BBL Week 3 Round Up

With the British Basketball League now in full flow, check out all the action from Week 3 in our weekly roundup!

Worcester Wolves are the only unbeaten team left in the BBL Championship but had to work hard for it, after being taken to overtime two nights in a row.

Thursday night saw Worcester hold on for a dramatic 63-62 overtime win at London Lions in the live BBL TV game (box score). London Lions, who had Matthew Bryan-Amaning making his BBL debut (15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 7 blocks in 23mins), gave the game away after leading by four with 29 seconds remaining. Will Creekmore had a hot start for Worcester, finishing with 17 points to lead the Wolves.

Twenty-four hours later, Worcester went the extra distance again, defeating Cheshire Phoenix 94-90, behind monster games from Will Creekmore and Zaire Taylor to remain in first place (box score).

Creekmore had a 28 point, 22 rebound (10 offensive) double double, whilst Taylor finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Reggie Middleton’s 31, 6 and 8 was not enough for Cheshire.

“A tremendous effort by the team,” said Wolves’ coach Paul James.

“We started off really well and had double figure leads in both games.

“Each time, we came out in the third quarter and lost out our way a little bit, went behind, then found ourselves a way to get back into the game and win in overtime.”

James believes the backroom team at the Wolves deserve some praise for their conditioning work with the players, which meant the likes of Zaire Taylor, who was carrying an injury, and Will Creekmore, were able to play major minutes.

“Tremendous weekend for both guys,” enthused James.

“There was no question of Zaire not playing.”

“Creekmore was just unbelievable against Cheshire, 28 points, 22 rebounds, just a phenomenal effort on his behalf. He played a lot of minutes so he’s earned himself a couple of days off!”

Glasgow Rocks’ 89-73 defeat at home to Plymouth University Raiders on Sunday saw the Scottish side lose their unbeaten record (box score). Plymouth’s Donald Robinson torched his former team for 30 points, whilst GB Future Shane Walker’s 19 point, 10 rebound double double helped Raiders to their second straight win.

Glasgow’s defeat allowed Durham Wildcats to move up to fifth place on Sunday following their 100-79 win at Surrey United. Wildcats’ Devin Ginty led the way with a 28-point haul, which included seven three-pointers, while United’s Ceslovas Kucinskas had 24 on his debut.

“Devin shot the ball extremely well,” said Wildcats’ coach Lee Davie.

“He’s one of our best spot-up shooters, so when it comes to him and if he’s got time and space, we want him to [shoot].”

Davie was delighted to have won against a battling Surrey side but still sees plenty of room for improvement.

“We did what we needed to but it wasn’t our best performance by far,” he explained.

“We did well in the first half but we took our foot off the gas in the second, not doing the things that made us successful in the first half.”

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and One Health Sharks Sheffield share second place in the table after both teams won at the weekend.

The Sharks had to withstand a mammoth 45-point haul from Birmingham’s Brent Benson on Saturday evening, escaping with a 102-95 victory on the Knights’ home debut (box score). Benson went 7/13 from three point range, 16/27 overall, adding 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in what will no doubt be one of the stat lines of the season.

It was rather more straightforward for the Newcastle Eagles, with no less than five players finishing with double doubles as they handed Birmingham a 129-70 defeat on Friday evening (box score) and then held off a late Manchester Giants rally to record a 112-98 road win on Sunday (box score) behind 32 points from Malik Cook. Stefan Gill flirted with a triple double for Manchester, finishing with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, along with 2 steals for good measure.

Finally, Leicester Riders showed their defensive prowess once more as they kept an opponent below 45 points for the second straight week, running out 78-43 winners on Sunday away to Cheshire Phoenix (box score). GB captain Drew Sullivan led Leicester with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

What are your thoughts three weeks into the season? Let us know in the comments!

  • LLC#12

    Good write up that. For the first time in quite a few seasons, I’m making an effort to watch and follow the BBL, and so far so good.

  • Morris

    Watched a BBL game, but I was so disappointed with the skill level of the game. It is all very well to talk about someone who scores 20 points or so, or someone who makes a couple of block shots, but what is important to sponsors etc., is the standard of skill shown by the teams.

