Guildford Heat v Worthing Thunder
Saturday 25th September 2010
Surrey Sports Park (7.00pm)
Creon Raftopoulos is happy with how his Guildford Heat team are shaping up as they prepare to open their BBL Trophy campaign with a home game against Worthing Thunder on Saturday.
"We had one pre season game against Reading Rockets that we played well in and our team practices have been good" he said.
"Martelle Mclemore has settled in well. Tomas Januaskas knows the league so he has fitted in. David Schneida and James Porter only arrived on Saturday so we have one week's practise to integrate them into the team's offences."
With Thunder currently in a period of transition, the new Heat play-caller admits that he only has a limited idea of what his side will face: "They have had a pretty quiet off season so to be honest we don't know what to expect.
"Evaldas Zabas has been consistent scorer in the league so we will have to limit his shots. Shaun Durant is hard worker and we have to control him on the backboards."
Thunder go into the game having lost 79-77 at UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders in their opening Trophy game, but acting coach Alan Sweetman-Hicks was delighted with the way his short-handed team played:
"It was a real 'backs against the wall' performance. We played together as a team with everyone supporting each other. It wasn't a classic performance, we had only all been together for three hours, but an experienced squad has been recruited who know what it takes to play in the BBL - I don't want to single out any players from that game - everyone contributed to the cause and we all were disappointed when we didn't actually pull off the victory."
Sweetman-Hicks confesses to only having limited knowledge of the Heat team that Thunder will face on Saturday: "I must admit I wasn't intending to be taking an active role on the coaching side this season so I'm having to bone up a bit on the Heat! Like the Raiders they have a coach in his first BBL season so I guess I'm actually the experienced one now!
"They have a lot of size in the front court and a high quality guard in David Schneider so I'm expecting a tough game, particularly as they are playing their first game in their new venue, but we are getting used to the role of underdogs now and will just go out with the intention of playing as hard as we can.
"Obviously the likes of Mike Martin and Julius Joseph are the best known names they have, but I was impressed with Janusauskas at Capital last season and was interested in him during the summer until I saw the price tag! The addition of Dean Williams gives them more BBL experience but I think Schneider is a good pick up for them."
Sweetman-Hicks will remain in charge for the weekend's trip to Guildford: "We are not anticipating having the new coach or any American players in place by this weekend so will continue with our all European squad. I would certainly hope that we will have John Nottley available this weekend and that the Spanish Federation will issue his international clearance so he can play.