Sheffield Sharks have eyes on Trophy triumph

Good form: American point guard BJ Holmes .     Picture: dean atkins.
Good form: American point guard BJ Holmes . Picture: dean atkins.

SHARKS coach Atiba Lyons is challenging his team to show they have what it takes to challenge for trophies as they prepare to take on Manchester Giants tonight in the BBL Trophy first round.

The Sharks beat Manchester on Sunday in the Championship, but the Giants are a different proposition on their home court.

And Lyons says that while his primary focus this season is building a strong foundation after the club were hit with financial difficulties there’s no reason why Sheffield can’t compete for honours if they learn quickly.

He told The Star: “You never know. It’s going to be tough, there’s a lot of good teams out there.

“We’re trying to find ourselves and be a team that works well together and can close games out.

“Until we can do that I don’t know about silverware but hopefully we can finish as high as we can in the table.

“If we turn the corner and can close games out, not give silly fouls away and foul out then we can do something.”

The Sharks are using their partnership with Sheffield Hallam University to attract some of the best young British talent.

Zach Gachette and Colin Sing are beginning to show real promise and in Canadian point-guard Nick Lewis, Lyons has a very exciting addition to his squad.

Lyons has also benefitted from the form of new Americans BJ Holmes and Demtrius Jemison.

He said: “If you look at our team now you can see that we’re really focusing on developing our younger guys and getting core of guys who are based here in Sheffield through the university and then add in from there.

“We have some good pieces and the American guys are playing well and hopefully we can retain them. Right now it’s just rebuilding and making sure we get moving in the right direction.”

After comprehensively beating Manchester the last time out, Lyons said his team need to be prepared for a backlash from the Giants.

He said: “I think it will increase the intensity of the game. They’ll want to get back and advance in the competition, which we all want to do. They’re 10 times better in their own gym.

“They have a good home court advantage and we have to make sure we’re ready for that.”