Some say that it’s Fat Bottomed Girls that make the Rocking world go round, but after 12 years of playing professional basketball in the British Basketball League (BBL) what Kind of Magic has kept us Rockin’?
Currently the Glasgow Rocks are Scotland’s only professional basketball team, but unlike their predecessors (Glasgow Rangers and Murray Livingstone) they have proven to have the staying power to remain at the top level of the British game.
Formed back in the summer of ’98, the Edinburgh Rocks began their legacy, as the longest serving club to play exclusively in the country’s premiere basketball league.
Meadowbank Arena, in Edinburgh, was where the Rocks called home for the first four seasons of their BBL campaign. The Rocks made their début under the command of American coach Jim Brandon and finished the season ninth in the 13-team competition, with an encouraging 12-24 record. The following year saw the BBL split into two conferences, with the Edinburgh Rocks finishing 3rd in the Northern Conference, qualifying them for the play-offs. The Rocks were successful in defeating Thames Valley Tigers (68-64) in the play-off quarter-finals before they crumbled at the all-conquering hands of Manchester Magic, 88-84 in the semi-finals.
Brandon moved on to be replaced by Greg Lockeridge the following season, but poor performances saw the Rocks finish bottom of the Northern Conference, with veteran Iain McLean taking over as stand-in player-coach.
The 2002/03 season signaled an all change for the Rocks. American coach Kevin Wall lead the re-branded Scottish Rocks at the new Braehead Arena in Glasgow. The Rocks first season at Braehead saw them lift their first piece of silverware, winning the BBL play-off finals with a 83-76 victory over the Brighton Bears. The BBL Cup final was reached the following two seasons, with the Sheffield Sharks and Brighton Bears denying the Rocks any chance of silverware.
The departure of Coach Wall saw the arrival of former Bears assistant coach Steve Swanson, who guided the club to three major finals. The 2005/06 campaign saw the Rocks record their highest finishing position, as they took second place in the league behind the Newcastle Eagles. The play-off final saw the Rocks and Eagles meet, with the Rocks defeated 83-68. The two sides met again in the following seasons final, with Newcastle continuing to deny the Rocks any silverware, winning 95-82. The same year Guildford Heat also denied the Rocks from winning the BBL Cup final, with a narrow 81-78 win.
Swanson’s departure to college basketball brought the arrival of the first German coach to the league. Thorsten Leibenath stayed with the club only a year before moving back to Germany to become head coach of the Giessen 46ers. This paved the way for Rocks current player/coach Sterling Davis. Davis led the club to a fifth place finish in the 2007/08 season, with an 18-15 record and a place in the BBL cup final. The 2008/09 season saw the Rocks on form, leading the league table at the half way point. But a devastating injury to player Blake Shelton sent the Rocks spiraling into a losing season, where they were ousted in the first round of the play-offs. The 2009/10 season saw Sterling take change for the fourth season leading the club to a third place league finish, with a 23-13 record. The Rocks advanced to the Play-off Final, on the back of some outstanding game performances, only to loose to the Everton Tigers 80-72. Davis remains at the helm of the Rocks for his fifth season as player/coach, hoping to put a stop to the 7 year silverware drought.
It’s hard to predict what will happen this season, but no matter what happens, I’m sure that We Will Rock You.
Want to have a look back at the Rocks over the years? Check out the new ‘Hall of Fame Cabinet’ next to the arena entrance!