Basketball: Time for Sharks to get tough says Olu

Sharks forward Olu Babalola. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks forward Olu Babalola. Pic: Dean Woolley.
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Toughness is the key to turning Sheffield Sharks’ season around, according to forward Olu Babalola.

Atiba Lyons’ side slipped to a sixth straight defeat last time out, meaning they dropped out of the BBL Play-off positions, albeit with games in hand.

Babalola admits there a number of factors, which have contributed to Sharks’ recent slump, but ranks one above all others.

“If I’m totally honest, there isn’t one main thing that needs to change, I can think of about five major things,” said the frontcourt force.

“But ultimately they all boil down to the same thing, toughness. We have to become tougher as a team and put our will into games and situations.

“If we don’t, we’ll not win many more for the rest of the way.”

The need to pick up more wins increasing as the end of the regular season approaches, but Babalola insists there will be negative knock-on effect from falling outside the current top eight.

He added: “Slipping out of the Play-offs isn’t something we think of.

“I think that’s a loser’s mentality, which this club does not have. We play each game as they come then see where we stand after.”

Instead Sharks are focused solely on improving on their recent run, starting with a better performance at Bristol Flyers on Saturday night, who edged a thriller 73-72 back in November, although that is not how Babalola remembers it.

“We took bad shots and we shot a low percentage from the field that game,” he recalled. “But we couldn’t finish the game with a win again because of the lack of mental toughness and desire to get the job done, so this is our chance to rectify.”

After the Bristol match the Sharks will hope to use their home advantage of seven games at the EIS out of their final 10 league fixtures.