Basketball: Leicester Riders back on BBL duty
A week on from their glorious afternoon in Birmingham, the BBL Cup winners return to the John Sandford Sports Centre tomorrow for a top-of-the table clash with Surrey Heat (4.00).
While there will be the obligatory parading of the silverware, the Jelson Homes DMU-sponsored Leicester Riders have moved on mentally, and their sights are firmly placed on the challenges ahead.
"I gave the guys a day off and, when they came back, they were excited about getting back on the practice court," said coach Rob Paternostro.
"We have had a tremendous week of practice, there are no signs of anyone taking anything any differently this week. We're looking forward to taking to the court tomorrow."
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That attitude was typified by Jay Couisnard, who when interviewed by television immediately after receiving his MVP award at the Cup final, talked about getting ready for this Surrey game.
"That is something I've noticed since they first arrived, everyone is excited about winning and the challenges we have," said Paternostro.
"They look forward to playing. It's a group that enjoys playing together and is always looking forward."
Riders have not been beaten at home for almost a year now, but they will get a stern test from the Heat, who are one of only two sides to have turned them over this season.
"They are a good team, I like their balance," said Paternostro. "They've done a really good job of playing team defence and you can tell the guys enjoy playing for Creon (Raftopoulos) and they have performed well for him this year.
"We didn't do a good job of defending the paint down there, it's important that we do a good job of that and don't let them have any easy baskets around the rim."
Former Rider Frank Holmes took full advantage of Riders' weakness inside with 22 points and 15 rebounds in the 81-74 success, but Leicester have since boosted their ranks with Anthony Rowe.
Riders: Okoro, Couisnard, Stewart, Sullivan, Calvo, Hopkins, Taylor, Anderson, Washington, Lamble, Haggith, Gould, Dawes, Maynard, Losonsky, Rowe.
Heat: C Holmes, F Holmes, Margai, Cricelli, Raftopoulos, Simek, Joseph, Seipt, Adams, McLemore, Lewis-Parry, Hughes, Swaine.