It is the toughest possible start to the new season for Sheffield Sharks as they welcome quadruple winners Newcastle Eagles to the EIS on Friday night (7.30pm).
Sharks have made plenty of changes during the summer with guard duo BJ Holmes and Nick Lewis leaving the club.
Zach Gachette has joined Lewis at London Lions with Sharks re-tooling in their backcourt by pairing Mike Cook with fellow American Jerrold Brooks.
The giant 6’10 Reggis Onwukamuche arrives as a defensive specialist to provide support under the basket for John Barber, skipper Mike Tuck and German Patrick Horstmann.
Colin Sing will provide athleticism in the small forward position while sharpshooter Kyle Odister could prove to be a real find by head coach Atiba Lyons. Off the bench young Sheffielders Marko Backovic and brothers George and Eddy Brownell will be a year wiser from previous campaigns which will allow them to play a greater role in Lyons’ rotation.
Tuck said: “Preparation for the season has been going great. You can really see that all our guys have been putting in work in the off-season to stay conditioned and work on their game.
“[We have] a lot of new faces at the Sharks but we have been training hard and starting to gel nicely. We’re all hungry and ready to take on anyone in the BBL and bring some silverware back to Sheffield.”
Sharks may be missing Cook, who has returned to America after a family bereavement, and will face an Eagles squad that could be even stronger than the one which won all four trophies on offer last season.