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Dedicated to fans of the BBL. Tips for selecting your FBBL squad, new signings and re-signed player opinions. News and reviews from around the BBL

The Fantasy Report

BBL Basketball Posted on Mon, January 20, 2020 23:41:37

So, it’s been an action-packed weekend with plenty of fixtures for us to get our teeth into. Let’s take a look at what went on.

The Bristol flyers continue to take the league by storm, seeing off the London city royals in a confident 95-71 victory. Gentry Thomas was exceptional in this game, despite having a slow start, he found a rich vein of form late in the game and got the Bristol Flyers well and truly over the line. Will Saunders looks like a good addition for the London city royals and had a decent game. His index score matching the highest index score for the night with 25, the same as Fred Thomas who also played well and hit some key shots down the stretch.

Elsewhere the Glasgow rocks took care of business in a difficult to predict matchup against the Sheffield Sharks. Both teams struggled for consistency during the cup competition but this would proved to be the Rocks night. Ali Fraser was exceptional, with an index score of 28, the highest of the game. The Sharks seemed to have lost a little spark in the journey to Scotland, although Connor Cashaw managed an index of 23.

The Leicester riders finally drew a holt to their losing ways, with a win against a highly talented Worcester Wolves team. the Wolves were without one of their highest scorers, Amir Williams, but still gave a very good account of themselves. Kyron Cartwright was definitely the player of this game, scoring 30 points and accumulating an index of 29. Kyron looked like he might score every time he touched the ball, and showed the Wolves defence no mercy. It would, however, be Maarten Bouwknecht with the highest index on the night accumulating 33 points. Also not too far behind him was teammate Mark Hughes who had an exceptional shooting night with an index of 27.

Other standout performances from the weekend include Ovie Soko with an index of 30 and Justin Robinson with an index of 28, both coming from the same game against the Surrey scorchers. Also in that game Skyler white managed to accumulate an index of 36, including 34 points and 10 assists. 

Perhaps the upset of the weekend belonged to the Cheshire Phoenix who managed the topple the Newcastle Eagles 88 to 70 in what turned out to be an epic battle. A strong all-round team performance by the Cheshire Phoenix, with a number of players in double digits for index. Parker Jackson Cartwright with an index of 22 played a true point guard role, giving the team 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, not to mention 6 steals. But the highest earner in terms of index was demonte Flanagan. He finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and an index of 33. For the home team Newcastle Eagles it would be CJ Gettys that led the way with 21 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, one block and an index of 27.

Cheshire Phoenix would again be an action on the Sunday night in the BBL Trophy, where they would take on the Glasgow Rocks. The game turned out to be a real thriller with the Cheshire Phoenix finally taking the win after overtime, 92 to 90. The game was won by a Mike Ochereobia layup and despite his best efforts with 2 seconds to go Johnny Bunyan failed to convert a 3-point attempt. 

In terms of fantasy, the weekend would belong to the Surrey Scorchers and their Captain Tayo Ogedengbe. In the Scorchers match up against the Plymouth Raiders, Tayo played 40 minutes scoring 34 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a massive index of 42. His teammates Lovell Cook and Skyler White would both achieve an index of 30 in what turned out to be a convincing win, 107 to 97 over the visiting Plymouth Raiders.



The Fantasy Report

BBL Basketball Posted on Fri, January 17, 2020 08:42:50

Ok so it’s time for the Fantasy Report blog, I bet you can’t wait. What we’re going to try and do is break down the performances of outstanding players over the course of the weekend and in some cases, game-by-game. This could also offer some insight for those of you that are budding fantasy players, but also hopefully give you some idea as to how each weekend unfolded in the BBL.

We will kick things off this coming weekend with some key matchups including:

  • Flyers vs Royals
  • Rocks vs Sharks
  • Riders vs Wolves
  • Lions vs Scorchers
  • Eagles vs Phoenix
  • Scorchers vs Raiders
  • Sharks vs Lions
  • Giants vs Eagles
  • Rocks vs Phoenix

Now, although this is a fantasy blog let’s not forget there’s no better way to break down the weekends action than looking at stats numbers and figures. Hopefully all fans of the bbl find something in this blog of interest. Let’s be honest, it’s not going to be all about fantasy! If there are some tasty highlight reels we need to talk about, or events that have unfolded over the weekend, then we will certainly be discussing them here.

