Bucci has been the main driving force in taking Durham to back-to-back BBL Championship home wins against Glasgow Rocks and Plymouth University Raiders, after conjuring a couple of magnificent displays.

Twice coming close to delivering spectacular triple-double displays, Bucci has won himself consecutive spots in the BBL Team of the Week, with Davie only too willing to laud praise on his player.

“Ralph is someone I believe to be a true professional and someone I very much respect and admire,” said Davie.

“On the court and during practices, he provides our young team with a great role model.

“Ralph is in great physical shape, he eats and drinks the right things at the right time, he works hard in the weight room, which then leads to strong practice.

“He’s got a very high basketball IQ and uses it on a daily basis, looking for mismatches for our team to take advantage of allowing us to go to our strengths.

“If the opposition try to take those mismatches away, then it opens up somebody else. This is mainly the reason why we have so many different guys have double figure points in games so far this season.”

He added, “In the locker room he’s a calming influence, making sure when we go out there and we play our own game, sticking to our plan.

“He gives the guys an honest opinion of what he’s seeing, what adjustments or improvements they can make for themselves and for us to get better, which they respect him for.”

Wildcats have already racked up half of their entire BBL Championship win tally for last season, before the first hard frost of the winter has set in.

Much of that has been due to some fine team play from Bucci and Co, whilst Davie is also thrilled to have the experience of the guard in his dual role as an assistant coach.

He explained, “For me personally, it’s been great to have him as my assistant coach. With it being my first year, I don’t have any past experiences to draw from at this level – so Ralph has filled in those gaps with his own.

“He lets me know if we need more or less of things in practice, or if we just need to stay the course when we’re in a good place.

“We have worked well together since our appointment over the summer to recruit and mould this team to what we feel can not only compete, but take wins off the established franchises in this league.

“Off the court, we talk on a daily basis with regards to planning and evaluating practices and games, his knowledge and experiences over his long career help prepare our team when we’re scouting up and coming opponents.”

Davie meanwhile is still relishing his ongoing education as a rookie BBL head coach. And, so far at least, he can look back on what has been achieved with a moderate sense of satisfaction.

“I’m really enjoying the job so far,” confirmed the play-caller.

“We’ve got a great bunch of guys who are learning and improving every day. Practices are competitive and intense, with us working towards channelling that intensity in the right direction.

“On game days I enjoy the opportunity to go and compete with our team against the top level coaches and teams this league has to offer.

“I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time and we’re not even a third of the way during the season.”

Davie, Bucci and the Wildcats face a real tough task in trying to make it three victories in a row at Newton Aycliffe when they entertain the title chasing Worcester Wolves on Sunday afternoon.

Story – BBL

Main photo – Ralph BUCCI

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