No return for Atiba as Jets fly in for cup test

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SHEFFIELD Sharks coach Atiba Lyons has ruled out any plans to return to playing despite his team’s poor start to the season.

Three defeats and no wins have left the Sharks bottom of the BBL Championship and desperate to get their first victory on the board.

This weekend a tough double-header awaits with the visit of Cheshire Jets tonight (7.30pm) in the BBL Cup at the EIS and then the journey to Guildford to take on Surrey Heat in the Championship.

Lyons, aged 30, retired from playing during the summer to focus on his coaching duties with the Sharks, Sheffield Hallam University and the club’s junior teams.

He said he backs his young team to get over their early season struggles: “I’m not planning to return to the court anytime soon. I think the games we lost so far come down to youth.

“We are very young this season and we need to make adjustments sooner than later to be successful this season.

“Some teams need more time than others to gel. We also have a key import spot still to fill which I hope will help put a handle on the boards and make our rotations a little deeper.”

Sharks are the only team to have lifted the BBL Cup more than twice and the only side to have retained it.

Lyons is expecting a difficult test against Cheshire: “The Jets will be a tough team for us.

“We have struggled so far this season taking care of the ball and rebounding so that is our focus this game.

“We need the mindset to limit easy transition points and turnovers for scores.”

With a fortnight off since their last match against the Heat, Lyons and his squad have been working hard to over-come their problems: “We have worked all week on small details of the game like boxing out, screening, and transition defence.

“We need to be a scrappy hard-nosed team that guts out wins right now.

“We are not the type of team built on rolling the balls out and having a shoot out.”