Fantasy Reports coming soon!



BBL Vs NBA Entertainment or not?

BBL Basketball Posted on Sun, September 16, 2018 09:12:20


In many cases the hardcore basketball fan does not exclude any level of the sport. From the lofty heights of the NBA to Austrailian NBL, Euro Ball to the Greek League or the BBL down to the lower NBL leagues, all of it is entertainment to the serious fan. The casual fan however, is perhaps a little more choosey with what they consume. NBA matchups are broadcast on BT Sport channels, which very often feature the early game in the States, starting from around either 5:30pm or 8:30pm UK time. If it is a later game, 1am or after, then the game is conveniently replayed at a more reasonable time, at least once the following day, on one of the BT Sport channels. Way more coverage than we can get for our own leagues, BBL and NBL combined.

For the sake of this comparison, we will look specifically at the NBA Vs the BBL. That said, when talking to some more casual fans, it is often clear that they are fairly au fait with the NBA. They know of Steph Curry and LeBron James. They are aware that Lonzo Ball is a highly anticipated rookie, and that the San Antonio Spurs are always a high ranked team and have been for an extended period. They don’t know equivalent facts in the BBL. They’ve not heard of Jaysean Paige and the Eagles unbeaten streak. They aren’t familiar with the Riders trying to defend their Championship. And the reasons are often quite common. Not publicised enough. Not on television enough. Very little media coverage available. These factors, we can obviously confirm and highlight a clear difference in comparing the NBA to the BBL. There is literally a game every single night, televised on one of many sports channels available in America, with 30 teams playing 82 regular season games not including the playoffs, there are more matchups to choose from. There are less games in the BBL, but every weekend there are plenty of games on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, not to mention the odd Saturday evening game as well. Granted not as many games as our American cousins, but more than enough entertainment for fans to sink their teeth into.
With the publicity of the British game an obvious difference, it is the other reasons making fans turn to the NBA before considering the BBL that is of interest. Reasons that often arrise are statistically based. The game is not as fast as the NBA. Their isn’t as many points scored, making it less exciting. Shooting is worse in the BBL and missed shots makes for a less exciting game. All these “issues” we shall tackle now and consider if these things are true, or if it is more the lack of media coverage that keeps the BBL in the dark somewhat.

The speed of the game is something I struggle to see, both as a fan and logistically. The British game is much shorter than an NBA game, which does not really effect game play, only to say that you literally have less time to beat your opponent overall, which means crunch time and those moments in the clutch seem to come around quicker than in an NBA game. The real time restraint that effects the shape of the game is the shot clock. It literally dictates how quick an offense can be. The discrepancy here is that it is the same in both the NBA and the BBL, eradicating the issue of the speed of play. The slightly smaller BBL court, it could be argued, also makes transition play faster, as it takes less time to get from defence to offense. Either way, the argument that the game isn’t as fast is pretty much debunked straight away.

“There isn’t as many points scored” or “they don’t score much in the BBL” is something demanding a deeper look into the state of both professional leagues. Taking a small sample from the top teams in the NBA compared with the top teams on the BBL would perhaps not be enough, as the popularity of British basketball on the whole is in question, so those stats combined with a selection of the bottom teams of both leagues should give us a broader view when tackling this complaint. Looking then at the top and bottom teams in the NBA and BBL, the points per game look like this:

NBA Top 3:

  1. Boston Celtics 102.9
  2. Golden State Warriors 117.9
  3. Houston Rockets 112.6

BBL Top 2:

  1. Newcastle Eagles 105.6
  2. Leicester Riders 84.1

NBA Bottom 3:

  1. Dallas Mavericks 99.1
  2. Atlanta Hawks 102.8
  3. Chicago Bulls 95.5

BBL Bottom 2:

