Two sides who progressed in the BBL Cup last weekend meet at Surrey Sports Park on Sunday as the Rocks face the Surrey Heat with BBL Championship points at stake.
Heat coach Creon Raftopoulos is impressed with the Rocks side: “I think Sterling [Davis] has put together a good team and their results against a good Eagles team can be misleading as I feel they are in line to be fighting for a top four position. They have a mix of athleticism, experience and good size. We have had a good start to the season and this will be a our toughest test on our home floor this season.
“They’re a deep unit with multiple weapons but their highest profile player would have to be GB player Kieron Achara who can score in the paint, has three point range and is a shot blocker. EJ Harrison has to be one of or the best most natural point guards the BBL has and has started the season really well. Gareth Murray, Andrew Wedermire and Donald Robinson are all averaging double figures so a good team defence performance will be needed to defend this seasons home court recorded.”
Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis expects a tough game in Surrey: “The Heat have got off to a solid start this season. I have a lot of respect for Creon and what he does down there with his units.
“I think they have an even talent level across the board that does not allow you to key in on one particular player or facet to what they do.”
Heat forward Julius Joseph was delighted to see Heat continuing their good start to the campaign with two wins last weekend: “It was a good week, we’ve kept the momentum going and picked up another couple of wins.”
Joseph admitted that he is a little surprised by Heat good start to the season: “Yeah, a little bit, to be honest. We’ve only lost once and we’re playing well together. It’s nice after last season, and we’ve jumped straight in. we’ve managed to pick up some wins and we’re learning at the same time. We’re all getting on the same page and looking forward to building on those wins.”
But the veteran forward believes Rocks will Heat one of their toughest challenges so far: “They will definitely be a tough challenge. They’re always contenders in the league, and it’ll be a difficult match-up. Gareth Murray has kind of transformed into a captain and leader on the floor, and he’s played some great basketball over the last two years. But you always have to look out for EJ, he’s a great player and has had an outstanding career in this league.”
Rocks also sealed a Cup quarter-final spot with a narrow home win against Manchester Giants, but Davis wasn’t entirely satisfied with his side’s display: “I thought we played another inconsistent game to be honest. Our group has to be able to get to a certain level of performance and either keep it at that level or improve on it and right now we are very unpredictable. EJ has been playing some very good ball for us which shows a big determination on his part considering his adversity last season.
Home court advantage proved to be key in the three games between the sides last season as Rocks took the series 2-1.
Check out what Sterling had to say ahead of the game below: