London Lions 568London Lions’ guard Chez Marks believes being able to play his natural game eased the process of fitting into the system of his new side.

The 33 year-old made the switch to join Vince Macaulay’s side at the end of December following his release from BBL rivals Glasgow Rocks and insists he’s now over the adjustment period.

“It usually takes me around a month with a new team and I’m comfortable now,” said Marks. “I feel that this is my style of play, get up and down and everyone welcomed me here with open arms and just been telling me to just play my own game and not worry about anything else.”

The Lions are 5-5 since the arrival of Marks and the 6’3″ guard is averaging 16 points per game in the league, boosted by a 30-point haul in January’s loss against Durham.

The American returns to London having spent a year with the Towers in the 2005-06 season in which he was first introuduced onto the UK scene. Since then, spells with Plymouth, Cheshire and Glasgow have followed and Marks is pleased to be back in the capital.

“It’s great to be back in the city of London,” he declared. “Not much has changed since I was last here and I still see some familiar faces in the stands which is nice.

“We have a great arena, drawing huge crowds each week and we get to play in the Olympic Park. Who wouldn’t want to play in the Olympic Park?”

Marks has played across Europe for teams in France and Hungary and was sought after following an impressive 2012/13 campaign. He scored a career-high 661 points despite Cheshire Phoenix’s off-court struggles and his admiration for the BBL meant that he returned for a sixth season in the UK.

He said: “It’s a very professional league. I’ve had some great experiences and it’s an honour for me to be playing in the BBL.”

“In the summer, I had a few offers and talked to a few people but it was Glasgow who got my interest. The opportunity for me to play for a new team in a new city. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”

The Kentucky native netted 109 points in the league before player-coach Sterling Davis decided to release his top points scorer in favour of a more defensive option and signed GB’s Alex Marcotullio in an attempt to change their fortunes.

Speaking about his release, Marks said: “I wasn’t really surprised. I’ve been released before in busy leagues, it’s a business and if somebody’s not happy then it’s best to go separate ways.”

Marks has been a runner-up on three occasions during his time in the BBL. Winning trophies has not been his hallmark. Yet he is hoping to inspire the Lions to success in the play-offs. The capital side sit in fifth place in the league with a 14-9 record and Marks wants his side to build some momentum heading into the post-season.

“The most important thing is to make the play-offs and I think we’re only a few wins away but we’ll know more in March. We have around a month and a half left to go and we want to secure as many wins as possible for the rest of the season then try to win the whole thing.”

With the addition of Marks and of this week’s arrival Jason Davis, head coach Macaulay has a number of experienced players at his disposal with the likes of Mike Martin, Julius Joseph and Rod Brown all bringing a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the game. And Marks feels that this will benefit some of the younger members of the squad whilst tipping Kramer Knutson to have a bright future.

“We have some very great leaders on this team and they’re good to follow and adjust your game after. We have Kramer (Knutson) in his second/third year out of college, give him a few more years and I think he’s going to be a very dominant player once he learns how to adapt to the professional game.”

As part of last season’s struggles, Marks adopted a player-coach role with the ‘Nix but he’s confident he still has a few more years left to focus solely as a player.

He said: “As long as I stay healthy and treat my body well then there’s no reason that I can’t carry on playing. I definitely think I can keep going for a few more years then I’ll just take it from there.”


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