Drew Sullivan expects this season’s British Basketball League race to go right to the finish, perhaps even to Leicester Riders last game of the campaign.
Which would make it a thriller, with rivals Newcastle set to visit John Sanford Centre on April 7 when potentially the title could be on the line.
It’s currently advantage Leicester by two points in the race with the two sides also due to meet next month in the Midlands.
But Sullivan, an ex-Eagles favourite, says it’s way too soon to write Fab Flournoy’s men off.
“They’ve been a championship team for years,” he said. “They’re not just going to lie down and take trophies out of their cabinet. They’re going to play up until the final game of the season, whenever that may be. That’s something you have to give them respect for. That’s something they’ve done, year in year out. But that’s something we’re doing as well. I do expect it to go down to the wire.”
With the Cup already in the bag, Leicester will turn their attention to capturing the Trophy this weekend with the two legs of their semi-final against Worcester inside 24 hours.
It’s raised talk of the Riders emulating Newcastle’s domestic clean sweep of last term.
Sullivan, however, is adopting a cautious approach.
“We’re just going to play,” he claimed. “When you start focusing on things like that, that’s when you start getting yourselves into trouble. You don’t play. You worry about other things instead of what you need to be doing. For us, it’s about playing playing playing. All that other stuff can take care of itself.”
Sullivan remains undecided on his availability for this summer’s EuroBasket campaign in Slovenia after seven summers on national duty.
Surprisingly, he has had no contact with British Basketball as they seek out a new head coach to replace Chris Finch.
However he sees the right choice as someone who can build a link with the country’s top players.
“Someone who is willing to come in and take over where Chris has left it,” is the Londoner’s recommendation. “A coach with a strong personality to go in and demand respect from our strong players. Not that they have to rule with an iron first but it has to be someone they want to come in and play for.
“Someone with a great reputation. If we can get that kind of coach, I’m sure that a lot of our bigger name players will be back again.”
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