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Surrey Scorchers

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Surrey Scorchers

Surrey Scorchers is a basketball club based in Guildford, Surrey that currently competes in the British Basketball League. The team play its home games at the Surrey Sports Park.

The franchise was formed in 2005 as the Guildford Heat by fans of former BBL team Thames Valley Tigers, who folded during the same year. The club enjoyed plenty of success in their early history, even appearing in the ULEB Cup in 2007, but have since fallen on hard times and in 2012 the franchise was rebranded as Surrey Heat. Following the sale of the club by former owner Alison Reeve, the club was rebranded again as Surrey United in September 2013. From June 2015, the franchise was wholly owned by Surrey Sports Park and based full-time at the University of Surrey-owned facility. The franchise was rebranded as "Surrey Scorchers".


  • Franchise history 1
    • Basketball in Guildford 1.1
    • Phoenix from the flames 1.2
    • 2006-07 season 1.3
    • 2007-08 season 1.4
    • 2008-09 season 1.5
    • 2009-10 season 1.6
  • Logos 2
  • Home arenas 3
  • Season-by-season records 4
  • Trophies 5
    • League 5.1
    • Playoffs 5.2
    • Trophy 5.3
    • Cup 5.4
  • Players 6
    • Current roster 6.1
    • Notable former players 6.2
    • Retired numbers 6.3
  • Head coaches 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Franchise history

Basketball in Guildford

The town of Guildford has been home to several elite basketball teams down the years. With the opening of the Guildford Spectrum, the successful Kingston team uprooted, moved in and renamed themselves as the Guildford Kings in 1992, briefly calling the place home until they folded in 1994, as did the Guildford Pumas before they relocated to Sutton in 1999. However it was the first major team, the Guildford Pirates who played in the town from 1975 to 1982 that would come back to figure prominently in the birth of the new club, the Guildford Heat.

In 1982, the Pirates moved to nearby Bracknell, becoming the Bracknell Pirates and later the Thames Valley Tigers. For many years, the Tigers were one of the front runners of the British basketball scene, winning the league Championship in 1994, but it was in the new millennium that the successes dried up and for owner John Nike, the team was too much of a financial burden. In April 2005, he announced that he would no longer be funding the basketball franchise nor his ice hockey franchise Bracknell Bees.[1]

Immediately a consortium of Tigers fans was formed to save the club. Headed by local businessman Mike Davies, they put together a viable package to take over the administration and running of the team. However, Nike failed to reach agreement in time for them to lease the franchise, and the deadline for entry into the British Basketball League for the 2005-06 season was reached.[2] The Tigers' BBL membership thus lapsed, but the fans obtained permission from the League to enter a new team in its place, and successful negotiations with The Spectrum in Guildford led to the birth of the Guildford Heat franchise.[3]

Phoenix from the flames

The Heat played their first ever league game on 1 October 2005 against the Newcastle Eagles at the Metro Radio Arena, losing in overtime 89-88. The very next night they defeated the Leicester Riders in the BBL Cup 69-65 at home. Heat’s rookie season saw victories over established teams such as London Towers, Plymouth Raiders, Brighton Bears, and reigning Champions, Chester Jets, amongst others, making the Heat a success and a true phoenix from the flames of the Tigers franchise.

They ended the season with an impressive record of 20-20, finishing 5th in the league and qualifying for the post-season Play-offs, a remarkable achievement for the new team. In the first round of the Play-offs, playing away from home, Heat demolished the London Towers 99-81. However the opposition in the Semi-finals, the all-conquering Newcastle Eagles proved too much and Heat succumbed to a 115-97 defeat. They also made the Semi-final of the BBL Trophy, but missed out on a final following a nail-biting home defeat at the hands of eventual Runner-up, Leicester.

2006-07 season

The arrival of American swingman Daniel Gilbert from Germany was a major coup for the Heat during the summer of 2006, proving playcaller Paul James still has great ability in spotting stars of the future. Guildford kick-started the season with a close away victory against the Scottish Rocks, 95-91, starting a three-game winning streak in the Championship. Heat also qualified for their first-ever cup final appearance after defeating the Sheffield Sharks 87-81 in the Semi-final of the BBL Cup.

On 12 December 2006 the club announced their first major sponsorship agreement with French chimney manufacturers Poujoulat, in what was reported as potentially a six-figure deal.[4] As a result of the contract, which was agreed to run through to May 2008, the team was renamed as Poujoulat Heat Guildford to incorporate the sponsor’s name.

Just 18 months since the franchise's foundation, the Guildford Heat picked up their first piece of silverware on 7 January 2007, with an 81-78 win in the BBL Cup final against the Scottish Rocks.[5] Over 600 Guildford fans travelled up to the National Indoor Arena, in Birmingham to see their team clinch the trophy in front of a bumper crowd of 3,785 people.