  1. Leeds Force 78.3
  2. Manchester Giants 75.7

There are three from the NBA and only two from the BBL, just because there are more teams in the NBA. At face value, the argument that BBL teams score less is supported with these stats. Even the bottom 3 NBA teams out score the top BBL teams. However, these stats need further dissection for one simple oversight. NBA games are 8 minutes longer overall, with quarters of 12 minutes instead of 10 minute quarters in the BBL. So, it would be more accurate if we can work out average points per minute, so here are the figures with points per game:

NBA Teams:

  • Celtics 2.14 ppm
  • Warriors 2.45 ppm
  • Rockets 2.34 ppm
  • Mavs 2.06 ppm
  • Bulls 1.98 ppm

BBL Teams:

  • Eagles 2.64 ppm
  • Riders 2.10 ppm
  • Force 1.95 ppm
  • Giants 1.89 ppm

With this new information does not support the complaint that BBL teams score less. They do score less, but due to the reduced playing time, the ratio of points per minute is actually on par with those teams in the NBA. The Eagles in particular, outscore the Warriors, who have the highest points per minute in the NBA, by .19 ppm. It’s fair to say from these figures that the scoring ratio is very similar if not the same. As a result, it cannot be a lack of scoring that turns fans to the NBA over the BBL, as they will see as many points scored over the same amount of time.

Looking further into the individual stats and the complaint that players on the BBL aren’t as talented and miss more than players in the NBA, it seems that this argument is not particularly true either. The top ten NBA percentages range from 100% at the top, down to 70.7%. In the BBL it is 100% down to 59% which although lower by 11.7%, isn’t that much of a drop off when you consider just how many players play in the NBA. As a percentage, ten players in the BBL is nearly 10% of the entire league. 10 players in the NBA is only 2% of the entire league. It would be more accurate to take just 2% of BBL field goal percentages. As a result, again it suggests that missed shots is an invalid complaint against the BBL, as the top 2% shoot as well as the NBA.

There are a host of other stats available to fans and interested parties. All of which seem relative when compared accross the two very separate leagues, although perhaps not that different. What they all seem to point to is that it is not the on court play that leads the more casual fan to consume NBA games over BBL games, but the off court activities and investments that make it easier to watch NBA fixtures. Attending regular live BBL games, as well as watching livebasketball.tv is as entertaining, if not more so than watching the NBA. The difference does seem to call in the lap of how our game is marketed and how there is very little hype surrounding our British teams and the host of talent within.



New Signings: Who’s Worth the Risk? Continued

BBL Basketball Posted on Fri, July 27, 2018 20:36:33

There have been plenty of new signings announced, so here is an updated list of new players with there potential for the coming season:

JAMELL ANDERSON

Returning to the Riders after two seasons away from the club, Jamell was a big part of the clubs success, winning six trophies before moving around the BBL and ultimately heading to Europe. His numbers in the BBL have always been good and after similar stats in Europe, it looks like he may even improve since his last stint in the British league. Coming in at 28 with plenty of experience, expect Jamell to prove his worth and achieve YELLOW standard numbers.

JORDAN SPENCER

A highly commendable move for the rookie, to start his professional career where it all began. Jordan was a big part of the Lions development system and played for the team back in the Milton Keynes days. His college career has been exceptional. Playing in NCAA Division 2 at Augustana, Jordan has an impressive list of achievements and accolades, winning the NCAA Div 2 title and leading the conference in assists. He averaged 16 PPG, 8 APG and 4 RPG, leaving his College with the most assists in school history, most minutes played, most games started and ninth all time in scoring. Expect Jordan to spend little time finding his feet, but a questionable amount of time on the court. His time maybe limited if he is considered a backup guard for Justin Robinson, although should they find a way to co-exist, his numbers could be impressive. We project at least high end RED/ low end YELLOW standard scores, with potential for higher.

GREG PRYOR

The Rocks have decided to bring the 6,2 guard to the BBL for the first time. Greg was once part of the NCAA Southern Conference Champions, Mocs Chattanooga, who also qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Statistically Greg is solid, being the only person in his college to score 1200 points, 300 assists and 150 steals. His numbers for his division 3 French team were also good, averaging over 13 PPG, including a hot streak over one month averaging 27 PPG. Head Coach Daryl Wood has stated that Greg will be starting guard, pushing his potential upwards and making his projected scores a mid to high end YELLOW standard.

