Ahead of the season-ending BBL play-off final, we caught up with Leicester Riders star Geno Crandall, who contributed to this special column ahead of the event.
When I was in high school our state championship games were at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Arena and we always used to have big crowds there so I had that experience and that’s always very exciting.
The first time I played in front of such a big audience, I was really nervous and there were so many things I wasn’t used to. Whether it’s the noise, all those eyes on you, or even the little things like changing depth perception, those lights always feel a bit brighter in big moments, so it was a new experience, but like I got to college and had more of those experiences that I got used to.
Playing in front of large crowds is maybe something that we as players are used to or sometimes take for granted, but we’re so excited to be able to go out there and do our job and present ourselves as well as our team in front of thousands of people. of people and a sold-out crowd this weekend.
There’s going to be a lot of excitement, there might be nerves on everyone’s occasion, but there’s definitely a buzz out there and we’re all looking forward to getting into this field and doing this what we do best.
It’s great for the BBL, for the sport and for British basketball that the Leicester Riders and London Lions are in the play-off final. If you had gone back to the start of the season, this would have been the finale that fans would have drawn as they expected, and perhaps wanted, so to be here now and have this in front of us is awesome.
It’s the storybook ending on what has been a really good season for us as a team and for the league I think, and of course that comes with increased pressure on the two teams, because it’s the last game and the last chance for both of us to win silverware this year.
We’ve been touted as the top two teams all season, so putting that to the test at London’s o2 Arena is going to be really exciting for everyone.
It’s crazy to say that because we had such a dominant year where everyone had their moments and played really well, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of this team yet.
If we’re able to capture everyone’s best energy and performance for Sunday, knowing that this is the last chance we’ll have for a while to play together – or not at all, for some of us – then it will be a challenge for any team we face to stop.