December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Big Cats look to tame London Lions
New signings Howard Crawford and Kris Clark will make their Leopards’ debuts when the Big Cats host London Lions at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday (4pm).
Another big crowd is expected as the American pair play their first game for a Leopards team who will look to wrap up their pre-season campaign with a victory.
Both players will be facing their former club having played for Lions when they were based in Milton Keynes in 2011/12, and it will be a reunion of former Lions players.
Leopards player-coach Robert Youngblood could afford to leave himself on the bench and still field a line-up comprising of ex-Lions.
Ish Fontaine could join Clark in the back-court, with captain Carl Josey at small forward and seven footer Lawrence Brown playing alongside Crawford in the front-court.
Assistant coach Roger Malpass also held a similar role at the Lions, and he’s looking forward to facing his old club.
He said: “We think we can match up well against Lions and give them a good game. The pressure will be on them to win, it’s expected of them.
“Lions will be a tough game for us, not only because we play against a BBL club, but because of the vast experience their team has.
“Mike Martin and Julius Joseph have a bond from their time at Guildford / Surrey Heat, Adrien Sturt is always a difficult guy to defend with his height and inside/outside game, and with former Leopard Rod Brown at the helm they will be a tough proposition.
“Add their imports into the mix with the pedigree they bring and a formidable challenge faces us, but it’s one that we relish massively.
“But we’ll be going all out to upset their rhythm and take the game. It will be the first time I will have faced the Lions since they moved to London and I left the organisation.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with old friends after the game, but before that it’s all about the win!”
Malpass is hoping for a big crowd for Sunday’s game, adding: “Come along and cheer us on! Let’s pack Brentwood out again and make loads of noise!”
Skipper Josey is also excited about the game, but is looking at the bigger picture as Leopards look to open their National Trophy defence against Bradford Dragons the following week.
He said: “The team hasn’t been finalised yet as we need to get our main signing in and then see what positions need to be filled but obviously, there is quite a bit of history with certain players and the Lions.
“We want to go into the game looking to win, but ultimately it has to be more preparation for us moving into our season and playing against a BBL side will allow us to develop and see areas for improvement.”
Fontaine is also ready for the battle of the Big Cats, saying: “Playing London is a good look for both teams. Both are trying to build on what they did last year and I expect us both to show what kind of calibre we are.”
Tickets are available through www.leopardsbasketball.co.uk or on the door.
Christine Ohuruogu and Mo Farah have been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.