BBL LOGO 568Lee Davie is enjoying his first season as head-coach of the Durham Wildcats and is aiming to safely guide his side safely into the play-offs for the first time in their short BBL history. 

With what appears to be a stronger squad than the previous two seasons, coupled with the poor start of teams below them in the league, Durham have a great chance to venture into the post-season. Under the reign of Dave Elderkin, the Wildcats begun life in the BBL with just three wins in their inaugural season before an improved 2012-13 campaign earned them ten victories for 10th place.

And, Davie wants to make sure that his team secure a place in the post-season as soon as possible without finding themselves in a must-win run-in situation come the end of the campaign.

“We don’t want to be creeping in at 8th spot. I feel that 5th-8th is possible for us and we want the play-offs to be tied up in March so we want to establish our position early.”

The Wildcats’ play-caller has targeted their next run of games as ‘must-win’ starting with an important double-header this weekend against teams below them in the league. Both Glasgow and Cheshire have made reinforcements to atone for their slow start with the Rocks bringing in GB’s Alex Marcotullio for top scorer Chez Marks this week.

Speaking of their change, Davie said: “It could be addition by subtraction. EJ Harrison and Marks are often fighting for the same shots so that might help them. While they lose a very good scorer, they’re adding a very good shooter. Alex (Marcotullio) proved in College he could add a lot of valuable parts to the game but it will be a transitional period for him. This could be a good time to play Glasgow and we want to make sure we protect home court.”

“The more important game for us, is Cheshire because they’re a few places below us and we want to keep them there. We want to start winning the games against the teams we’re supposed to beat. (Newcastle) Eagles and Leicester don’t slip up in these types of games and that’s what we’re aspiring to be like,” he added.

The 32 year-old is relishing the challenge of being head-coach having been involved with women’s basketball over the past few years with Durham as well as GB and values the input of player-assistant coach Ralph Bucci in gauging his team’s current position.

He said: “I’m loving it, it’s been a long time since I’ve coached guys again and I’ve been well received and have a good relationship with the guys. Having Ralph (Bucci) has been a security blanket for me. It’s my first year in the league so I don’t have a barometer of how well we’re doing but Ralph thinks we’re in a great place right now.”

“Everyone’s brought in to what we’re trying to do and this has made practices and games really enjoyable. I think we’ve only shown half of what we’re capable of and the next 8 games will be a good indication of where we’re at this season.”

Durham currently have a 3-4 record in the league after returning to winning ways last weekend with an emphatic 115-69 victory against Birmingham. The scoring was spread evenly with six players passing double digits and Davie was pleased with the performance.

He said: “It was a really good win. The guys did a great job. They went in with the right mentality and were fantastic all the way through.”

While other teams are making changes to their rosters, Davie has kept his original squad and believes that this will be a benefit as the season progresses.

“I’m really pleased with my squad. We’re a young, athletic team, capable of setting the tone defensively, speeding teams up and enticing quick shots or bad passes. Our transition game has kept us in a great position and things are really coming together on both ends of the court.

“We have to keep working hard, learning together and grow our half-court game then we can compete with the top 4/5 teams.”

Durham currently have players averaging double figures in scoring, led by American guard Devin Ginty’s 14.9 ppg while 6’9″ forward Mike Allison is averaging 13.7 points along with 9.1 rebounds. Both men are rookies to the league this year and Davie has been pleased with how they have settled in to the BBL.

He said: “They’ve done a great job and their performances have been noted around the league with both getting into the Team of the Week a couple of times.

“Mike has been very solid. He’s very athletic,  covers a lot a ground and has a great vertical leap. He puts the opposition’s big guys in a tough position and also has their guards looking around for him because he’s averaging 2 or 3 blocks a game.

“And Devin’s really picked up after a slow start because he’s realising what he’s capable of in this league. He’s a very efficient shooter and knocks down shots with a higher percentage.”

There has been more onus on the two to perform in recent weeks in the absence of R.J Evans, but the American has been declared to fit to play this weekend while Joel Madourie could be out until the new year, suffering from tendonitis.

Davie said: “RJ is fit and available for Glasgow after playing in the BUCS on Wednesday but we’ll just ease him back in. Joel is longer term as we don’t want to rush him back before Christmas.”

With just one home game in their first seven at the beginning of January, this could prove to be a key period for Durham and they will not want to lose ground and become embroiled in a play-off fight come March and April.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login