Despite seemingly looking to run away with the League title, the Heat's season suffered a huge blow when a knee injury to Chad McKnight against the Sheffield Sharks on 3 February, effectively ruled the American out for the remainder of the campaign. The player was subsequently released, assumingly for the long-term injury. However a month later, The Independent broke the news that McKnight had been issued with a three-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana, along with former Leicester star Steve Bucknall, who had also been released by his club.[6] A statement from the club confirmed McKinght was released because of the failed drugs test, though the player denied ever using the banned substance.[7]

The Heat secured the 2006-2007 League title thanks to a highly impressive 114-85 victory over London United at the Spectrum on 8 April. It was the first League title in the franchise's history at just the second time of asking. The following week the Heat once again played host to London United in the BBL Play-off Quarter-final, with a place at the Finals Weekend up for grabs. The Heat managed to win the match 71-68 but in the Semi-final, they were defeated 71-78 by the Scottish Rocks, despite being the top seed. For the incredible rise to success, Coach Paul James was awarded by his peers as the Coach of the Season for 2006-07.[8]

Following the end of Guildford’s successful double winning season, they also became the first ever BBL team to achieve Sport England Clubmark Level 4 accreditation of quality. Clubmark is a scheme designed to encourage clubs to reach various levels of national standards in the community development work they deliver. Heat are only the 9th team in the country to have achieved this accreditation, and this in addition to being recently named by England Basketball as the country's 10th biggest academy.[9]

2007-08 season

Following on from the successes of the previous season, the Heat were admitted into the ULEB Cup for the 2007-2008 season, as Britain's sole representatives in European competition, and the first British team to compete in Europe since the Brighton Bears' appearance in the 2003-04 season.[10] The Heat were drawn against DKV Joventut of the Spanish ACB; Germans Alba Berlin; Turk Telekom from Ankara, Turkey; BC Šiauliai of Lithuania and, KK Bosna of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[11]

Guildford Heat won the inaugural pre-season BBL Cup Winners' Cup with a 176-168 aggregate win over two legs against the Plymouth Raiders. The competitive season started with an 90-83 victory away to the previous season's play-off winners, the Newcastle Eagles on 21 September. The two sides had collected nine of the last ten pieces of BBL silverware between them, so it was just the start the Guildford Heat needed in their bid to retain the League title.

On 6 November the Heat embarked on their biggest adventure yet, when they played in their first ever European game in the ULEB Cup, away to KK Bosna in Sarajevo just two years after the Heat had been established. Despite the huge anticipation, the Heat lost to the greater experience of KK Bosna, going down 68-84, with big summer signing Carlton Aaron scoring Heat's first ever points in Europe.[12] This was also to be the last game team captain and point guard Brian Dux would play before a horrific car accident in the early hours of 10 November, which left him in a coma. It took Surrey Police two hours and 20 minutes to attend to the scene of the incident.[13] Frimley Park Hospital consultants took into consideration the possibility that Dux may have suffered permanent disability.[14] Several weeks later Dux regained consciousness and returned home to the USA with his family.[15] Meanwhile, on court, the Heat had their first home game in the ULEB Cup against Spanish giants, DKV Joventut. To comply with ULEB’s regulations, the team had to switch from playing at their usual venue to that of the Guildford Flames and their ice hockey rink (also housed at the Spectrum), which provided the minimum 2,400 capacity venue required.[16] Despite a brave performance, the Heat went down 61-95. Although performances were to improve as the competition went on, the Heat missed the experienced leadership of Brian Dux and finished their ULEB Cup campaign with an 0-10 record.

Mike Martin Lifts the BBL Trophy.

Domestically, the team maintained a strong assault in the league, hovering near the top of the table for much of the winter period, although they failed in their defence of the BBL Cup at the hands of the Milton Keynes Lions, going down 80-91 in the Semi-final. Coach Paul James let go disappointing centre, Carlton Aaron,[17] and brought in the experienced point-guard E.J. Harrison for Brian Dux, replacing Aaron with Ajou Deng,[18] brother of the Chicago Bulls and Team GB star, Luol Deng.

On 2 March 2008, the Guildford Heat fought back from a half-time deficit to win the BBL Trophy for the first time in its history, defeating the Newcastle Eagles 86-79 at the Plymouth Pavilions. The Heat's EJ Harrison picked up the MVP award after scoring 25 points.[19] However, in a crucial crunch game with title challengers, the Newcastle Eagles, the League Title was lost after a thrilling over-time victory for the Eagles. Despite the Heat being 18 points ahead going into the 4th quarter, the game finished 108-101 to the Eagles and Fab Flournoy's team were crowned champions.[20]

After sweeping aside rookie franchise Everton Tigers 81-72 in the Play-off Quarter-finals, the Heat then secured their place in the final with an emphatic 81-66 win over the Plymouth Raiders at the Finals Weekend, on 3 May. The Play-off Final, held on the following day, saw Guildford up against the season’s surprise package, the Milton Keynes Lions, who had just disposed of the Newcastle Eagles in the Semi-final. However it was experience that prevailed and the Heat claimed another trophy with a 100-88 victory, Danny Gilbert posting 27 points and taking the Finals MVP award.

