Great Britain international forward Kieron Achara is loving his time with Glasgow Rocks.
After helping GB to ninth place in the London Olympics, where he played alongside Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders’ forward Drew Sullivan, Achara joined the Rocks at the start of October.
“I’m really enjoying it,” said the 29-year-old. “It’s good to be at home and have the chance for my friends and family to watch me play.
“I played with the Scottish national team a couple of years back, but [apart from a single BBL Trophy game with the Rocks in 2010] it’s the first time I’ve played senior club basketball here, I’m pleasantly surprised about the turn-outs we’ve been getting.”
Achara is clearly enjoying playing at the new Emirates Arena: “It’s a very nice arena with everything you could ask well. It’s well looked after a there’s a lot of families coming to watch us, so I’m very happy to be part of it at the moment. But I am in a situation where I love being at home, but I want to retain my competitive edge and although I love being back in Scotland, I have to keep my option open.”
“We’ve been inconsistent, but I expected that. Trying to fit me into the line-up on a temporary basis is tough, because we can’t have everything running through me because if I leave, Rocks will have to rebuild.
“So it’s been a difficult transition, but I’m helping in every way I can and the team have some great young talent and I believe as the season goes on they’ll improve – especially with consistency – and their maturity will grow as well.”
The GB big man has high praise for Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis: “He’s a great stand-up guy and leads by example. He’s passionate about the game and practices hard every day, and the guys have a lot of respect for him both as a player and a coach. I admire him for doing both jobs, it’s very demanding and tough to do both things. It’s the first time I’ve been coached by a player-coach, and as veteran player I try to help with him when I can.
Achara certainly brings plenty of experience to the Rocks, having been Scotland’s youngest-ever senior international cap when he faced Ireland at the age of 16, He also represent the Scots at under-16, under-18 and under-20 levels making his Great Britain senior debut in 2008 and helped the side qualify for EuroBasket 2009 in Poland. At EuroBasket 2009 Archara made a great contribution in the match against eventual champions Spain in a game that went down to the wire. He was a key contributor off the bench in 2010 and helped Great Britain to finish top of the qualifying group.
Achara came up big in GB’s final game at the Olympics as he led all scorers with 16 points in the 80-59 hammering of China, but the 6′ 10” forward admitted that he still has unfinished business with the national team: “I was on a high after the Olympics, but at the same time I think we under-achieved and a lot of us still have plenty to prove.
“We talked after the Olympics, and although there will be a couple of retirements, the rest o us are determined to do well in Slovenia next summer. We need to push ourselves to the limit, so it was right back to work and practice.”