justin Dobbins can be Sheffield Sharks’ X-factor on Friday night in the first leg of the BBL Trophy semi-final against Newcastle Eagles, according to player-coach Atiba Lyons.
Dobbins has struggled since late last year with a persistent back injury, but showed flashes of his early season form during the victory against title-chasing Worcester Wolves last week.
Lyons, who brought Dobbins to the club to replace last season’s big man Paul Williams, thinks Dobbins can be the difference for the Sharks.
He said: “Justin is definitely a guy who can be the X-factor for us.
“When he plays well we tend to perform well as a team. He is important to us.
“It’s just an issue of getting him back to full match fitness now.”
Dobbins is likely to see plenty of court time at the EIS against Newcastle. The league leaders are in excellent form and the Sharks will need all of their seven man deep rotation to be at the top of their game.
Lyons will have an early indication of how young duo Zach Gachette and Colin Sing are performing later today when he coaches the Sheffield Hallam University team for the first time since Director of Basketball Tim Lewis left the club.
Gachette and Sing are both continuing their education at the university and are key players for the men’s first team. Lyons said: “The guys are still on a learning curve. The Newcastle match will probably be the biggest of their career so it’ll be good to see how they cope.
“I won’t treat them any differently for the university team. In fact I’ll be harder on them because I’ll expect them to play at a BBL level.”
Sheffield Hallam play Loughborough at the EIS in the last eight of the British Universities Trophy today. Tip-off 6.15pm.