Following on from the season’s achievements, the franchise was again invited into the ULEB Cup for the upcoming season, but the club opted not to be included.[21]

2008-09 season

The Heat started off the 2008-2009 pre-season with the announcement of signing former Heat favourite Kabir Abu,[22] as well as American Keonta Howell and Croatian star Hrvoje Pervan.[23] However it was revealed weeks later that Pervan’s transfer had broken down due to administrative errors.[24] Among those returning from the previous season were Heat Captain, Mike Martin, point-guard, EJ Harrison, and shooting guard, Dean Williams, while Heat fan-favourite Chad McKnight also rejoined the Heat after a one-year stint at the Leicester Riders. The line-up was completed with the signing of British big man Alan Metcalfe[25] and shooting guard Daniel Sandell.

Heat Captain Mike Martin in Action.

The new campaign began with the Heat retaining the Cup Winners Cup. They defeated the previous season's BBL Cup winners, the Milton Keynes Lions, over two legs, winning both games 91-89 at the Spectrum and 68-60 at the Bletchley Centre. The first league game saw the Heat suffer defeat on the road against the Newcastle Eagles, losing a tight affair 81-86. A run of mixed results found the team languishing in mid-table by November, while the team went out of the BBL Cup, beaten over two legs by the Plymouth Raiders in the Semi-finals. The Heat lost both games, going down 73-80 in the first leg at home and 69-74 on the road.

The new year started brightly, and thanks to two victories in two days over London Capital (104-80) and the Milton Keynes Lions (101-99), the Heat booked their place in the Semi-final of the Trophy. However, all wasn’t well behind closed doors, and following the exit of previous Chairman and main sponsor Robert Banks, the club announced on 12 February 2009 that it had gone into administration but with a buyout imminent.[26] The franchise’s assets were purchased by local businessman Alan McClafferty, a Heat fan and volunteer coach in the club’s youth setup.[27]

Back on the court, the Heat renewed their rivalry with the Plymouth Raiders in the Trophy Semi-final. The Heat triumphed in the two-leg match-up, winning both games for a comfortable 187-161 aggregate victory. This sent the Heat to the Trophy Final, which was played at Heat’s home court, the Spectrum, on 15 March, where they met the Newcastle Eagles. Despite a 30-point haul from Keonta Howell, the Heat went down 71-83, suffering under a 44-29 second-half onslaught from the Eagles.[28]

Just days after securing a place in the Play-offs, with a 74-65 win at home against the Milton Keynes Lions, club Managing Director Alan McClafferty announced that coach Paul James would not have his contract renewed at the end of the season.[29] The Heat finished the regular season in 4th place with a 21-12 record, qualifying for the Play-off Quarter-final with home court advantage. Drawn against the Plymouth Raiders, which marked the eighth time the two teams had met that season, the Heat suffered a disappointing end to the season, going down 81-89. A lone high-note was that American Keonta Howell was voted into the BBL All-Star first team after coming 3rd in the voting for the MVP award.[30]

2009-10 season

After Paul James’ departure as coach of the first team, the club quickly appointed Chad McKnight as player/coach on 8 July and subsequently brought back Mike Davies as General Manager.[31] The fans were also pleased when the Heat announced that Captain Mike Martin was back and had signed a three-year contract to play for the Heat.[32] However, other players decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Heat stalwart Dean Williams went to the Essex Pirates,[33] where he was joined by Alan Metcafle, while point-guard EJ Harrison joined the Milton Keynes Lions.[34] With back-up point-guard and long-time Heat player, Jon May, joining the EBL outfit Reading Rockets, Chad McKnight had a rebuilding job on his hands.

The club brought in several new faces, including BBL veteran Julius Joseph and up-and-coming young England star, Tayo Ogedengbe. McKnight also brought in two Americans in explosive point-guard Aaron Drakeford and swing man Kenny Langhorne (who replaced Keonta Howell who decided not to return to the Heat after two years there). Key man off the bench the season before, Daniel Sandell, also rejoined the club.[35]

The new-look team opened their season with an easy 95-65 victory away to London Capital, and compiled a six-game unbeaten run at home with wins against such teams as the Everton Tigers, Newcastle Eagles and Milton Keynes Lions. However, the team's form on the road left something to be desired and after the opening win against London Capital, the Heat lost their next five games away from Guildford. Things got worse in December, when the Heat lost their 100% home record, losing 83-97 to the table-topping Sheffield Sharks. This was the start of a six-game losing streak, halted by a New Year's Day win against the Essex Pirates and finally a triumph on the road, a 74-72 win against the Leicester Riders in the BBL Trophy.

