The fast-paced British Basketball All-Stars Championship is back at the Copper Box Arena this weekend as eight of the leading sides go head-to-head in a one-day mini-tournament.
Now in it’s third edition, the Championship pits the top seven clubs from last season’s BBL league table, plus defending champions Surrey Scorchers who defeated Leicester Riders in the final.
Despite having experienced it twice, Coach Rob Paternostro knows it is still a challenge for him and his fellow coaches to impact the play beyond choosing when to take their power play.
“It’s exciting for the fans, but confusing for the coaches at times,” he said. “There is nothing really like it; you have to hope your guys get hot and hot in a hurry. There is not a lot of time to make any really tactical decisions other than pressing the golden buzzer to double the points.
“It’s wild, but we have done pretty well in it, we had a team that got hot and went to the final last year because we made a lot of shots. It’s certainly hard to prepare for and no matter how many times you play in it it’s hard to know what to expect.”
Having just faced them in a 40-minute game last night, Riders were drawn against Cheshire Phoenix again, but neither will take much from the two previous meetings in the Cup into this competition.
“It’s a totally different competition, when you look at last season and the season before I don’t think it showed anything about where teams would finish in the league. I have sat and watched the games as they are going on and as a fan it’s been fun. Having eight teams in the venue at one time makes the competition unique and special.”
With the quirky additions of the power play, five-point line and fast paced style, the key to winning the All Stars is not necessarily being the best team throughout, but being the hottest team at the right time.
Paternostro said, “When you’ve seen the games before, you’ve seen teams go through who got the buzzer right, they didn’t necessarily outplay their opponents, if you can outplay them in a certain minute it can really help you go through. Everyone will play and will enjoy the pace and it certainly always looks like something that would be fun to play in as a player, so the guys should enjoy it.”
Before the Riders take part in the in the British Basketball All-Stars Championship they take on the Cheshire Phoenix in the BBL Cup on Friday Night at the Morningside Arena, CLICK HERE to buy your tickets!