Sharks point-guard Ryan Patton has paid tribute to Newcastle Eagles injured sharp-shooter Joe Chapman.
The American suffered a season ending achilles tendon injury last weekend, which is the latest blow to the Eagles roster.
With player-coach Fab Flournoy already out due to pneumonia it will be a threadbare, but still talented, line-up that greets the Sharks in the north-east tonight (Friday).
Patton says it was distressing when he heard about Chapman’s injury but still thinks Newcastle will have plenty to worry the Sharks defence:
“I really feel for Joe Chapman, it’s never good news to hear that a player has got hurt like that, and I hope he has a speedy recovery. He’s a great player and a great guy.
“Everyone knows all about Trey Moore and Charles Smith, and they’re shooting the lights out at the moment. They’re a well coached team, and the other guys do the little things for them.
“It’s a difficult place to play at, but if we’re going to win the league we have to win the game.”
Sharks may start the match as underdogs, but that has seen them be at their most dangerous this season.
The guard trio of Patton, Marcus Stout and Steve Dagostino have been one of the main reasons why the Sharks are still contending in the league title race and already have the BBL Cup safely tucked away.
Stout (31 points) and Dagostino (27 points) were instrumental in Saturday’s impressive win at Plymouth Raiders.
Patton said: “It was a good win, and it’s always a difficult place to get a result so it was great to come out with a win.
“Marcus Stout had a great game, and he does it all for us. Dags [Steve Dagostino] had a good game and Paul Williams stepped up. But it was an all-round team effort, and when we play well as a team, we’re hard to beat.”
The last time Sharks and Eagles met was on January 2 when the visitors destroyed Sharks 112-79 at the EIS.