History

The roots of the Kent Crusaders began in the early 1990s when Kevin and Christine Paice, Dave Hooper and Hilli Lingham began developing junior basketball at Canterbury College. Through their work, the Canterbury Jazz and CK Heat were born.

In 2000, ex-player and young coach Jay Gifford took over the club. He was joined a year later by Canadian Jesse Sazant. Sazant took the team to new heights and the club was relaunched as the East Kent Crusaders.

The club launched their first men’s national league team in 2004 before being renamed as the Kent Crusaders in summer 2006.

The 2007/08 season also saw the start of the Kent Crusaders and Canterbury High School Basketball Academy.

In 2009, the Crusaders relocated to Medway and were rebranded the Medway Park Crusaders. This enabled the club (and especially the junior national league teams) to grow significantly, led by Sazant and Lorraine Dagger.

In 2014, the Crusaders’ men’s team formed a partnership which lasted for 5 years, with the elite academy at Barking Abbey School which led to winning the D1 Playoffs in 2015.

The contributions of Ivan Cuesta, Martin Parry, Adam Davies, Billy Beddow and Cristina Stanciuca saw the club evolve into its next stage through the 2010s. This included the launch of Mini Ballers providing basketball for 4-13 year olds, Let’s Play Ball (a school programme) and a girls national league junior programme.