But with family and work commitments taking up more and more of his time he decided leave on a high, with last year being a successful one on the court for both himself and Sheffield.

“It has been a decision I have thought about all summer,” he said. “In the end there were a number of reasons why now is the right time for me to retire as a professional player.

“I do so after playing as a starter in every game for a team that won the BBL Cup and finished runners-up in the league last season. My love for playing the sport hasn’t diminished, but in the end I had to make this decision with my head and not my heart.”

Cauthorn, from Virginia, played division one NCAA basketball with the College of William & Mary in the tough Colonial Athletic Association conference before joining the Sharks.

He was part of the team that stunned the BBL by winning the league and cup double in the club’s first season. And silverware was never far from his grasp as he won the league twice, the BBL Cup four times and the BBL Trophy twice.

Spells in Belgium, at Chester Jets and with the Sheffield Arrows all led back to the Sharks. It is fitting, he says, that he will retire a Sharks player. “I didn’t think I would totally do myself justice if I played again this season. Hopefully the team will have another good year and I hope the club continues to be successful in the future.”

Sarah Backovic, one of the Sharks’ owners, said Cauthorn’s retirement marks the end of an era for the club:

“Todd will always be special to the Sharks because he was one of the original players. Since then he has epitomised everything that is good about the club. He is entirely committed, is all about the team and is a fantastic basketball player.

“Those stepping into Todd’s shoes will have a lot to live up to because he has been one of the most successful players the BBL has seen. We wish him all the best for the future and look forward to seeing him at games in a non-playing capacity.”

Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons said: “As a player you always wanted Todd to be playing with you rather than against you because he not only has great ability but he never knows when he is beaten.

“He was superb last season in helping to gel a new team together so quickly into the Sharks ethos by setting a great example. We’ll miss his toughness and leadership in the locker room and on court.”

says Thank you to Todd Cauthorn, one of the legends of the game.

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