Teamwork pays as Sharks eye more glory

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Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons insists he still has a lot to learn despite guiding his team to the final of the Play-offs.

The 28-year-old New York born-Lyons has enjoyed another strong season by retaining the BBL Cup in January and finishing third in the league.

He could add to the club’s collection of silverware by winning the Play-off crown for the first time since 2004.

Standing in the One Health sponsored-Sharks way at the NIA in Birmingham are league and BBL Trophy champions Mersey Tigers.

Lyons said he is still improving as a coach: “Every season so far I have started off with a lot of new guys. Only a couple of pieces returned from last season.

“It gives me confidence; I have only been doing this three years so I don’t think I know it all by any means.

“I try and work hard, hopefully the guys I bring in do what I want them to do. I thought I brought in a good bunch of guys so I thought we’d win games. As the season went on I realised how good we were and that we needed to get some things together.

“I think they did that. After the cup final they re-focused and executed better as a team. When I saw that happening I really thought we could do big things this season.”

Lyons has worked hard to blend all his scoring options into a cohesive team unit. He admits his players have sacrificed points to make it succeed, but believes they’re all now benefiting.

He said: “That’s definitely a case of what we’ve been preaching (team play). We have said the team is bigger than individuals. If you go in there and everyone is playing for stats we won’t have success and you won’t look good in your future.

“It is about winning. Great players play on winning teams and all our guys want to be great players. You don’t have to average 30 points. If you move the ball and have a solid game you’ll win.

“The guys realised they can have a good individual season as part of a successful team.”