- National Teams
Surrey United captain Elvisi Dusha has every confidence that his side will have a better season this year despite suffering two defeats on the opening weekend of the new season.
Dusha believes things will be different this time around after last season’s disappointing 4-29 record in which their first win didn’t come until January and three of the four victories came against the now defunct Birmingham Knights.
“I genuinely think we could finish in the top 6 this season,” he stated. “We have high hopes and the playoffs are definitely a target for us.
“We really wanted to get those wins last weekend to give ourselves a huge confidence boost and send a message to the league. People are going to be like ‘same old Surrey’ but I don’t think that’s the case.”
Surrey fell to an opening night 89-73 defeat at home to London Lions before suffering a 94-74 loss on the road at Plymouth Raiders. Despite the defeats, Dusha feels his side can take heart from knowing they were competitive without playing at full strength.
“We stuck with both teams throughout most of the game while playing terrible, so it showed we can be competitive against good teams knowing we didn’t play at 100%. We haven’t brought out our full potential yet, and when we do, results will change.
“We were more gutted at how we performed than the results because how we played is not who we are. We are a completely different team and we are already looking forward to bouncing back.
“We are still getting used to each other and finding the correct roles for our players,” he added. “It’s still early and that will come with time.”
Head Coach Jack Majewski added re-enforcements with valuable BBL experience this summer with Trevor Setty (Plymouth), Kirk Crecco (Durham) and Kramer Knutson (London) all joining the team. Each of the three were somewhat under-rated last season and Dusha believes the additions can only be positive for Surrey.
“Last season, it was a stepping stone for the whole squad. This time having players like them around is great, it gives me a confidence boost and I know I can turn to them for advice because they have much more experience.
“They are all good players – Kirk knows how to get to the basket, Trevor is a great shooter, Kramer is already doing what he does best and we also have Lavione West, who’s a really good defender and outrageously athletic.”
Dusha played a key role on the team in his first season in the BBL, with a hefty workload, and finished the season with averages of 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4 assists per game in the league.
The 20-year-old point guard has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders being the leader of the team and takes great pride from the honour of being the youngest captain in the league.
“It’s an honour for me, but it comes with a lot of pressure,” Dusha admitted. “I’m delighted to be captain again because I thought I might be asked to step back with more experience around me.
“It’s something that looks good on paper, but on the court we are all captains. I will still ask the other guys for advice and I like to get everyone involved.
“I know that if I play well, it can lead to us winning. Me playing good is not just about putting the ball in the basket, it’s getting everyone on our team involved and in the right positions.”
Next up for United is a home game against Glasgow, a chance for Dusha and his side to get up and running in the win column in front of their supporters.
“I just want to win,” he said. “I’m tired of losing and this year is not going to be a losing season. I can guarantee it.
“We just want to win and get the chip off our shoulder so we can really push on. I want to see us take what we do in training into the game then I think we will have a really good game.”
Image credit: Rob Sambles Photography