It was one of the toughest weeks of basketball for the DBL Sharks, with four games in eight days resulting in wins over Worcester Wolves (away) and Leeds Force (home), but narrow defeats to Worcester(home) and Bristol Flyers (home), by a single agonising point!
The spirit was willing within the team, but the body had begun to visibly drain as the squad, short-handed by the absence of man-mountain Captain Tuck, couldn’t defend a 12-point lead against Bristol.
The Canadian-born stalwart of the Sharks achieved a great landmark by being made captain of England and was due make his Commonwealth Games debut today against a talented Scotland squad!
But Mike’s departure has brought about the advent of a new Sharks big-forward in Solomon Rolls-Tyson.
The double-barrelled BBL rookie from Birmingham, stretches to 6ft8in but his enthusiasm for the game is evident and he hungers to make a real contribution at the Sharks.
In an indifferent run of games, Sol has been the player of the past week, contributing significant minutes and reaching two double-doubles, (i.e. 10 points and 10 rebounds in a single game), providing strong performances that herald he has a place amongst the Sharks regular line-up.
With Captain Tuck absent until the Sharks meet Worcester in the head-to-head clincher at EIS Sheffield on 20th April, Solomon must become the third “big man” for the Sharks working alongside Rob Marsden and Toni Wroblicky, both who will need sparing over the season’s remaining punishing schedule.
Three big games loom for the Sharks, with this weekend being monstrous. Firstly, against second place Newcastle Eagles on Friday 6th April (away) live on the BBC, and then on Saturday 7th April, the team must turn around and meet the in-form London Lions, currently in 3rd place in the BBL. The Saturday night fixture against London Lions will be at EIS, Sheffield at 7.30pm.
“I felt really tired by the weekend. It’s mental and physical tiredness, because I haven’t been used to playing as many minutes. But I love the challenge and it’s great to be making a real contribution,” added Solomon.
Coach Atiba Lyons and Assistant Coach Ariel Perucci, have nurtured Sol over the past couple of months, expecting that Tuck would be an England pick, and that a replacement needed to be incorporated into the team, as opposed to helicoptered in for a month. “Sol is showing us more and more what he is capable of. He’s an instinctive shooter, can beat people off the dribble, run the floor well, and he can rebound well with his athleticism,” added Lyons.
“We need to build his consistency in and around the basket when up against other big men, but he’s learning how to work around the basket, like Rob Marsden whose footwork under the basket out thinks much more athletic players,” stated Lyons.
For the Sharks to triumph this post-Easter weekend, Solomon will need to build on some promising performances enhancing the threat of Sharks prolific guard duo of Chris Alexander and Dirk Williams.
For Sharks and basketball fans, the match with London Lions at EIS Sheffield will be another live televised event, being shown on the terrestrial Freesport channel, tip-off 7.30pm on Saturday 7th April.
Why not come down and see it live and watch the re-run when you get home!
Tickets available from www.sharksbasketball