Ten days before his debut for the Linbraze Arrows, Chris Dixon was hard at work in Atlanta’s YMCA gym teaching people about the power of basketball, on and off the court.
And ten hours before his first game for the Killamarsh club, Dixon was still somewhere over the Atlantic after his flight to the UK was delayed by six hours!
Dixon, a product of the Team USA Select organisation under coach Sean Kilmartin, eventually arrived in Sheffield just four hours before the Arrows’ game against London Westside.
Armed only with his kit, he shook off the jet-lag and laced up his boots, helping the Arrows to a narrow 85-80 win which keeps them second in their division.
Dixon opened his Arrows account with two free throws and a clever finish in the first quarter, then iced the game from the line some 60 minutes later to cap a winning debut.
Despite never meeting his new team-mates before the warm-up, Dixon linked up well withcaptain James Kelly.
“It was an impressive effort on debut from Chris,” Kelly said.
“His pedigree is great and I look forward to learning from him on and off the court.
“He is a most welcome addition to our squad and will help us face the tough challenges ahead with greater confidence.”
Dixon finished the game with 20 points, four behind Arrows’ top-scorer Callum McCallum. Joseph Baugh added 16.
“I’m just grateful and excited for the opportunity to help this team win games,” Dixon said.
“I know and have worked with former Arrow Noah Brown who told me what a great experience he had enjoyed and how he continues to feel part of the family.
“I would like to thank the management and coaches for allowing me to become a part of this same Arrows family. It was fun on my debut but I can, and will, play better.”
n Meanwhile, the City of Sheffield Saints were on the road after a four-week break to face Sefton Stars, crashing to a 79-65 defeat.
Saints started off really well, with threes from Jake Chilver, Sam Grainger & Pete Olusoga, and excellent rebounding from an under-the-weather Javan Hayles helping them to a 17-19 lead at the end of the opening period.
Sefton came back fighting in the second quarter, albeit helped by the visitors getting into early foul trouble, turning the ball over and missing five free throws as the home side went into the break 40-26 up.
And Sefton were able to continue scoring quite freely after that but although Saints showed more tenacity, with excellent defence from Chilver and Olusoga, more missed free throws still had them down 62-39 at the end of the third period.
Sefton, with a short bench, were soon in foul trouble and with two players fouling out in the fifth minute of the final quarter, Saints restricted the home side to eight points while they scored 19 and began to see the possibility of a win.
But missed free throws again proved to be Saints’ weak spot: they missed nine in a row, failing to take advantage of Sefton going down to four players.
The depleted home side still managed to outscore their visitors 9-8 in the final two minutes, winning 79-65.
n Saints scorers: Pete Olusoga 16, Sam Grainger 11, Marcus Welsh 9, Callum McKenzie, David Frost & Javan Hayles 7, Jake Chilver 6, Lewis Heenan2, Markus Kampourakis.
Saints play Nottingham Hoods at All Saints at 2pm tomorrow.