By now the team was struggling with injury. Daniel Sandell had been sidelined for most of the season with a knee injury. The victory against the Riders marked his comeback and was a personal triumph as he came off the bench to turn the game around with some deadly three-point shooting. However, other team members, including Aaron Drakeford and Kenny Langhorne, were carrying injuries and being asked to play big minutes due to a short bench. Worse still, Heat Captain Mike Martin injured his knee and was eventually forced to shut down for the season, making just three appearances after January. In his absence, Julius Joseph stepped up his game and carried the team on several occasions, going on to be the team's top scorer for the season with 17.6 points per game. Player-coach Chad McKnight also stepped up his game, hitting 30 points or more in three consecutive games, including a career-high 39 points.

The Heat won against London Capital on 10 January, meaning that they had got 2010 off to a good start with a three-game winning streak. However, they won just twice more in 18 games as they plummeted down the table to finish a lowly 11th, the first time in club history that they had failed to qualify for the play-offs.

On 14 December it had been officially announced that the 2009-10 season would be Heat's last at the Spectrum, with the franchise moving to the brand-new Surrey Sports Park for the 2010-11 season.[36] On court it was all change too as the club announced that Chad McKnight would not return as player-coach, Creon Raftopoulous stepping in as head coach for the new 2010-11 season.[37]


Home arenas

Guildford Spectrum (2005-2010)
Surrey Sports Park (2010-present)

Season-by-season records

Season Division Tier Regular Season Post-Season Trophy Cup Head Coach
Finish Played Wins Losses Points Win %
Guildford Heat
2005–2006 BBL I 5th 40 20 20 40 0.500 Lost in Semi-finals to Newcastle Eagles, 115–97 Semi-finals (BT) Quarter-finals (BC) Paul James
2006–2007 BBL I 1st 36 29 7 58 0.806 Lost in Semi-finals to Scottish Rocks, 71–78 1st Round (BT) Winners (BC) Paul James
2007–2008 BBL I 2nd 33 24 9 48 0.727 Winners in Final against Milton Keynes Lions, 100–88 Winners (BT) Semi-Finals (BC) Paul James
2008–2009 BBL I 4th 33 21 12 42 0.636 Lost in Quarter-finals to Plymouth Raiders, 81–89 Runners-up (BT) Semi-finals (BC) Paul James
2009–2010 BBL I 11th 36 11 25 22 0.305 Did Not Qualify Semi-finals (BT) 1st Round (BC) Chad McKnight
2010–2011 BBL I 7th 33 17 16 34 0.515 Lost in Quarter-finals to Newcastle Eagles, 192–180 Runners-up (BT) 1st Round (BC) Creon Raftopoulos
2011–2012 BBL I 8th 30 12 18 24 0.400 Lost in Quarter-finals to Newcastle Eagles, 167–125 1st Round (BT) 1st Round (BC) Creon Raftopoulos
Surrey Heat
2012–2013 BBL I 4th 33 21 12 40 0.636 Lost in Semi-finals to Newcastle Eagles, 202–178 Quarter-finals (BT) Quarter-finals (BC) Creon Raftopoulos
Surrey United
2013–2014 BBL I 11th 33 4 29 8 0.121 Did Not Qualify 1st Round (BT) 1st Round (BC) Jack Majewski
2014–2015 BBL I 13th 36 5 31 0.139 Did Not Qualify Quarter-finals (BT) 1st Round (BC) Jack Majewski
Surrey Scorchers
2015–2016 BBL I TBC 1 1 0 1.000 TBC TBC (BT) TBC (BC) Creon Raftopoulos



  • BBL Championship Winners: 2006/07 1


  • BBL Play Off Winners: 2007/08 1


  • BBL Trophy Winners: 2007/08 1


  • BBL Cup Winners: 2006/07 1
  • BBL Cup Winners' Cup Winners: 2007/08; 2008/09 2


Current roster

The following information is established according to the official websites of the team ( and Britain's top professional league, the BBL (

Notable former players

Retired numbers

Head coaches

As of 4 June 2011

Name From To Regular Season Play-offs Notes
Paul James 2005 2009 94 48 5 3
Chad McKnight 2009 2010 12 27 0 0 Player/coach
Creon Raftopoulos 2010 2013 27 31 0 2
Jack Majewski 2013 2015 9 60 0 0
Creon Raftopoulos 2015 Present 0 0 0 0

See also


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External links

  • Official Surrey Scorchers website
  • Surrey Scorchers on Facebook
  • Surrey Scorchers on Twitter

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