BBL Championship

Sunday 6th December 2020 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Surrey Scorchers

BBL Cup Group Stage

Monday 7th December 2020 – Leicester Riders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

A testing run of four games in nine days comes to an end as the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks face back to back encounters across Sunday and Monday. The free-scoring Surrey Scorchers visit Ponds Forge on Sunday for the second game of the BBL Championship season and the Sharks, sadly already out of the competition, wind up the BBL Cup group stage on the road in Leicester on Monday evening.

What to expect – Surrey Scorchers

The Scorchers ended their BBL Cup group with a 3-3 record although two of those wins came through Covid-related 20-nils after Bristol Flyers were unable to play. Surrey usually pile the points on the board and have been a little down on their usual prolific output so far. However, the Sharks know how effective Connor Cashaw is all over the court. Cashaw is pulling the strings at point guard for Surrey, a role slightly different from his time in Sheffield but he is guaranteed to be productive especially when bringing the likes of Tayo Ogedengbe and Lovell Cook into the game. The Scorchers recently defeated Worcester Wolves by 76-72 thanks to a big fourth quarter and the signs are that Creon Raftopoulos’ are ready to turn up the heat once again.

What to expect – Leicester Riders

The Riders form one of the ‘big three’ that the Sharks have faced already. Leicester have a 3-2 record and will top the group if they beat the Sharks. Be it first or second, the Riders are guaranteed a home tie against Worcester, Bristol or Glasgow. Leicester have lost Raheem May-Thompson and Mo Walker to injury but don’t seem any worse for running a reduced roster as Corey Johnson (14.8 ppg 5.2 rpg) and Geno Crandall (14.8 ppg 6.8 apg) have stepped up to great effect. GB big Ali Fraser recently signed on the dotted line to bolster Coach Rob Paternostro’s forward options and there can be few doubts that the East Midlands outfit will once again be one of the main contenders for silverware.

Shark Watch

There was an impressive debut for new signing Jeremy Hemsley in their televised league opener against a vastly-improved Cheshire Phoenix. Despite the 82-92 loss, Hemsley, who only gained clearance minutes before the tip, grew visibly into the game, lighting up the second half with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. With minutes under his belt, hopes are high that the former San Diego State man will be the scoring boost that the Sharks need.

The Leicester encounter is something of a dead rubber given that the Sharks are already out of the Cup but it is important that the game is played for the integrity of the competition. Indeed, the opportunity to integrate Sharks’ new arrival even further and to give valuable minutes to the whole roster is an equally important one and will stand the Sharks in good stead for games to come.

Last Time Out

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Cashaw 20 Marsden 14 Lewis / McKnight 12) 81 Surrey Scorchers (Cook 18 White 17 Payne 14) 76

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Nichols 13 McKnight 12 Marsden 10) 64 Leicester Riders (Johnson 20 Washington 15 Nelson-Henry 14) 85

Fans Corner

Remember, all games in the BBL are FREE this weekend. To watch, all you need to do is sign up at www.bblplayer.co.uk. Registration is free and there is no commitment to purchase after this weekend if you don’t want to. From next week, you can buy a Monthly Game Pass, which covers all games live and on demand for £19.99 a month. Or if you want to pick and choose, single game passes will cost £4.99. All money goes directly to the clubs – you can nominate which club to support if you buy the monthly pass. We’re doing the best we can to give you the team you deserve – any support you can give us in return this way is undoubtedly greatly appreciated!

Next Games

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Surrey Scorchers, Sunday 6th December 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 3pm tip off

Leicester Riders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Monday 7th December 2020, Morningside Arena, 8pm tip off

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Adam Bates