Giant-sized task for basketballer Mark
Mark Rangeley is known in North West circles as '˜Mr Basketball' and it's easy to understand why.
Over the next months, it will be a non-stop commitment to the sport - he has just signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Giants club.
And he is about to embark on a mammoth programme the length and breadth of the Fylde Coast to teach the sport in no fewer than 40 schools under his ‘Mr Basketball’ project.
It is a tall order, but then he is used to that as he stands 6ft 6in.
Indeed, the 26-year-old, who lives in South Shore, is relishing both tasks and can’t wait to get started.
Rangeley learned his basketball at Hodgson School before journeying to the United States to continue his education in the sport.
He said: “I had played for Bury Spinners for the past four years; I fancied a new challenge and Manchester had just got a new coach (Danny Byrne) who I already know very well.”
Rangeley’s heavy workload will start in earnest in September when Manchester take on a United States select team at the soccerdome at the Trafford Centre prior to a pre-season tour to Spain before the league campaign begins.
From September, he will be touring schools spreading the basketball gospel, such a heavy work-load that he has drafted father David to help out.
Rangeley said: “It is bit of a struggle getting basketball into schools, mainly because the equipment can be quite expensive, but we bring all that.
“It does help being tall to play basketball, but not necessarily and what we try to emphasise is how much fun the sport can be fun.”
Rangeley comes to his new club after a hugely successful 2016-17 campaign with Bury Spinners.
He was the leading scorer there, averaging an impressive 16 points per game.
In addition, he was in the top five in the league for three-point shooting.
He also set a season-high 31 points, including the game-winning shot in overtime in an exciting finish against Derby Trailblazers.
Heavily influenced by the highly-respected coach at Hodgson School Roy Blake, he joined Blackpool Sixth Form Academy at the age of 16, prior to having a spell training with Manchester Magic under-18s.
His spell in America was at Iowa Lakes Community College in 2011 and has always been keen on fostering the sport and co-founded Blackpool Junior Basketball Club.