SHEFFIELD Sharks legend Todd Cauthon says his former club have the chance to shock Leicester Riders in the first round of the play-offs, but they must play smart to do so.
After a disappointing regular season that saw Sharks finish seventh in the BBL Championship with an overall record of 13 wins and 17 losses, Sheffield will enter the play-offs in the unusual position of being the underdog.
Leicester have had one of their best ever seasons to be runners-up behind champions Newcastle Eagles.
And with three heavy defeats against the Riders already it seems as though the Sharks will struggle over the two legs - first match on Friday at the EIS, second at Leicester of Sunday.
However, Cauthorn insists that a shock could happen.
He said: “I’ve seen three of Sheffield’s last four home matches so I know how they’re playing at the moment.
“The difference can be Olu Babalola. If they can get the ball into him in the post positions that is far preferable to when he gets it outside and the offence stalls.
“Mike Tuck, too. He needs to do more screen and rolls, and less screen and pops. If he’s not going to the basket then no one is there to pick up the rebounds.
“A lot of the time it has been dribble, dribble, dribble and the offence hasn’t been run with 12-13 seconds left on the shot clock. The passing needs to be quicker - the ball moves faster than the man.”
The away leg on Sunday will be played at Loughborough University rather than the Riders’ usual home court of the John Sandford Centre in the city.
Cauthorn thinks this could be an opportunity for the Sharks.
He said: “It’ll be almost like two aways matches for Leicester with them not playing at a place where they have a good home floor advantage.
“Sharks have to come out fast tomorrow and put the pressure on Leicester from the start.”
Sharks are re-launching their Junior basketball teams, in conjunction with the senior team for next season.
The programme will consist of two nationally competing age groups at U16 and U18 with provision for two development squads to give younger players the opportunity to play above their age groups.
A trial for players aged between 14-18 will take place on Monday May 7 at EIS - Sheffield. Registration will be from 9:30am. Contact Joel Mills on 0114 257 3180 or email on email@example.com