The reincarnated Giants announced their return to top flight British Basketball action last weekend in fine style with a thrilling one point success against London Lions and unsurprisingly, the play-caller is confident his team can compete with home grown talent.
Indeed Jones reiterated his pledge to give local players a pathway to a professional career.
“We’ve promised that we’ll give Manchester kids a chance to play” said the Giants’ coach.
“Nine or ten of the 13 or 14 players we’ll have registered this season will have come through the Manchester programme.
“I don’t see us having any non EU players this year since there’s plenty of British talent and they need the opportunity.
“Sure, there will be rough times along with the smooth, but, they deserve a shot and hopefully they’ll prove they can play.”
The next hurdles facing the Giants on this second weekend of the new campaign are certainly intriguing ones. They renew one of the biggest rivalries in British Basketball tonight when they entertain One Health Sharks Sheffield, and fans on both sides of the court will no doubt enjoy reminiscing about some great battles down the years before the game.
Sharks head into the contest still searching for their first win having suffered a home floor loss on opening weekend, and so will be ready to bite the Giants. There will be a couple of notable milestones in this game with Colin Sing preparing to make his 100th BBL appearance and Mike Tuck now only eleven short of 500 defensive rebounds in the BBL.
Worcester Wolves will also be desperate to get off the mark having crashed and burned at home on season debut. Giants hit the road for the first time tomorrow and will be expecting a really tough game at Wolves who were without the influential Sherrad Prezzie-Blue when they somewhat surprisingly lost to Durham Wildcats.
In fact, Paul James and his team could even be looking down the barrel of an 0-3 start when they tip-off against Giants since they must firstly make the daunting trip to title favourites Newcastle Eagles tonight. However, Wolves have been one of the few visiting teams to record a success at Sport Central since it opened its’ doors as the Eagles’ new home a couple of years ago.
Whatever happens this evening, One Health Sharks Sheffield will get a good opportunity of racking up a win on Sunday when they welcome Surrey Heat, although the visitors are already off the mark after routing Mersey Tigers to get that first win under their belt. But, this arguably doesn’t give an accurate assessment of the capabilities Heat have in their ranks this season and so this will be an interesting test of their credentials.
One team certainly staring a 0-3 start squarely in the face are London Lions having lost in gut-wrenching fashion at Manchester and then being outclassed by the Eagles. They will be hoping to catch UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders cold at the Pavilions since it is the first taste of action this season for Gavin Love and his team.
Raiders are being tipped to challenge for trophies on all fronts once again but a slow start is not an option if they want to mount a genuine title assault – especially if the Eagles did get off to a flyer and go 3-0 by beating Wolves. Lions’ guard Perry Lawson meanwhile needs just four points in this contest to pass the milestone of 1,000 BBL career points.
Another club belatedly treading the boards for the first time this season are Cheshire Jets and they face a real baptism of fire at Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders who started like an express train last weekend when they romped to an impressive victory in Sheffield. New player-coach James Hamilton is sure to have his work cut out, but will surely relish the challenge.
Giants Photo – Manchester Evening News
Story – BBL Press Release
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