SHEFFIELD Sharks are braced for a landmark season – and captain Mike Tuck hopes there are fireworks on the court too.
Next week sees the DBL Sharks Sheffield – to give them their correct name – begin their 25th year competing in the British Basketball League (BBL).
The club is one of the most successful franchises in the sport and long-serving skipper Tuck, who is poised to bring up his tenth year with the club, is adamant that the new additions to the roster over the summer will complement the existing talent already at the disposal of head coach Atiba Lyons.
“We’re really happy with how the team is coming together,” Tuck told The Yorkshire Post.
“We’ve got a great mix of existing talent and also some new, hungry guys ready to prove themselves.
“Everyone seems to be realising their roles early on. This is one of the most successful clubs in the league and it’s a really exciting time to be a part of the club.
“I really do think we have a team that could potentially bring home a few pieces of silverware this season.”
The quartet of new signings are Mathew Martin, formerly of Danum Doncaster Eagles, Rene Castro-Caneddy out of Duquesne University, Matthew Don from Spanish side Real Murcia and Sedale Hanson Young, from Birmingham.
The roster is completed by returning players Chris Alexander, Dirk Williams, Rob Marsden, Marko Backovic and Tuck himself.
Tuck also acts as the club’s marketing manager and he keeps a watching eye on the way the league is making itself known at a time when sports fans’ viewing habits are more diverse than ever before.
Last year saw the BBC begin screening men’s and women’s BBL matches, whilst social media company UniLad also dipped its toe into the broadcasting market by streaming games on its Facebook page.
Tuck hopes that the league can latch onto such opportunities that will allow it to reach as many people as possible.
“This season the league will be shown on UniLad, BBC Sport and also FreeSport, which is a Freeview channel, so it’s all exposure,” he added.
“I also believe that ITV and Sky have both been making enquiries about the BBL so there’s the potential for wider broadcasts to go out.
“The direction of the league is heading in the right way and hopefully it’s only going to get bigger and better.”
The Sharks begin their new league campaign a week on Friday (September 21) at home to Manchester Giants.
Ahead of that opening day tussle, the squad have been busy with numerous warm-up matches, including last night’s trip to Newcastle.
They have one more tune-up remaining, when they travel to Belgium over the weekend to take on Limburg United in a high-profile end to their pre-season.