Awards snub motivates the Sharks

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The Sharks are out to prove just who is best in tomorrow’s Play-off final against Mersey Tigers after being snubbed in the BBL’s end of season awards.

After a year in which they won the BBL Cup and finished third in the league - just two points behind champions Tigers - no Sharks player has made the league’s Team of the Year.

In numerous categories, including Coach of the Year, defensive team of the year, and Player of the Year, Sheffield players have been overlooked in favour of others from less successful teams such as Cheshire Jets and Newcastle Eagles.

Point-guard Steve Dagostino laughed off the slight by saying the Sharks are more concerned about winning. He said:

“Atiba (Lyons, Sharks player-coach) must be the Coach of the Year because we don’t have any of the players on any of the awards teams. It could be vice versa, too. It must be crazy. But they’re based on so many different factors.

“The one thing that everyone on this team prides themselves on is winning and that’s what we’ve been able to do. Hopefully we can pick up one last championship.”

Dagostino is sure to receive special attention from the Tigers at the NIA in Birmingham after his 35 points in January’s BBL Cup final 93-66 win.

However, the Italian/American says it is how Sheffield defends, which will determine the outcome.

He said: “I think our defence is key. They have so many different threats and they rebound the ball offensively so well, we have to keep them down. We have to play with a lot of energy and focus.”

The cup final was an obvious highlight for Dagostino in his first year in Sheffield. The dramatic play-off run that has seen Sharks battle from perilous positions in both the quarter and semi-finals ranks highly too.

He said: “Our play-off run for sure (has been the highlight). When we were down at the EIS by 16 points to Glasgow everyone kind of counted us out.

“It was weird before the second leg, nobody said anything negative. We just knew what we had to do. And it was the same against Newcastle.

“We have a smart bunch, we have a focused bunch and that’s what you need in the play-offs.

“When you go into these games you just want to give yourself a chance to win in the last couple of minutes. I just hope we’re there and we execute and come out with the win.

“That’s the one thing about our team. We have so many guys we can put out. Whatever Atiba wants me to do I’m happy with that.”