JARVIS HOWARD

Another signing for the Raiders, who are desperately chasing a playoff spot. As a result it could be safe to suggest that any Raiders signing should be of a potentially high calibre. Jarvis has the potential to be just that. Jumping straight from NCAA Division 1 Charleston Southern, Jarvis had plenty of minutes and although on paper his stats were not brilliant, he is said to have a high basketball IQ. Jarvis will potentially be a starter, due to his versatility, so expect him to play a decent amount of minutes. Numbers wise, projecting his fantasy scores would make him a bit of a gamble. Although we never know until the ball is tipped, it’s likely he could be a RED standard scorer, although could possess all the tools to achieve YELLOW standard numbers.

WILLIE CLAYTON

The Giants keep racking up the exceptional calibre of signings. Willie, although still only 25, has plenty of experience and an impressive CV from way back to his high school career, where his jersey hangs from the rafters after being the highest scorer in Thomasville High Schools history. In his freshman year at NCAA Division 1 college Charlotte 49ers, he was named in ESPN’s top 25 freshman team, made the A-10 all rookie team and was ESPN’s mid-season rookie of the year. His rebounding is perhaps his biggest asset and apparent ability to grab an offensive board. Look for Willie to become a double double machine and as a result, become a high end YELLOW standard scorer at the very least. It is more likely, however, that he may be a GREEN level player and be well worth the risk to have in your squad.

RENE CASTRO-CANNEDY

Big names being dropped by this Sharks signing. Once recruited by Boston Celtics head coach, Brad Stevens, Rene seems to have great pedigree. Also linked with and highly regarded by LeBron James former high school coach Keith Dambrot, his senior season in NCAA Division 1 saw him score over 13 PPG, but more importantly shoot at a very efficient and impressive 54% from the field. Expect Rene to impress in his first season in the BBL and be a high end YELLOW standard player, creeping into GREEN standard numbers as the season progresses.

FRED THOMAS

This season Fred will be a Flyer, with a 1 year deal that could see him strive to impress in the hope of furthering his professional career. At 25 the 6”5 guard is coming off the back of a good season in the Norwegian top flight, scoring 18.4 PPG. He seems to be a defensively sound guard recording over a block and steal per game, whilst being named the Norwegian Defensive Player of the Year. His NCAA Division 1 career with Mississippi was also impressive. As a result, look for Fred to be a solid YELLOW standard performer, and a minimal risk for return when adding him to your squad.

TORRY BUTLER

Yet another rebound machine for the Giants as they add this versatile and impressive small forward. He has NCAA Division 1 experience, including 11 double doubles and a trip to the Southern Conference Semi Finals. His first outing as a professional was in Luxembourg last season where he averaged an impressive 20 PPG and 9 RPG. His addition to the Giants makes them one of the teams to watch this season. Expect Torry to have plenty of double doubles and at least score a high end YELLOW standard.

JORDAN SESSIONS

The Phoenix, looking to add more silverware from last season’s successful cup run have added this successful college player to better their chances. Jordan was a big part of Georgia States 2 conference winning titles with his very efficient 55% shooting from the field. It’s his rookie season and he may need one or two games under his belt, but expect Jordan to be a solid YELLOW standard scorer, with the occasional breakout GREEN level performance.



New Signings: Who’s Worth the Risk?

BBL Basketball Posted on Fri, July 20, 2018 13:34:09


New Signings Breakdown

The new season is still a little way off. The fixtures list has been released and teams are working hard to recruit and re-sign players and coaches to strengthen their squads before the first tip off. From a fantasy perspective, new signings are a little tricky to predict. Stats from new players previous seasons in various leagues across Europe and America are something of a guideline, although in some cases it is very hard to translate the facts and figures into potential for performances in the BBL. As a result all new signings will be given a YELLOW category for potential medium PIR. This will make some players a real steal and some maybe not. In any case, having a new signing in your squad will be a gamble and although difficult to predict, we will endeavour to do so now!