    Where was the helpside, box out, fast breaks, secondary offence, offence in general, out of bounds plays and so on and so forth. Spectators about 200?

    BBL certainly has to improve.

    • 200 seems low. Was the game in Surrey?

      Lions are averaging about 1000 at their home games so far I believe. Giants’ venue only holds 1000 but was fairly full when I went last year. Glasgow, Worcester and Leicester have had good attendances so far by all accounts.

      I would say attendances are the biggest bright spot for the BBL at the moment. Hopefully that will eventually translate to better quality of play (based on what I’ve seen this season, that sadly isn’t the case).

  • LLC#12

    A bit off topic with this comment, but…

    With the amount of people that follow basketball in this country, the BBL could easily be a top 15 league in Europe within a few years I think. Look at some of the countries ahead of us, Belgium, the Netherlands? Surely Basketball has a bigger following here. I remember reading something like 300,000 people play basketball weekly in England (might be off on that one?). Whats the cumulative attendance per week in the BBL, 10,000? 15,000? What are the other 285,000 people doing?
    If even a quarter of the people in this country who follow basketball made an effort to watch the BBL, the improvement would be quite rapid. Increased attendances = increased revenue for clubs = better pay for players = better players = increased attendances = an actual avenue for young players to have a career in this country. Of the 24 teams at Eurobasket, only ONE team had less players in their squad than us playing domestically (Georgia). Of the other 24 teams at Eurobasket, only ONE (Also Georgia) also had 0 teams competing in Eurochallenge, Eurocup or Euroleague.
    What’s the average cost of a ticket for a BBL game, a tenner? Season ticket, £200? People whine about the state of the game in this country, but if you just ignore the BBL, you’re a part of the problem.

    • Couldn’t disagree more with your last comment – people are not part of the problem if they ignore the BBL.

      It’s the BBL’s job as a professional league to have a good enough offering that basketball players/fans want/are willing to pay to watch it. I’d say the reason a large part of the huge participation base don’t go to games/follow the league is because they don’t feel compelled enough to – that’s on the BBL’s product/marketing side of things.

      If I create a shitty British basketball website I should feel no entitlement for British basketball fans to visit/share the content, just because it’s UK basketball, if it’s crap.

      People shouldn’t feel they have to blindly support everything British basketball just because they are involved with it – it’s on the creators to build/market a quality product.

  • Morris

    Certainly one or two fallacies in the argument.

    People will go to watch any sport if they are (a) keen on that sport and (b) if they can watch a high standard of play. There may well be 10 to 15K BBL spectators ( but I doubt it?) but these are usually friends/family of the players, people connected in some way with the team/club (juniors/administrators and so forth) or people involved with the sport in general.

    ow many of these spectators are members of what might be described as the General Public; families etc.. who want to have a night out and an evenings entertainment.?

    To argue that it is my fault (as a member of the basketball community) that the BBL does not improve because I choose not to go and see some games, is a somewhat bizarre suggestion.

    Money these days does not grow on trees, and to pay £10 for a ticket (£40 for my family?) each week is something I would do IF and only if I could watch a really excellent game of basketball, get a professionally produced program, and have an overall entertaining evening.

    To date not one club has provided me with this.

    There are countries where basketball is not at a super high level, but are we not aiming to compete with the best European teams?

    The fault lies, solely, within the BBL, its clubs and its administration.

  • LLC#12

    My bad, I could have worded that last sentence MUCH better! I didn’t mean to insinuate that people who don’t watch the BBL are the CAUSE of the problem. I meant, the BBL’s biggest problem is that a very small % of the bball community watch it, so people that don’t watch it, are a part of a problem that the BBL has. But of course, as you both said, the actual CAUSE of the problem lies with the BBL.
    The BBL could do a better job marketing itself, but for the near future at least, the product on the floor is the same, so it’s a tough sell. If people don’t want to watch the BBL because of its standard, what can the BBL realistically do to get them to watch it?
    Articles like this will definitely help though. The BBL getting coverage on such a popular website can only be a good thing.

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