Basketball: Leopards add Akpofure to line-up

Ray Akpofure has joined Leopards

Ray Akpofure has joined Leopards - Credit: Archant

Ray Akpofure has become the latest addition to the Leopards roster ahead of the new National League Division One season.

The six foot six inch forward joins from Division Two side Greenwich Titans where he led the London side to the 2016/17 Division Three championship, collecting the divisional Most Valuable Player award in the process.

Last season saw him average 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in Divsiion Two, with multiple games where he finished with a double-double in points and rebounds, while scoring 47 points in a two-point loss to Ipswich.

He made his Leopards debut in the 89-76 defeat against Team USA Select, finishing with 17 points and nine points in 21 minutes, and is delighted to sign for the Big Cats, saying: "It's a real pleasure being here. There's so much positivity around the club, from the players, the coaching staff and fan base.

"I've enjoyed every second so far and I can't wait to bring my energy, hard work and determination to the team. I'm really excited and can't wait for the first game."

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Coach Thomas Baker added: "Ray is an excellent addition for us. Straight away he has become an integral part of our line-up and is great to have around the rest of the group.

"In the friendly against USA select his ability to score and get on the glass is something that really impressed me and I am looking forward to working with Ray this season."

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Leopards first road game of the campaign saw them suffer a 117-79 defeat at Worthing Thunder on Saturday.

The Big Cats converted just 36 per cent of their field goal attempts and only four of 23 three-pointers to slip to defeat in their second pre-season game.

A poor end to the first period saw Leopards go scoreless for more than five minutes as the hosts poured in 16 points, and there was no way back against a Thunder side packed with firepower.

Hafeez Abdul caused the hosts numerous problems in a 22-point, seven-rebound game, adding a pair of steals and assists. Prince Larty added 14 points and four assists, while Akpofure was a rebound away from a double-double with 12 points.

Baker said: "While the game didn't go as we had hoped, there were a lots of things to take away from the game that we will be working on in practice.

"Now is not the time for panic, it is important that we focus on moving forward and addressing areas that we need to improve together and understand the process of us getting better in we have identified of significant importance for us."

The Big Cats complete their pre-season campaign on when they visit Reading Rockets on Sunday (5pm).

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