Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders guard Bradd Wierzbicki paid tribute to team-mate Ayron Hardy, after the forward picked up his second consecutive triple-double in Saturday night’s 97-86 win over Sheffield Sharks.
Wierzbicki himself sank 18 points in the win, but was keen to praise rookie Hardy for his influential performance.
“I can’t say enough about Ayron Hardy,” he told the Riders website.
“He’s so unselfish on the court and he does every little thing that you need; not only his points, rebounds and assists, but the amount of deflections he gets on the defensive end. It’s perhaps something that some don’t pay attention to, but we notice it. If he’s not in discussion for MVP come the end of the season, there is something wrong.”
Wierzbicki himself added three rebounds and four assists to his performance on Saturday night at John Sandford Sports Centre and was happy with his individual performance, also crediting the fact that four Riders players were 100% from the free-throw line.
“I thought I played well,” he said.
“I felt that I got the team involved and had a nice first half. We came out of the break and we kept that going. I thought that I did a good job on the defensive end, trying to stop Langhurst. He’s a big player for them and had some big games recently, but I thought that I managed to bottle him up tonight.
“We keep working on our free-throw shooting and we need to be better towards the end of the season. In the past, our free-throw shooting has probably lost us some games, so you can’t underestimate the importance of practicing free-throw shooting. Sometimes a game can come down to who knocked down more free-throws.”
Overall, the New Yorker admitted his pleasure at grabbing a win against a talented and improving Sheffield Sharks side, ahead of what promises to be a big week for the Riders who visit Newcastle Eagles on Friday night, followed by Guildford Heat at John Sandford Sports Centre on Saturday evening.
“They have some good shooters, especially Ryan Patton. He’s been the league for a long time and he got them back in it a little bit. We stayed composed and fortunately, we had a strong enough lead in the end to be comfortable.
“We have two big back-to-backs coming up and if we want to have a realistic chance of winning the league, we need to take this one at Newcastle or the one in a week against Newcastle. It’s going to be a big week in practice with a big turn around from Friday, but we’re looking forward to it. These are the games that you want to be part of as a professional.”