Basketball: Cook bringing the best out of guard partner Holmes

Sharks playmaker BJ Holmes. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks playmaker BJ Holmes. Pic: Dean Woolley.

The backcourt partnership between BJ Holmes and Mike Cook will be crucial to Sheffield Sharks progressing in the BBL Play-offs, which begin on Wednesday night at the EIS against Leicester Riders.

Holmes and Cook have struck up a good understanding since the latter rejoined the club earlier this season after winning the league Most Valuable Player trophy during his first spell in Sheffield in 2009/10.

Point guard Holmes said the duo have had to work on their play together but it is coming to fruition: “It’s definitely coming along. Everybody expected when he came in for us to click right away but it took a little time. We’re hitting our stride at exactly the right time and I think we’re showing a lot for the play-offs.

“You bring someone like Mike in and he’ll be adding points to the team. Everyone has been feeding off him and being more confident.

“It’s always a good thing when more than just a couple of people can score the ball.”

Earlier in the campaign teams were able to focus their defence on Holmes but the American says they can no longer do that.

“When you’re a primary ball handler you don’t have anyone else to help you. It’s tough,” he explained.

“When you have someone like Mike Cook coming in he isn’t a role player, he’s a big-time player.

“He’s taking a lot of pressure off me and I appreciate it.”

Leicester finished second and the Sharks seventh in the regular season standings. The first round is played over two-legs with the second game in the East Midlands on Friday night.

Holmes is ready for a tough test tonight (7.30pm): “Whoever is in the play-offs it is open for everyone.

“We won’t take anyone lightly, we’ll prepare well for them and take it from there.

“Both games will be hard fought games whether it’s at a neutral venue, home or away.

“We are pretty good at home lately and we’ll be looking to keep that run going.”

At the Sharks annual awards night on Monday, captain Mike Tuck won the club’s Most Valuable Player award and Marko Backovic was named Junior Sharks Player of the Season.