Friday 29th January 2021
Leicester Riders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
In a change to the advertised fixture, the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks take the short journey down the M1 to Leicester to take on the home town Riders. Secure play protocols meant that Worcester Wolves were unavailable for the scheduled game and so focus changes to the Riders, currently third and 6-1 in the BBL table.
What to expect
Leicester are currently part of the ‘big three’ challenging for honours at the top of the standings. They have lost only once in the last five, to leaders London by 73-74, and last weekend were utterly dominant in beating Glasgow 90-58. Point guard Geno Crandall has been the real standout on the Riders of 2020-21. He is currently putting up 14.6 points per game, pulling down 6.3 boards and dishing out 5.3 assists in a variety of inventive ways. Crandall only contributed 2 points in the last meeting between the two sides but this must be seen as the exception rather than the norm as he is clearly one of the players that has lit up the BBL this season. Riders’ William Lee is used to life above the rim with 8.3 rebounds per game and the midlanders have solid three point threats in Corey Johnson and Zach Jackson. Brits Conner Washington and Jamell Anderson have been part of Rob Paternostro’s rosters for many years so know exactly the Riders secrets of success. It could be argued that Leicester are currently the form team in the BBL and certainly formidable in their own Morningside Arena.
The Sharks focus is now solely on the league after the narrow 63-69 to Plymouth in the BBL Trophy last weekend. A super last quarter almost got them over the finishing line in a thrilling end to the game and at least confirmed the manner in which the team can play. Keys to forthcoming success will be performing for the full forty minutes, as slight lapses at the end of quarters have cost them dearly, and keeping Bennett Koch out on court when his presence is needed – little tic tac fouls being called and forcing him to the bench early in games. That said, the Sharks forthcoming opponents need to be worried about the burgeoning displays from Jeremy Hemsley. He averages 19 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game demonstrating he is a threat all over the court. Taking the game to the Riders in the manner that the former Aztec guard employs would go a long way to halting a three game mini losing streak.
Last Time Out
Leicester Riders (Lee 17 Washington 13 Nelson-Henry 13) 74 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Hemsley 20 Nichols 14 Lewis 12) 64
The schedules alter quickly but another reminder that the Sharks now travel to Leicester Riders this Friday 29th January for a 6pm tip off. As usual the game can been seen live on the BBL Player (www.bblplayer.co.uk). This final game of January is a prelude to a jam-packed month of February so check out Atiba and the guys in this huge fixture!
Leicester Riders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Friday 29th January 2021, Morningside Arena, 6pm Tip Off