BBL Cup Group Stage
Friday 6th November 2020
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v London Lions

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks take their 2020-21 season competitive bow this coming Friday after the longest pre-season in history. The Sharks swerve the scheduled four week lockdown due to the BBL’s status as elite sport to welcome the stellar London Lions roster to town. London, undoubtedly smarting from a 79-89 overtime defeat against Newcastle in the first game of the campaign, face a Sharks side that went 3-1 in pre-season including a shock 68-89 win over Vince Macaulay’s men in the warm-ups a fortnight ago.

What to expect

The Lions have assembled one of the most jaw-dropping rosters in BBL history. Former NBA stars in DeAndre Liggins and Byron Mullens join US college standout Kevin Ware alongside the cream of Brit talent like recent signing Fahro Alihodzic and two-time league MVP Justin Robinson. One man who needs absolutely no introduction to Sharks fans is the high flying Dirk Williams, still revered round these parts for that monster dunk against Surrey a couple of years ago. London narrowly lost in the Champions League qualifiers and now move into FIBA Europe Cup from January. Their roster is therefore necessarily long to cope with the demands of a potentially arduous season and their personnel will rotate from game to game. Whoever pulls on the Lions jersey will present the highest challenge for the Sharks and the capital side will be keen to record their first competitive win as soon as possible.

Shark Watch

The B. Braun Sharks of 2020-21 are shaping up nicely thank you very much! Returning to the blue and yellow for a twelfth season is much-loved skipper Mike Tuck and he is joined by fellow returnees Nicholas Lewis, Rob Marsden, Bennett Koch, Mackey McKnight, Marko Backovic and Nate Montgomery. Ten year BBL vet Callum Jones ventures across the Pennines from Manchester to take his Sharks bow and there is a rookie season for local product Oscar Baldwin. Brit standout Johde Campbell adds further depth to the guard positions and imports Kipper Nichols and Antwon Lillard bring huge pedigree out of college in Illinois and from Canadian basketball respectively. The Sharks took a 68-89 win in pre-season at the Copperbox a fortnight ago against a ten man Lions line up without the likes of Liggins, Mullens and Robinson. That win sparked a social media reaction and it is certain that a fired-up London outfit will be arriving in town come Friday evening.

Last time out (Pre-Season Friendly)

London Lions (Ware 22, Williams 16, Alihodzic 10) 68 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lewis 24, Nichols 15, Koch 14) 89

Fans Corner

It seems like an age but we are finally back! Unfortunately, the global pandemic currently prevents our SharkNation from attending our games in person but we hope that we can offer the next best thing. Head over to www.youtube.com/user/TheSheffieldSharks for the FREE live stream that begins at 5.50pm. And while you can’t be there in person, Atiba and the guys would appreciate all your messages of support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – send us some virtual cheer SharkNation! Stay safe and enjoy South Yorkshire’s favourite team from the comfort of your home – we hope you will be back with us soon!

Next Game

B. Braun Sharks v London Lions, Friday 6th November 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 6.00pm Tip Off, BBL Cup Group Stage

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Adam Bates