Basketball: Lyons ready to play ball as Sharks season begins

Sharks coach Atiba Lyons
Sharks coach Atiba Lyons
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Sharks coach Atiba Lyons says the club are excited for the start of the BBL season which begins on Friday night (7.30) at the EIS against Durham Wildcats.

The Sharks enter the season as one of a number of clubs who could win the Championship in what could be one of the most open title races for years. Lyons said: “We’ve got everyone in now (Americans BJ Holmes and Allen Payne arrived in Sheffield this week) and we’re looking forward to the season.

“We had a really good end to last year so wants to get off to a good start.

“It will be more challenging than last season but we’re ready for it.”

Sharks will be wary of a Durham side that has improved over the seasons since making the jump from the National League to the BBL.

Lyons has worked his team hard during pre-season and says the effort is paying off.

“We’re looking better now,” he said. “We’ve had a few niggling injuries but that is the price you have to pay for getting in shape.

“It’s hard to say how we’ll play until the season starts but we hope to maintain our level.

“The main worry is that we’re the same team for the most part, so our game plan is not a secret.

Lyons has been pleased with new signing Payne. Much is expected of the 22-year-old but he has impress his new boss.

“Allen has looked good so far. He seems to be a very smart player, picking stuff up quick,” said Lyons.

Meanwhile there has been success at a junior level in the city with four boys from the Sheffield Junior Saints Basketball Club, Rickyle Anderson (Tapton School), Nathaniel Montgomery (Notre Dame School), Sol Hagan (High Storrs School) and Guido Teruzzi (Notre Dame School), having been selected to represent Yorkshire U15 this weekend at the England Basketball Regional Tournament.

Three Saints players, Jacob Cauthorn (Silverdale School), Sam van Oostrum (Silverdale School) and Greg Shaw (Tapton) also represented Yorkshire at the U17 tournament.

Cauthorn, son of former Sharks star Todd Cauthorn, and van Oostrum, brother of Great Britain international Devon van Oostrum, have now been picked for the England U17 Development Squad.

And earlier this summer JJ Wright represented Yorkshire at the U13 tournament.