- National Teams
By Joe Hewison
The best of British basketball put on a real show in the Under-26 All-Star game at the inaugural Hoopsfix All-Star Classic – and it wasn’t just the fans who enjoyed.
MVP Matthew Bryan-Amaning led Team White to an 87-85 victory over Team White, filling the boxing score with 28 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
And he was pleased to see Britain’s best in one place, providing them with a good test early in the off-season.
“It was good, there was a good talent level,” said the 26-year-old.
“It’s been a long time since we have had an event like this in the UK.
“With myself playing in France, Dan Clark has been in Spain, Orlan Jackman in Germany, Myles Hesson also, guys have been playing in high leagues and they know the game.
“Away from the season it’s hard to find the best basketball and today we had high level guys from all over the country so you knew it was going to be a high level.”
Bryan-Amaning’s Team White led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter but he still had to make sure from the free throw line as their lead was cut to one with 15 seconds to play.
But he didn’t feel any pressure as he stepped to the stripe with the game on the line, despite taunts from the Team Black bench.
Bryan-Amining said: “To me, in these kind of games, the pressure doesn’t really get to me. It’s just a game, the ball is the same size, the basket is the same height, it doesn’t matter if it’s a two-point game or a 20-point game.
“You only get nervous if you feel like the pressure is a big thing. If I make it, I make it, if I miss, I miss.”
Hesson also showed his talents for Team White pouring in 15 points and pulling down 10 boards.
He said: “It was a good game, with a great standard and that is what the country needs.
“It was a bit harder than I thought it would be. It was really intense and everyone got after it.”
Orlan Jackman kept Team Black in the game at times, scoring 31 points and showing some nice moves all over the floor.
He was disappointed with the loss – particularly given that he is likely to hear about it in the coming months – but felt it was a great showcase for the sport.
“The whole event was amazing for basketball in this country,” said Jackman.
“It brought together the best players from each corner of the country and we played a high-intensity game, with coaches, instead of a scrimmage and open-gym, which made the games a lot more interesting – as you can see from the score.
“I was expecting a very high intensity competitive game because not only did it bring together the ballers but when it brings together the best there are always egos involved – and with egos come bragging rights and bragging rights are more obvious nowadays with social media.
“I guess you would say the better team won on the night.
“Hopefully next year I get a chance at revenge.”
Image Credit: Abdul Kassim Photography
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