This Saturday the Leicester Riders take on the Manchester Giants as they look to build on what was an impressive road win up in Glasgow last weekend. CLICK HERE to get your tickets!
About the Giants
Manchester Giants in a previous incarnation were a powerhouse in the BBL, including a spell under Head Coach Nick Nurse, who now leads the NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors. In those heady days, they won silverware 3 times, but were runners-up in various competitions nine times.
Since their return to the BBL in 2012, they have been unable to repeat that winning form, in spite of Manchester being a hotbed for young basketball talent. Current Head Coach Danny Byrne is in his third season with the club, and looking to revive that form. They came close last season, including knocking off Riders in the BBL Trophy, thanks to excellent recruitment in their overseas slots, although they faded late in the season.
The team is built around two local British brothers, captain Callum Jones, and shooting guard James Jones, brothers of GB player and former Rider Georgia Jones. Experienced 3 point shooter Ingus Bankevics comes off the bench. Callum Jones managed 13 points on 62% shooting last time out against Cheshire.
The Giants overseas players include American guard Jonathan Mulmore, who scored 11 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists in Manchester’s last match, and American forward Del’vin Dickerson, who had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds versus Cheshire.
Spaniard forward Eduard Arques has settled in, contributing 9 points and 8 rebounds last time out, and Dutch forward Manou Cristal Malalu added 10 points and 6 rebounds against the Phoenix.
Daniel Pilkington, Benson Arogbo and Zak Powell provide support off the bench.
Season So Far – Giants
Manchester has yet to win this season. They lost at home to Glasgow 96-80, and away at Sheffield Sharks 95-61 to start the season. But that result in Glasgow was expunged from the record and a replay ordered, because the Rocks fielded ineligible players. The Giants are appealing the adjudication, believing they should be awarded the result. They have also lost at home to Riders 96-57 with an under-strength team, and away to Glasgow 107-85, before losing to Cheshire at home 82-64.
Season So Far – Riders
Riders opened the campaign with 3 straight wins, before losing at home to Newcastle and Cheshire over a 2 week period that saw the Riders pick up multiple injuries and changes in personnel. With the recent addition of Centre Darien Nelson-Henry the Riders bounced back last weekend with a comprehensive win on the road at Glasgow.
Players to Watch
Latvian Bankevics is an unlikely looking basketball player, with his heavy frame, but gives the Giants scoring punch off the bench, particularly from beyond the arc. He is averaging 12.5 points per game while shooting 51% from the floor. Mulmore is the top scorer at 18.7 points per game.
For Leicester, Jesse Chuku is starting to find his form on offence, as he continues his rehabilitation from a long term hip injury. He led Riders scoring in Glasgow last time out, with 21 points, on 63% shooting, including 3 of 4 three pointers.
Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!