New Players Propel Crusaders to Top 4
Local defensive ace Andy Chiguiri is back with the team, and the import players, American Omar "OJ" Reid and Swiss import Andre Beetschen, have made an immediate impact. The last addition is Steve Vear, the brother of head coach James Vear, who signed with the club this week.

New Players Propel Crusaders to Top 4

November 10, 2010 | RSS

Since the start of the season when the Medway Park Crusaders were struggling they have four new faces on the court, and it shows in the league tables, where Crusaders have climbed to fourth place after beating bottom dweller Sheffield Arrows 98-59.


Omar Reed plays international basketball for the Crusaders, after playing for the BC Rams.

Local defensive ace Andy Chiguiri is back with the team, and the import players, American Omar "OJ" Reid and Swiss import Andre Beetschen, have made an immediate impact. The last addition is Steve Vear, the brother of head coach James Vear, who signed with the club this week.


Omar "OJ" Reed from Tazewell, Virginia, USA played four years of US university basketball for Bluefield College in Virginia, at the end of which he was named to the NAIA 3rd Team All-America Team. Reed was the only member from his league named to the list. Reed who was also the league Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.


Reed led his league, the AAC, in rebounds with 345, and was listed in five categories representing the NAIA Division II basketball program.


Reed was happy to join Crusaders: "I am honoured to have to opportunity to continue my career while trying to help the Medway Park Crusaders become a better team. I'm anxious to form a bond with my teammates and help Coach Vear make an impact. Hopefully my talents can meet expectations and we can have a successful season.


"Dedication and love for the game of basketball has made me a successful player and that desire and drive isn't leaving no time soon, so I am ready to work and to learn the style of play along with Coach Vear system and input on the game. I'm grateful to be part of the team."


Swiss import Beetschen started playing basketball at 13, but it wasn't until he moved to Thun at age 16 years he started playing organized basketball at Huenibasket Thun. After only one year he started playing Division 4 basketball with the mens team. It took the team three years to gain promotion to National Division 3.


Now on the national radar the quick guard moved on to Villars Basket in Division 2 the year after, and played there for four years, including two years with ex-Crusaders Walter Moyse and Greg Curat. Villars made it to he playoffs three times, and Beetschen finished off his career there with a trip to the semi final.


Beetschen is looking at playing in England as an opportunity for development:


"I think the British game is going to make me much tougher, as it's a different style of basketball than in Switzerland.


"I like the way the coach wants to play, and i hope i can help the team with my style of play. I think we're going to have a good mix between older and younger players, shooters and athletic guys. With James Harris we have a unbelievable good shooter in the team, but there are a lot of other guys and the can shot the ball as well, so this is going to make it much easier for me to drive.


"I'm really excited about joining the Crusaders, and I'm sure that we'll have a good season, not only on, but also off the court."


Steve Vear was a professional player between 2001 and 2008 for several of the British top level clubs in both English Basketball League Division 1 and the British Basketball League, the BBL, including Leister Riders, Worthing Thunder, Reading Rockets and London United. Since 2008 he has stepped down his playing career to work for the Luol Deng Foundation, the charity of the British NBA star with the Chicago Bulls.


Andy Chiguiri is a student with the Crusaders Basketball Academy in Canterbury, and made an impact last year. This year he has only just returned after a self imposed break to make sure his school work was up to date. Chiguiri is one of the best defenders in the league even while still being a 18-year old school boy. This weekend he had the job of checking Arrows star Steve Hodge, a job which head coach Steve Vear thought he aced:


"Andy was great today on Hodge. After Hodge getting hot early Andy made it hard for him to get into any kind of rhythm".


Crusaders jumped out to an early 7-0 lead moving the ball well on offense and exploiting match ups in our favour and finding open shooters. When Sheffield relaxed they came back into the game, as they put the ball in Hodge's hands and let him create. He used his ability to create shots and his shooting ability, and Crusaders didn't do a good enough job on making him take tough shots.


Despite Hodge's heroics Crusaders kept the home team a bay and went into the second period were up 25-18.


In the second quarter Sheffield came out well, scoring the first two baskets. They were looking to get the ball inside to Sam Spare who was controlling the boards in the first two quarters. Crusaders countered by pushing the ball up the court at speed, but als turned the ball over numerous times in transition. Arrows managed to cut the lead at the half to 38-35.


Coach Vear didn't have to shout to motivate the players at half time:


"The guys were very positive at half time, which was great to see. They knew they hadn't played well, but if we got off to a good start in the 3rd and really stepped it up on defence we would be ok."


Crusaders took their own advise and came out firing in the third, scoring the first 12 points. It all started with good defence which lead to easy baskets, as Andy Chiguiri did a great job on Hodge who struggled to find any kind of rhythm in the second half. Crusaders continued to put the pressure on towards the end of the third with the entire team contributing. In the third quarter Crusaders blasted Sheffield 33-9 and had jumped out to 29 point lead, 71-42.


The fourth quarter was an afterthought, as the game played itself out with all the damage being done in the 3rd. Crusaders continued to push the ball and find good shots in transition, but coach Vear was more impressed with the defensive effort:


"It was nice to see the guys stil really wanted to play good defence and make sure we played right to the final whistle."


Crusaders ended up winning 98-59.


Looking back on the game coach Vear had lots to be happy about:


"It was a great win today for the team, it's nice for a coach to see five players in double figures. I really think we have so many weapons on offense"


"It was nice to get my brother Steve involved in today's game. He was very rusty in the first half but you can see in the second him start to get back into it. I think he is going to fit in really well to the style of basketball we are looking to play"


Date Played: Saturday, 06-November-2010


Home Team: Sheffield Arrows 59


Away Team: Medway Park Crusaders 98


Venue: Killamarsh Sports Centre




Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final Score

Home 18 33 42 59 59

Away 25 38 71 98 98


Leading Scorers:


Scorer 1 Scorer 2 Scorer 3

Home Hodge 18 Spare 10 Lisk-Carew 9

Away Harris 19 Reed 17 Beetschen 16