Three of the four BBL Cup semi-finalists are now known after Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders, One Health Sharks Sheffield and Newcastle Eagles emerge victorious on a night that also saw UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders win a close game against Manchester Giants.
2011 BBL Cup champions One Health Sharks Sheffield secured their semi-final spot with a 72-71 win against Glasgow Rocks that saw them come back from a 59-46 deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter when they scored the first 12 points and led 72-71 near the end. Tough Sharks defence twice prevented EJ Harrison from scoring the two-pointer that would have put Rocks up as the Sharks clung onto their lead.
Sharks' Micah Williams (193-G/F-88, college: E.Tenn.St.) led all scorers with 23 and Mike Tuck picked up a double-double. Rocks' Kieron Achara finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Last season's champions Newcastle Eagles had an easier time with a dominant 107-85 victory over Worcester Wolves in a game that saw some excellent 3-point shooting from Eagles. After a tight opening, Joe Chapman scored three three-pointers off three possessions, sparking a 22-7 run that would leave the Eagles up 39-23 and the Eagles continued to extend their lead throughout most of the game as they ran out winners.
Eagles point guard Damon Huffman (186-PG-85) top-scored with 25 points, made 7 of 10 shots from long range and also added 5 assists. Eagles guard and reigning BBL MVP Joe Chapman scored 23 points, converted 6 of 9 three-point attempts and had 7 assists. For the Wolves, Alex Owumi top-scored with 24.
In the final BBL Cup game, Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders earned a spot in the BBL Cup semi-finals after winning 90-74 at London Lions in a contest they led throughout. They raced out to a 26-13 lead within 8 minutes and while the Lions managed to reduce it to 39-35 with 3 minutes left in the second quarter, the Riders still finished the third quarter up 68-61. The Riders started the final stanza with a Pavol Losonsky field goal and two Zaire Taylor (193-G-86, college: Missouri) 3-pointers to score 8 unanswered points and extend their lead to 15 and from there were the better team in the final quarter.
Losonksy led the Riders scorers with 23 points and also grabbed 10 boards, while Jay Couisnard scored 18. Zaire Taylor (193-G-86, college: Missouri) finished with 17 points, plus 5 steals, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. GB captain Drew Sullivan picked up a double-double for the Riders and a game-high 7 assists. For the Lions, Orlan Jackman top scored with 24.
The only BBL Championship game saw UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders edged a tight contest with Manchester Giants 86-83 to take the BBL Championship points at Wright Robinson College. The Raiders led for much of the contest but were unable to pull away from the Giants. An 8-0 run gave them them an 81-73 lead with 4:29 remaining. Ben Eaves reduced the lead to 86-83 near the end, but Raiders forced a Giants turnover in the dying seconds to prevent a shot.
Raiders' Michael Ojo (195-G-89, college: Lehigh) led all scorers with 23 points off 8/11 field goal shooting and 100% free throw shooting while Drew Lasker scored 18 points for the Raiders, including a pair of clutch free throws near the end. David Watts led the Giants scorers with 22.
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Czech Republic [read more]
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball.
Colin O'Reilly (ex UCC Demons) takes over Cheshire Phoenix - 2 days ago
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Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Unit... [read more]
Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year.
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge. 'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.' 'It... [read more]
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge.
'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.'
'It was a great place and the people were good to me but unfortunately the project had been delayed so I had to look for opportunities elsewhere. My agent contacted me and I spoke with the GM of Contern who was very professional and we had the deal completed quickly.'
Contern's Vice President, Francis Rollinger talked about what Love can bring to his Club and what they are hoping to achieve.
'We called Gavin Love to come to Luxembourg to follow our goals and to built a young strong team for the future, furthermore Gavin is responsible for the Espoir (U21) and Cadets (U18) teams to bring up as much players as possible into the men team and to make our players better every day.'
'AB Contern is one of the biggest basketball and sports club in Luxembourg, the men team won 4 championships and 3 cups, and the team is playing since 20 years in the first division, the Total League.'
'AB Contern is known for good youth players, and we looking forward to rebuilt another good team for the future. Our goals are to include young players from the club helping the men team to be again one of the best clubs in Luxembourg.'
'Contern is a small village with 1500 habitants, 450 of which who are involved in the club, coming from 15 different communes and 40 villages. Contern has the nicest gym in the country, is a very popular and traditional club, who is investing in the men and women team as well, followed by a big youth department.'
Clearly Love is going in to a situation where a lot is expected of him and the goals are high. But that will not faze a coach who's willing to take risks and has already had a successful and experience coaching in Europe with Denmark's Copenhagen Wolfpack.
' knew some players that had played in the Total League before and had good things to say about the level of the league, Contern and the country itself.'
'I will be arriving in Luxembourg early August for a six week pre-season, I have seen the facilities and they are very impressive, I believe Contern have the biggest arena in the league which holds around 2500 spectators. Contern has great support from the local community and sponsors together with having an outstanding reputation.'
Love himself has a pretty good reputation and is highly thought of as a coach. His previous GM at Copenhagen Tommy Nielsen had this to say about him.
'Gavin Love is a Players Coach, his mindset is set on winning by every means and that sets a impacts on players being poised for every game. His playing style is offensive minded and very spectator friendly.'
'He is well in communicating and appearance and goes well with sponsors and media. He fits an organization who is settle to win Championships . His flair for recruitment, quality network and roster arrangement can be used with success.'
Nice words and a good assessment of what Love hopes to bring to AB Contern and he advises that recruitment has already begun.
'A majority of the team has returned from last year which will give us a good level of continuity. We have signed Dylan Talley (196-G-89, college: Nebraska, agency: Octagon Europe) who has played in both the German BBL and Pro A. Dylan is a versatile guard who will to be a good addition to the team.'
'We also have a number of young players in the squad who will be looking to take that step to the next level. We are looking for a forward who will be the final import player to complete the roster.'
One of the obvious things that Love will do is look at the differences between The Total league and The BBL back in the UK although it's not something that he's in a position to judge just yet.
'I wouldn't be able to make any comparison to any league until the season begins. The first obvious thing that stands out is there are less import players and Bosmans than the BBL. The second is the genuine passion for developing the young talent which can only be a good thing for Luxembourg basketball.'
'My goals for the season is to enhance the team in all areas whilst maximising the potential of every player on the roster together with reaching the top six and the play-offs.'
It's going to be an interesting year for AB Contern and Gavin Love but one which should be an exciting one and an educational one for both parties. Certainly for Love it's another step forward and addition to an ever growing career CV.
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