Uncertainty over Mike Tuck’s future as Sheffield Sharks prepare for busy summer
It could be the end of the road for long-serving captain Mike Tuck at Sheffield Sharks, with head coach Atiba Lyons anticipating a busy summer of change.
The 38-year-old veteran power forward, who hails from Toronto, Canada, has been with the Sharks for 12 seasons, having joined in 2009, and was named captain in 2012.
He has won four major pieces of silverware with the club, including two back-to-back BBL Cups in 2010 and 2011, the 2013 BBL Trophy, and the 2016 BBL Play-Off Final when he was awarded Most Valuable Player.
Tuck, a dual British-Canadian national, also captained the England men’s basketball team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Lyons said he will meet with his players next week to discuss their futures – but couldn’t confirm whether his skipper would still be playing next season.
He told The Star: “I don't know at this time. He's at a point in his career where he's had an illustrious career and we are going to have to look at transitioning from the Mike Tuck era to another realm.
"We have to start to think out a succession plan."
Lyons stressed a final decision has yet to be made on anyone’s future – but stated his desire to improve the team after they ended the regular season with a 15-15 record.
Tuck was part of the Sharks team which exited the BBL Play-Offs in the first round at the hands of Newcastle Eagles and netted a three-pointer to give them a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
He was unavailable for comment on Sunday.
"We need to reassess everything as a club and I am sure we have got some guys that will explore their options in Europe,” Lyons said.
"We have got to try and strengthen the roster a little bit, it will be a summer with a lot of work.
"We have a core of guys we want to return but at the same time you have got a core of guys who could possibly want to do other things. It’s way too early to tell, everyone is still shell-shocked a little bit, there’s no decisions made on anybody.”
Lyons admitted he was still hurting following after Thursday’s game. Despite leading the score for the majority of the match, the Sharks were pegged back to 81-81 with just 0.7 seconds left to play and were unable to find a response before the buzzer.
He said: “I’m still rough, it’s a kick in the gut a little bit. Well, a lot really.
"Unfortunately we didn’t get over the line but I’m very proud of the effort the team made.
“I thanked the players for the hard work and dedication. I know people all over the world are struggling, it’s been a tough year but some of these guys are overseas for the first time and away from their family. I was very proud of them.”
North American import Antwon Lillard, a small forward, was named the coaches’ player of the year, while point guard Jeremy Hemsley was crowned the club’s player of the year.
Power forward Bennett Koch was named fans’ player of the season, meanwhile.