While previewing the 11 BBL teams earlier in the month, our writer Nate Williams highlighted some “Ones to Watch” this season.
Bill Cole (Cheshire Jets)
Graduating from one of the best basketball colleges in America, the University of Illinois, 6”9 forward Bill Cole is definitely one to keep a close eye on. He was in the starting five for the famous ‘Fighting Illini’ throughout his college career. Cole is a versatile player who can play at either forward position but is best known for his outstanding defensive game. His coach at Illinois used him to mark the opposition’s best players regardless of their role on court. He has impressively brought some of the NCAA division one’s top scorers to all time season low performances.
Ralph Bucci (Durham Wildcats)
His numbers aren’t to be ignored. Bucci’s brilliance will simply make him one of the playmakers of the season.
Justin Dobbins (Sheffield Sharks)
No doubt all eyes at the Sharks will be on the return of Nate Reinking and his offensive skills but Justin Dobbins is a solid defender and a big force under the basket on offence. He has developed a reputation for being a sensational shot stopper and his offensive stats speak for themselves. Last season he averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Jamell Anderson (Leicester Riders)
An exciting young prospect that is also competing in the Loughborough University programme and will now look to build on an outstanding 2010/11 campaign where he was a regular starter for the now defunct Essex Pirates.
Sebestian Maio (Plymouth Raiders)
Belgian Guard/Forward Sebestian Maio- this guy will provide competition for Smith and Colbert having played in some of Europe’s top leagues in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
DeAndre Cranston (Glasgow Rocks)
At 6”9 Cranston’s size, length and rebounding ability will prove to be a great asset for the rocks this season. His scoring ability under the basket will make it hard for defenders to contain him giving the Rocks a vital edge in the frontcourt.
Joe Chapman (Newcastle Eagles)
He only played in 17 games last season but put up enough numbers on the score sheet to impress. In just 17 games he averaged 20 points, four assists and four rebounds per game. Imagine what he could do with more minutes.
Nuno Pedroso (MK Lions)
Completing the Lions roster is Portugese guard Nuno Pedroso who has conquered his native basketball league on three occasions with the championship winning team. Last season he averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists and was named in the Portuguese all star second team.
Brandon Shingles (Guildford Heat)
A young 24 year old in his second year as a pro, he truly is a bright spark in the game. He spent last season in Germany and his coach said he is a fantastic player with the potential to play in the NBA one day. His leadership skills are valuable to any team and he certainly knows how to run a good offence.
Ritchie Gordon (Worcester Wolves)
Gordon certainly has big shoes to fill with the void left by Justin Dobbins. But with his numbers that should be no problem. The 6’9” Gordon played at Western Carolina University where he averaged 10 points and six rebounds a game, including a 23-point, ten rebound double double in the hammering of Warren Wilson early last season.