Sheffield Sharks star Kipper Nichols insists revenge won’t be motivation against Newcastle Eagles
Kipper Nichols insists revenge will not be the motivation for Sheffield Sharks when they take on Newcastle Eagles.
The Sharks were dumped out of last season’s British Basketball League (BBL) play-offs in the first round by the eventual winners after they struck with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock to level the score in the second leg and progress on aggregate.
Despite the heartbreak, 24-year-old Nichols from Lakewood, Ohio, shone in that game and produced what was then a professional career-high points tally of 20.
He topped that in Sunday’s BBL Cup win against Glasgow Rocks when he notched up 26 points and 10 rebounds, which saw him crowned Most Valuable Player.
The tournament resumes on Friday when Sheffield travel to Newcastle to meet their rivals for the first time since the play-off clash in May.
Nichols told The Star the outcome ‘left a bitter taste in the mouth’, but it won’t be the Sharks’ driving force as they look to go 2-1.
He said: “We prepare for every game the same, I think we worry about ourselves more than the other team.
"We want to win every game and we will treat it as such.”
The University of Illinois graduate is beginning his second season in South Yorkshire after completing his rookie campaign ‘in challenging circumstances’, according to Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons.
More than 3,700 miles from home, Nichols spent his first year overseas playing behind closed doors and otherwise locked down at his house in Hillsborough with former team mate Antwon Lillard due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was an adjustment,” he said of that period.
"With the protocol being very prevalent at the time it was tough to get used to but overall it was a good time.”
The 6’6” small forward admits he saw little of his new surroundings, but has since been able to explore Sheffield and now has a favourite spot: a North American-inspired pancake, waffle and coffee house on Fitzwilliam Gate, close to the Sharks’ Ponds Forge base.
He said: “It’s a nice city. I have interacted with people when I can when I’m out and everybody’s been nothing but courteous and kind.
"A big part of us growing as people is seeing the world and meeting different people from different cultures and backgrounds.”