Sheffield Sharks hit the cup trail once again this Friday as Cheshire Phoenix fly into town for a BBL Cup quarter final tie.
The North West side hired vastly-experienced American coach John Coffino over the summer and have recruited accordingly.
Coffino has recently been shorn of Great Britain international Gareth Murray, who has departed for Challans in France.
But he remains active in recruitment terms with former Denver Nuggets NBA star Julius Hodge and 6’ 10” centre Lester Prosper being the latest additions this week to an already talented squad. Prosper is expected to make his debut against the Sharks.
The signing of Hodge is a particular coup for Cheshire. The 6ft 7in, 30-year-old was a first round NBA draft pick in 2005, going on to represent Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks.
Sharks Coach Atiba Lyons will be hoping for fewer tricks and hopefully more treats of the kind that young Guard Nick Lewis served up in their 96-80 win over Manchester a fortnight ago.
Lewis poured in 20 points in a convincing all-round display and Lyons will be hoping for further success in a competition that the Sharks last won in 2011.
The Sharks were without a game last weekend, which is never an ideal scenario for a side looking to improve on their current record of three wins and two losses.
Cheshire, on the other hand, finally gained a win by 89-86 over Glasgow, having run two of the top sides in Leicester and Newcastle extremely close in recent weeks.
The Sharks will be aiming to go one better than last season, where they fell at the semi-final stage of both knockout competitions.
But it will take a performance of some magnitude for the Sharks to avoid a Halloween horror show, overcome the talents of the like of Hodge and his team-mates and progress towards the final at Birmingham’s NIA in January.
Tip-off is at 7.30pm at the English Institute of Sport.