BBL Legends name their pre-season championship favorites

The new campaign is almost here, and we know you’re just as excited for the new season as we are!

It’s been an epic summer for British Basketball, and with the return of the BBL comes a new level of anticipation, as we’re set for another epic campaign with a ton of incredible talent on the pitch to compete for glory.

While a ball has yet to be bounced in anger in BBL Championship action this season, we love a good prediction as much as the next person, so we’ve tasked three British basketball legends with making their pre-season picks to find out who will finish where in the title chase this season! Drew Lasker, Mike Tuck and Kieron Achara MBE were all up for this daunting challenge…so read on to find out who they picked.

Drew Laker

First place – London Lions
In year three, as undisputed pre-season favorites, the Lions have finally delivered this year. It won’t be easy as they navigate the schedule equivalent to a Drake World Tour, but their overwhelming skill will see them across the finish line.

Second place – Leicester Riders
It’s hard to bet against a team that has won five of the last six BBL Championship titles. Their rich culture and experienced squad sprinkled with the seven-time Coach of the Year will see this well-oiled machine claim victories this season, although life will be slightly different after having to prepare for the season with Europe also to face . .

Third Place – Manchester Giants
Vince didn’t come back to participate! He has come to take advantage of any slippage the European Riders and Lions schedule may face domestically by recruiting an experienced BBL squad who all come with individual awards and silverware.

Fourth place – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
As my co-host, Jay Marriott, on the BBL show calls them “the most consistent to be consistent.” Otherwise, how to explain a team finishing second after not recording a league victory for 42 days last season. They don’t have the talent of the front three, but their tenacity and defensive commitment will allow them to overcome the other six clubs.

Fifth place – Cheshire Phoenix
Sixth Place – Plymouth City Patriots
Seventh place – Newcastle Eagles
Eighth place – Caledonia Gladiators
Ninth place – Surrey Scorchers
Tenth place – Bristol Flyers

mike tuck

First place – Leicester Riders

The records speak for themselves! Although many people have been blinded by the bright lights of London over the past two years, the Riders still manage to find a way by winning consistently. Last season’s Coach of the Year, Rob Paternostro, maintains a well-oiled machine with a strong returning core and a few new parts. Will they be able to fill the void left by Geno Crandall?

Second place – London Lions

The big-money big city side have yet to live up to their hype, but if there was ever a season I was most confident it would be this one. They’ve pieced together a star roster that gives them depth in every position. New head coach Ryan Schmidt is coming off of an incredible summer after winning the CEBL Summer League of Canada Championship with the Hamilton Honey Badgers and earning Coach of the Year honors. Will the busy EuroCup/BBL schedule catch up with them or can they persevere?

Third Place – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

Once a shark, always a shark! I will always support my Sharks. The one word that always comes to mind with Sheffield is consistency. Coach Lyons has done a great job of building a strong squad this season, bringing back six key experienced players from last season and adding four newcomers who complement them well. Newly appointed captain Rodney Glasgow Jr. will be an excellent leader to lead them into this new era.

Fourth Place – Manchester Giants

British basketball legend Vince Macaulay is back! And it just seems like he came to a historic club like the Giants. Vince has orchestrated what looks like a team that has all the pieces to succeed. With names like Rahmon Fletcher, Dirk Williams, Nick Lewis and many more, these are players and a manager who have been around the BBL and know what it takes to win.

Fifth place – Cheshire Phoenix
Sixth place – Caledonia Gladiators
Seventh place – Plymouth City Patriots
Eighth place – Newcastle Eagles
Ninth place – Bristol Flyers
Tenth place – Surrey Scorchers

Kieron Achara MBE

First place – London Lions

I’ll have to say the London Lions at the top. They’re so stacked with top talent in every position, and they’re a deep roster. It’s Coach Schmidt’s team and he’s recruited for what he thinks he needs in a system he’s chosen in Europe and in the BBL, so I have to put them first I think.

Second place – Leicester Riders

A close second will be the Leicester Riders, for me. I probably would have pushed them into first place if they had kept Geno Crandall for another year, just because of this consistency they would have had. They brought in a great guard in CJ Jackson to replace Geno, but right now I just want to see how he does before pushing the Riders higher. Coach Paternostro does a great job integrating new players so I’m sure they’ll come together quickly, but right now for me they’re number two. To be honest, I also had them at number two last year and they proved me wrong, so who knows!

Third place – Caledonia Gladiators

I’ll go with the Caledonia Gladiators at number three, simply because I’m extremely biased! No, seriously, I think Gareth (Murray) has done a good job recruiting this summer, and with Ali Fraser coming back healthy and showing what he can do with the team last season before the injury, if the Gladiators can rely on who are running to finish the season, so I think they can do well.

Fourth place – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

I’m going with the proven four-year-old Sheffield Sharks. Coach Atiba (Lyon) always gets the best out of his team, especially on the defensive side. With Rodney Glasgow Jr. back as captain, I think he’s a big piece for them – especially if he stays healthy throughout the season – and can help them carry on because he is such a big piece of the puzzle and I see them ending up at number four.

Fifth Place – Plymouth City Patriots
Sixth place – Surrey Scorchers
Seventh place – Manchester Giants
Eighth place – Newcastle Eagles
Ninth place – Cheshire Phoenix
Tenth place – Bristol Flyers

What do you think of this trio’s picks!? Let us know on social media who your favorites are to finish in which positions in the upcoming BBL Championship campaign, and don’t forget you can watch all the action live on the BBL YouTube channel, or get tickets to watch your favorite team in action here!

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