Basketball: Payne will be welcome at Sharks says Tuck

Sheffield Sharks signing Allen Payne (2) drives to the basket. for his college team Auburn. Pic courtesy of Auburn.

Sheffield Sharks signing Allen Payne (2) drives to the basket. for his college team Auburn. Pic courtesy of Auburn.

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Sheffield Sharks captain Mike Tuck says he can’t wait for the arrival of the club’s new signing Allen Payne.

Sharks have so far only added Payne to their roster with coach Atiba Lyons keeping faith with the majority of the squad that finished second in the BBL Championship last season.

Americans Jeremie Simmons and Demetrius Jemison haven’t returned to the club with Payne and point-guard talisman BJ Holmes taking up two of the three ‘permit’ slots available to Lyons.

Sharks await the arrival of Payne and Holmes while their work visas are finalised but Canadian Tuck, aged 31, said he’s excited about their arrival.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to working with the new guy Allen Payne.

“I’ve heard some really good things about him.

“He’s one of those guys who can do a lot of things for us and play lots of positions for us.

“He also seems like he’s a team player, which is exactly what we need.

“We need guys who’ll come in and fit right into the system and be a team player.”

Payne, aged 22, will arrive in Sheffield with the reputation from his Division One college in America - Auburn - of being a good team player.

He’ll join a Sharks squad that is tight-knit with Tuck calling on the club’s younger players such as Colin Sing, Zach Gachette and Nick Lewis to show they can make a big impact this season.

He said: “These young guys have come in and been here for three or four years now and I’ve had the pleasure to see them developing on and off the court.

“This year in pre-season I have seen them at their most mature. We expect big things from them.

“They’re not these kids anymore. They’re seasoned professionals and know what it takes to win.”

Sharks had an 83-69 victory at Surrey United on Sunday afternoon in their first pre-season match.

Lyons said he was pleased with his team’s performance: “We looked good; better than I thought we would.

“There’s still lots to work on and we have BJ and Allen to come in.”

Sharks and United are trying to arrange a fixture in Sheffield over the next week.

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