Baketball: Lyons is a happy man as he looks forward to off-court career

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Sheffield Sharks coach Atiba Lyons is looking forward to life on the sidelines as he prepares to start his first season as a retired player.

Although the American hasn’t ruled out one day pulling on a Sharks vest again, he feels it is right to concentrate on his coaching career rather than trying to combine calling plays with on court action.

He leads his team into their first pre-season match this evening (5.30pm) against National League club Birmingham A’s at the English Institute of Sport.

He said: “I’m feeling very happy with my decision to retire and I’m looking forward to improving as a coach. I still love to play and I’ve been practicing with the team since we came back but it’s hard to do both. You can either coach or you can play, it’s difficult to combine the two.

“I’ll register as a player but will be there only for an emergency. I want to win and will do what’s best for the team.”

Sharks new signings Gage Daye, Micah Williams and Nashid Beard are expected to make their debuts for the club later.

Lyons described Daye as a ‘good scorer’ who is expected to run the point-guard duties in the backcourt.

Williams is more of a wing player who enjoys driving to the basket, while 6ft 9in Beard will play the power forward spot, which will allow Canadian Mike Tuck to be centre. Olu Babalola can then play his preferred small forward position.

There’s expected to be a greater role off the bench for young Sharks player George Brownell this season. He has been brought into the senior squad on a regular basis.

Sheffield begin their BBL campaign on Friday, September 21 at the EIS against league new boys East London Royals.

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