Sarah Backovic’s Sharks column: John Barber’s out to make the cut in Sheffield

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The trials and tribulations of the Sharks season continued, with a heart-breaking loss in the league championship to the Worcester Wolves last Friday night - by just one basket.

On the surface of matters, the Sharks win loss ratio looks grim, but they have lost three games by a basket. What that really indicates is that the British Basketball League this season is more competitive than it has ever been - and everyone is beating anyone on any given night.

The Sharks started its season with one less American player than the majority of its counterparts, but the underestimation of the league’s strength forced the management to take another look at the requirements within the squad and finally settled on the return of John Barber Jr, from a pre-season try out.

Barber is a 6’8” power forward, experienced and bringing all his athleticism, strength and knowledge to the Sharks has certainly given the boost on court that the club needed.

Friday was the first opportunity that the team included Barber in the roster and although the result didn’t quite go the way he wanted, the performance overall showed left the club hugely optimistic.

“I would have like to have been in the squad from the beginning of the season, I think we would have been in a different position right now,” said Barber.

“I mean to say that by now we would have been experienced playing together as a unit and that would have definitely worked in our favour”.

The pedigree for Barber is a proven record.

He graduated from Youngstown State University, a Division 1 programme in Ohio, and competed in the NBA D League, followed by stints in Europe and New Zealand.

The fortune of the Sharks in securing Barber’s services relies on his partner, who is an employee of the US Air force stationed in the UK for the next three years.

“I wanted to be here with my fiancée and whilst at the same time compete in a quality basketball league and team,” he added.

“The Sharks are a great organisation with a solid history.

“We need to regain our composure and focus just one game at a time, and we will see the right results.”

The Sharks are still in competition for all silverware so far but face the formidable Newcastle Eagles tomorrow, November 28, at the EIS Sheffield, in the semi-final first leg of the BBL Cup.