The NBL Weekend Takeover for 27/28 October will see Folkestone Saints taking the reins of the NBL Instagram story.
We caught up with the Saints' Hunter Evans-Read ahead of their takeover weekend, for our latest Player Spotlight feature.
Name: Hunter Evans-Read
Team: Folkestone Saints - Under 18 Men (South II Regional)
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Hunter, I was born in London and spent a couple of years living in Islington before moving to Folkestone, where I have lived since. The majority of my family live in France so I don’t really get to see too much of them besides my uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins who live in Battersea, Manchester and Bristol.
What brought you to the NBL in the first place?
I played basketball for Folkestone Saints while growing up, so my introduction to the NBL was when the club progressed from playing CVL. I started playing Jnr.NBL at Under 16 when I was around 14 and have represented the Saints until now; my last season at Under 18.
What was your first impression of the NBL? How has that changed?
Upon first playing in the NBL, my initial thoughts were that of nervousness as I was often playing up several years and was not only undersized, but shocked to see this very high level of basketball IQ and athleticism on show. After playing for several years at this level, I feel that my game has matured to a point at which I feel much more comfortable playing at this level, and my IQ is high enough to control the pace of the game.
What was your first "bright spot" with your team?
The final year at Under 16 for us was a great shining moment. as we held the best record for an Under 16 team since Folkestone began competing in the NBL. This showed that we were improving, both in ethos and in style of play, despite our team being comprised of a young core of new players; we executed well and had an excellent season.
What was your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is often that we lack athleticism and size due to being a part of a small town, which has hindered us in past years and given us disadvantages. However, this often results in us working relentlessly and focusing on playing together as a unit.
What changes have you noticed in yourself since joining the NBL?
I feel as though my confidence has improved massively since being thrown into the deep end of NBL competition and, as a result, the majority of my game has improved with it. I have significantly developed in my ability to score, control the floor and think the game.
What are you working on right now, what are your current goals?
This off-season I felt as though my biggest personal goal was to gain more explosiveness and generally get stronger in order to get better defensively and compete with some of the better athletes in our league. As a team we have been training really hard and have felt the improvements in the few games we have played so far, all of which have been extremely competitive compared to years prior where we wouldn’t have competed as easily.
What is your favourite NBL memory?
It’s hard to pin-point one particular game or moment, having played some many games over the years, and when you have long seasons ahead of you, you tend to put the games before behind you. However, the best moments for me are definitely the feeling of pulling off a hard fought one or two point win.
What advice would you give someone who is just getting started in basketball?
Make you’re taking care of your body: stretching, foam rolling and maintaining your fitness outside of the sport. As you accumulate more and more hours and years of playing it is important to maintain your body to avoid injury and strain, something you don’t really think about when you’re much younger.
What do you like to do outside of basketball?
My other hobbies are art and photography; things I’ve enjoyed ever since growing up and continue now because I think it’s always good to mix up what you’re doing in your spare time.
Finally, who is your favourite British basketball player and why?
Kalil Irving - I remember going to watch him win in the BBL Playoff Final in the 2013/14 season. Although he didn’t play very much during that game due to injury, he was still scoring easily. His mum and my mum were once work colleagues, so I got to go and chat with him and take photos after the game; I idolised him a bit while I was growing up.
You can follow Hunter's progress this weekend when the Folkestone Saints takeover the NBL Instagram story!