Glasgow Rocks have appointed Gareth Murray as player-coach on a two-year contract.

The Great Britain forward had emerged as the hot favourite to succeed Vincent Lavandier at the Emirates Arena.

And despite the 35-year-old’s prior hesitation about maintaining his playing career while also overseeing a team, he has accepted a role with the backing of a number of past and former team-mates.

“ I had always hoped and believed that one day I would become the Head Coach of the Glasgow Rocks, this opportunity came earlier than expected but I am ready,” he said.

“With the premature departure of Coach Lavandier and the current financial implications of COVID-19, I am now the Head Coach. I will also continue to play as well as building a team that can compete on the court. The budget will of course decide the quality and amount of players I can recruit, one thing for sure is we will play with passion and continue to improve.

“I have played for the Rocks for 12 seasons with 6 different coaches. In that time I have learned something from each one of the them, what we all have in common is a passion to create a great culture and environment for players to improve and grow as individuals and as a team.”

On what will be a reduced budget, Murray will now have to rebuild a roster which came within reach of landing the club’s first-ever British Basketball League title in March before coronavirus rendered their quest null and void.

But a two-season show of faith will allow him the latitude to learn and develop, even if results are challenging.

“The appointment of Gareth on a 2 year contract brings much needed continuity and stability to the organisation at a time when calm heads and vision are required,” Rocks owner Duncan Smillie said.

“When I first met Gareth three years ago he made it clear to me that he saw himself as a future Rocks coach. In all honestly it has perhaps come a couple of years earlier than we both thought but he is has been preparing for this for a long time. As Rocks captain last season he learned a lot from our head coach, he has a first class understanding of the BBL and is a Rock through and through. I am really looking forward to working with Gareth and helping him where I can off the court.

“Now is the time to start building and planning for next season. I hope we will be playing basketball again at the Emirates in October/November, clearly we are not in control of that but we need to be ready to go when the advice from government allows for practice and games.”

Elsewhere in the BBL, Sheffield Sharks re-signed former GB Under-20 guard Nicholas Lewis.

While Cheshire Phoenix have signed American point guard Kahron Ross from Albania’s Vllaznia Shkodra

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