Bradford College, home of the Bradford Dragons, are hosting the England under-18 squad this Christmas as the youngsters continue their preparations for the European Championships.

Next year’s tournament will be held in Turkey and England face a tough test in group B alongside last year’s finalists Croatia, basketball giants Lithuania and current senior European champions France.

The squad are training at Bradford College’s Trinity Green sports facilities this weekend before heading to Manchester to compete in the Haris Memorial Tournament, an annual event conceived by English basketball legend John Amaechi.

New national under-18 manager Samuel Messam is leading the camp as England look to nurture their youth in a bid to be competitive internationally. They will also be coached by Karl Brown, head coach of Leicester Warriors and a former Sky Sports NBA pundit.

Messam, who was appointed this month, said: “I am delighted to be a part of the England under-18 programme and to contribute to what we hope will be a successful tournament.

“We aim to prove to Europe and the world that we are a basketball nation and we can compete internationally.”

Born in Nottingham, 43-year-old Messam has become the hub of basketball development in Bradford.

He is also assistant coach of the Dragons first team, a sports coaching lecturer at Bradford College and is head of the basketball academy at the college, who recently won the regional finals involving their counterparts in the north on England.