JOSH WILCHER

Back for his second stint at the Raiders, the former fan favourite had impressive stats back in 2014-16, which does perhaps prove he has enough experience in the BBL. His 13 plus points per game and league leading assist rate of 6.5 could mean he has the potential to be a high scoring YELLOW or even a GREEN. He’s also coming off the back of a very impressive season in the QBL in Australia, taking his team to the State Championship Title, and winning finals MVP as well. Definitely a potential steal and consistent points earner.

CONOR WASHINGTON

The Riders confirmed the return of the former fan favourite with great excitement. A solid and steadily productive player, who still only 26, is likely to continue his steady improvement season after season. As a potential replacement for Tyler Bernadini at guard, he is likely to play multiple minutes and has the potential to produce medium to high level YELLOW scoring. Conor is consistent and his time in the competitive Denmark league should see his stats improve this season. On a loaded Riders team, he is well worth the risk in the back court.

MATTHEW DON

The Sharks bring London born Matthew back to the UK to fill a forward slot potentially along side Dirk Williams. Coming in from the Spanish Silver division, with impressive stats, Matthew could easily achieve high end YELLOW stats. Sheffield should once again be pushing for a playoff spot and with Chris Alexander dishing the ball out, expect Matthew to be the recipient of a number of points in and around the paint. He had an average last season on over 11 points per game and over 7 rebounds per game, which would make him a decent addition to any teams front court.

VLATKO GRANIC

The Giants first big move of the season brings Vlatko to the UK hailing from highly respected Split Croatia. His NCAA career is pretty well documented, after being heavily recruited by NCAA Division 1 Colleges. He ended up in the Italian professional league, where his stats were very impressive. 19 PPG and 13 RPG are numbers not to be ignored! There is nothing to suggest his stats will drop off coming to the BBL, so look for him to be a high scoring YELLOW category player. Could be worth the risk.

SHAWN SHELTON

The Raiders are bringing the 23 year old versatile forward to the UK straight from college in America. Having average stats at Eastern New Mexico NCAA Division 2, a lesser known college would suggest his first season in the BBL maybe a challenging one. Having said that, the one lasting message coming from his former coaches is that his work ethic and very high basketball IQ could raise his potential fantasy scores for this coming season. He is predicted to be a low end YELLOW high end RED scoring back court/ front court player and would be quite a gamble.

RAHMON FLETCHER

Simply a steal. The Eagles have bought back the two time MVP, potentially to give him the chance at a third MVP run. Rahmon has had several excellent seasons in the BBL and is well aware of how to get things done. He is likely to be a GREEN level scorer and we expect him to have a very high usage rate by fantasy players.

JUSTIN GRAY

The Flyers are taking a punt on the 22 year old versatile guard/ forward. Justin is incredibly athletic and seems to have all the skills required to succeed in the BBL. He was a big part of Texas Tech, making numerous appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite 8 finish last season. His stats for Texas Tech were solid, which when translated into the BBL could mean he is a high end YELLOW, low end GREEN level scorer for your fantasy team. It’s less of a gamble taking a player like Justin, as his pedigree and apparent ability should see him score plenty of fantasy points this coming season.

NIEM STEVENSON

Last season Niem was a teammate of Justin Gray at Texas Tech and was also a big part of their success in the NCAA last season. Statistically Niem was very impressive and will definitely give the Riders a solid guard option. Niem is certain to score consistently at a YELLOW level, but has potential to hit GREEN numbers as well and could be a well worthy risk if added to your fantasy squad.

MIKE McCALL JNR

One of a number of signings by the Giants this summer and potentially the pick of the bunch. Mike’s CV is very impressive starting with an impressive college career for Saint Louis, making three trips to the NCAA Tournament, followed by a season in the G-League for Iowa Energy. The Chicago born guard then headed to Ecuador with an impressive 32 PPG, before heading home to Chicago Steam in the ABA, averaging 19 PPG and 7 APG. His three point average is also pretty good at 40%, but his consistently good steals stats are also impressive. It is clear that Mike has the potential to be a GREEN category scorer and is well worth adding to your FBBL squad.

Food for thought with the BBL season creeping ever so slightly nearer with each passing day. A full list of eligible players will be available soon to help you start to shape your FBBL squad, not to mention, there will still be more signings before the first tip off of 2018-19 season.



