The incomings were more sparse in D1W, where most teams follow a different structure to those on the Men's side.

With some utilising their D1 team as an outlet for Academy players and U20s to continue their development, fewer players tend to come into the league outside of the Academic year.

One big move that occurred during January was City of Birmingham moving on from head coach Ryan Emery, with the Rockets struggling near the bottom of the standings.

The West Midlanders have gone with Clive Allen as the man to try and keep Birmingham in the top flight, and the local legend brings with him a wealth of experience to the CoB cause.

Elsewhere in NBL

In D2M, David "Tin Tin" Watts is back for more after coming to the aid of Doncaster Eagles, who are currently at the bottom of the North standings.

The veteran scorer dropped an impressive 41 points to go with 12 boards last weekend, suggesting the former BBL man can play a big part in Doncaster's survival push.

Cobham Scorchers have inked GB U18 standout Nedas Cholevinskas through their partnership with BBL side Surrey Scorchers. The reigning EABL South MVP also collected the 2022/23 U18 National Player of the Year award recently, his talents will no doubt be greatly appreciated in South West London.

Josh McSwiggan was last seen in the BBL for Worcester and Cheshire, and he's found a new home with D3 side Warwickshire Hawks. The former Charnwood College prospect will no doubt be able to help the Hawks up the D3 Midlands standings.

After a few years away, Chris Bigley is back with Liverpool. The forward returns to the NBL fold having been successfully chosen to be part of the GB Maxi U35s team and that bodes well for the North West side.

Finally, some of D2W sides in Pool II might be lining up across from a 2012 Olympian before the season is out after Stef Collins picked up a licence last week for Cardiff Met Archers II.

It's not currently known if the all-time leading GB caps holder is just looking to scratch a playing itch, keep herself in game shape or just stay involved with the D2 side, but her signing is certainly interesting nevertheless.