Writing on the wall aimed at inspiring Sheffield Sharks as Jordan Ratinho joins

Results in the previous two games may suggest that Sheffield Sharks have banished their slow starts in games to the past, but captain Mike Tuck is not letting his team rest that easy.

Mike Tuck: Sheffield Sharks captain and his team welcome Plymouth Raiders tomorrow. (Picture: Dean Atkins)
Mike Tuck: Sheffield Sharks captain and his team welcome Plymouth Raiders tomorrow. (Picture: Dean Atkins)

Victories over Bristol Flyers and Glasgow Rocks on the two Sundays before Christmas were built on much better first quarters for the Sharks after a start to the season blighted by how slow they were to make an impact in games.

But such was the hole they were routinely digging for themselves as they crashed out of the BBL Cup with a whimper, Tuck and head coach Atiba Lyons have been drilling into their side the importance of opening brightly.

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“We can still make a better job those fast starts,” said Tuck ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Plymouth Raiders at Ponds Forge (3pm tip-off).

“It’s certainly something we have to be mindful of. We’ve had a quote put up on the wall in the locker room; ‘win the first and the third quarters’.

“Basically come out of the locker room hot at the start of each half and don’t take your foot off the gas.

“That should then set you up for the rest of the game.”

Tomorrow is the Sharks’ first action after two weeks off over Christmas, a quirk of the fixture scheduling that afforded players rare downtime over the fesive period. But they were back to training this week with Plymouth in their sights as they look to build on their recent resurgance.

“We’ve started to develop some consistency, guys have started to discover their roles and what they can bring to the team,” said Tuck.

“Defensively each game we are getting stronger, and that’s pleasing because that’s something we’ve been working on.

“Right now we are thinking that we can be a team that competes at the top end of the table.”

Sharks will have a new face in the squad for the visit of Plymouth, with American import Jordan Ratinho who has a Portuguese passport joining the club to fill the roster space vacated by Marko Backovic, who has had to retire from playing due to injury, and has now taken a coaching role with the club.

Ratinho, a 6’5 guard graduated from the University of San Francisco last May after spending four years playing with the Men’s Basketball programme, starting every game his senior season.

Ratinho started his professional career earlier this season in Herford, Germany but after only playing two matches the team’s season was cancelled, making him available.

Ratinho said: “It was unfortunate what happened in Germany but I’m excited to continue my pro career in Sheffield. The first week of practice has been great, the guys and coaching staff have been helping me fit in nicely.

“There’s a lot of talent here, I can’t wait to start playing games.”

The first year pro out of Concord, California averaged 8.9 pts 1.9 reb 1.1 ast last season with the San Francisco Dons.

Head Coach Atiba Lyons is delighted with the addition of Ratinho. “It’s great to have Jordan on board. We had a spot to fill and he will really add some more

needed depth to our roster.

“So far he’s integrated well in training, has a great shooting touch. We look forward to seeing him on the court in upcoming games.”

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