Who’s Winning the Off Season So Far???

BBL Basketball Posted on Wed, July 11, 2018 13:14:54


Last season is already in the past as the summer signing period is in full swing.

Despite the bad news from Leeds Force, being unable to sustain a BBL team, the news has been positive for a number of teams. Also the release of the NBL full list of registered teams for the 2018-19 season seems to imply that the Worthing Thunder and their impressive BBL standard guard Zaire Taylor, are staying put and not throwing their hat into the BBL ring.

As things stand at the moment there are a few arguments for which team is currently winning in the off season and already some players to keep an eye on for your fantasy team. Leicester Riders announcing that they are entering Champions League basketball is a massive plus. Not to mention bringing back Pierre Hampton and TrayVon Wright, two players that were key contributors to the Riders success last season and big fantasy scorers. Also the resigning of Andy Thompson, who impressed when he played but was otherwise plagued with injury issues. Short term, the Riders may widen the gap from the rest of the field, potentially being able to recruit a high standard of player who could be looking for exposure in the highly scouted European competition. However, a more long term view and provided the Riders have some relative success in Champions League, it may encourage more BBL teams to explore the European competition and entice even more quality players to the league, therefore raising the standard of the BBL. So far these post season moves definitely point to the Riders winning the off season so far.

The Plymouth Raiders are also a contender for their moves in post season so far. The announcement to kick off the summer period was that coach Gavin Love was resigning and heading back to his previous position as coach of his former club in Europe. The question being raised by some perhaps did he jump before he was pushed, although it did seem to be a choice that would benefit him professionally as well as personally. Regardless, it was not a good return to the BBL for Love, who’s Raiders team at the beginning of the season was fairly loaded, with the likes of Neil Watson, Kinu Rochford and Brandon Penn. They impressed by dishing out the first defeat of the season to high flying Newcastle Eagles squad, that was unbeaten aftet eight or nine weeks of the season. With the exception of beating the other two busts of the season, Manchester Giants and the Leeds Force, the Raiders would not win another game. The Worcester Wolves parted ways with long time coach Paul James, and the Raiders pounced on the opportunity to sign the well respected and highly talented coach. The Raiders have since added Josh Wilcher, a former member of the squad, who after much success in Australia, has been given two years to give the Raiders some much needed stability in the point guard position. A fantasy punt on Wilcher could pay off if his previous time in the BBL is anything to go by. He will be joining last seasons suprise find Denzel Ubiaro, a low fantasy scorer last season, that has potential to improve. To top off the already impressive steps to try and achieve the playoffs this season, the Raiders released a statement outlining the clubs intension of having it’s own purpose built facility by 2023.

Sheffield have also made notable progress in the off season, resigning their own Captain Marvel, Mike Tuck. Tuck, a veteran Shark, has a two year contract that should see him finish his playing career in a Sharks uniform. Along with him, fellow big man Rob Marsden has accepted a new deal, which is actually a pretty big deal. Marsden has been one of the top scorers and rebounders in the BBL in recent memory and to have a player of that calibre coning off the bench can only be a positive. Look for Marsden to consistently pick up fantasy points, with the ability to go for big numbers. The final move for the Sharks so far this summer has potentially been their best, bringing back last seasons point guard Chris Alexander. Alexander is listed as a potential medium point scoring yellow fantasy player, but defiantly can put up high, green standard numbers.

Finally the Cheshire Phoenix added Ashton Khan to their roster from the Wolves. Khan only played ten league gamed for the Wolves last season, but finished with a respectable 12.1 PIR, making him one to consider as a potential bench player. The Wolves have now lost Khan and their coach Paul James, so they have their work cut out for the remainder of the summer.

The winners so far seem to be the Riders and Raiders, with the Riders edging it by the sheer class of their re-signings. Not to mention their venture into the Basketball Champions League.

Sub note: since writing this piece, the Riders have cemented their case for so far winning the off season by re-signing J.R. Holder, one of the contenders for MVP. Bristol Flyers have also kicked off their summer with the re-signing of the highly talented Daniel Edozie. Still plenty of time left, but already the BBL teams are working hard to better their chances of success next season.