Ratinho had been in Germany, hoping to play his first season as a professional after graduating from the University of San Francisco, but the Covid pandemic meant there was no competitive basketball to play and Ratinho was suddenly a fish out of water.
Sharks cast him a lifeline in early January and he repaid them, averaging 11.8 points a game, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists. The 6ft 5in guard also shot 41.8 per cent of field goals in the second half of the BBL season.
“It was different joining a team that was already formed and then trying to find my role within that team,” said Ratinho.
“But I found it to be quite an easy transition once here and started practising with the team and getting a feel for the guys.
“I have a pretty good feel for the game in general, doing whatever the team needs, so it wasn’t too bad of an adjustment.
“After a week or so it felt like I was right into it, I felt good about where I was and my role.
“After that I thought we put in a pretty good end to the season.”
Ratinho enjoyed it so much he was quick to sign up for the Sharks’ 2021-22 campaign, which starts tonight at Ponds Forge (7.30pm) with a Cup group match against Cheshire Phoenix.
So why did he, like another star of last year in Kipper Nichols, come back to Sheffield, to England, and to the BBL?
“The culture, the environment, the coach is great, the management is great,” says Ratinho. “The organisation as a whole really care for you and want the best for you. I thought it would be a good fit for me coming back knowing what I was going to get myself into and help the team win.”
The new season – played in front of fans following last season being behind-closed-doors – begins with a month of Cup fixtures before the battle for league points commences on October 29.
Prior to that, Sharks play home and away games against Cheshire, Glasgow Rocks, Newcastle Eagles and Manchester Giants in the North Group.