All this week we are looking at a run down of the BBL 2011/2012 sides in build up to their opening weekend, today we look at the champions and some close contenders, including their opening day fixtures…
The Leicester Riders began life as Loughborough All Stars and are the oldest team in British Basketball. They have yet to finish top of the BBL with a third place finish in 2009 their best, American coach Rob Paternostro will be leading the side this season. They begin their season by hosting the MK Lions at the John Sanford Centre on Saturday and will be hoping the red and white basketball jerseys can make a strong start.
The Mersey Tigers are the currently dominating the BBL, with only a BBL Cup final defeat to Sheffield Sharks stopping them from sweeping the board last season. The champions have a short history but notable success, and owe much to their coach Tony Garbelotto who is Team GB assistant coach also. The orange jerseys compete in the Greenbank Sports Academy and could someday play at the Echo Arena, they begin their title defence at Cheshire Jets on Sunday.
The MK Lions have just a single BBL Cup to their name in 2008 to show for 13 seasons in the league. Coach Mike New will look to improve on their best, a third place finish a decade ago and the yellow and navy basketball jerseys begin their campaign against the Leicester Riders as mentioned on Saturday.
The Newcastle Eagles, formerly the Sunderland Scorpions are another favourite to take the title this season, holding the record for most championship wins since the BBL’s inception in 2000. They had a slow start last season that led to a rare trophyless finish, going out at three semi finals and ending as league runners up. Coach Fab Flournoy leads the side against the Glasgow Rocks in the leagues opening game on Friday 30th September.
Part three will preview the remaining sides Plymouth Raiders, Sheffield Sharks and Worchester Wolves. For part one featuring Cheshire Jets, Durham Wildcats, Glasgow Rocks and Guildford Heat click here For more info on these or any BBL teams check out the official BBL website.