West Brom Basketball Club guard Luke Hatfield has committed himself to the Black Country side once again, admitting he wants the team to do ‘big things’ this season.
Hatfield was one of a number of key players for West Brom last season, providing a threat from beyond the three point line throughout the campaign as Tim Rudge’s side secured a fourth-placed finish in West Midlands Premier Division.
Following that campaign, West Brom went on to see success in the Clive Hurst Summer League – winning all five of their games in the round robin event.
Having headed into the off-season on such a high, Hatfield admits it was an easy decision to make to stay in the Black Country.
“I haven’t really thought of anything but next season with West Brom, to be honest.” The 29-year-old said.
“Lots of people end up checking out other options when the season comes to an end, and on the whole of it – I don’t think many of us are even thinking about what other teams might have to offer going into next year.
“The success we’ve had this season with a team kind of thrown together at the last minute, we’ve really grown as the season has gone on.
“Even if we’d missed out in the Summer League, I was always fully committed to playing for the coming year and after that.
“I really enjoy the structure and feel of the club. I like everyone on the team, I like the coach, I like the way we’re headed. I think we’re set up for big things next season whether we get some extra new faces or not.”
Things weren’t so simple last season for the co-MVP, with Hatfield previously stating his intentions to leave the club for Smith’s Wood, before changing his mind and sticking with West Brom.
“I’d kind of agreed to joining Smith’s Wood last year to play with a few guys I knew really well. It was closer to home too which helped.” he said.
“I even had Delon [Sharpe] telling me he was taking my jersey number! I don’t think he was too pleased when I changed my mind!
“But the culture here is just far better than everywhere else I’ve played.
“On top of that, I was swayed so much when I saw the likes of Sam [Rudge], Cash [Evans] and Arjun [Chauhan] all coming to join. I’ve known them over a decade now, playing with them is such good fun for me – it’s like old times.
“Add to that the guys from last season who stuck around too, it was a really tough call and I’m glad I did what I did.
“I feel like I’ve made the perfect decision as well as coach [Tim Rudge] has come in and I’ve really enjoyed his sessions and I feel like I’ve improved under him. It paid out on the league table too, as we finished ahead of Smith’s Wood too.
“This summer will be nothing like last time around, I’m willing to commit and I won’t be changing my mind this time.”
The only issue Hatfield needs to tackle this summer is making sure he’s completely healthy, having played through the pain barrier with a knee complaint throughout the Summer League success.
Having later been diagnosed with a torn meniscus, he now faces an awkward wait before being able to get the problem treated.
“The knee problem has been frustrating” he said.
“It’s been something I had to manage through Summer League, I just didn’t want to miss a game, which is why I didn’t shut it down sooner. I tried to keep it from coach too as I didn’t want him pulling me out of games.
“Now the doctors have confirmed what I’ve done I can play on it like normal until they can get it scanned and sorted.
“It’s annoying because if I have to get surgery, then I could be facing some time out, although that could be a way off depending on how fast that will get booked in.
“I took a break after Summer League to see if it would get better on its own and I still turned up at practice sessions so I didn’t miss anything.
“My focus now is to be back fit and firing as soon as possible, regardless of how long I have to wait until it’s fixed for good, I’ll give everything I can to the team.”
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