Surrey Scorchers get their 2016/17 British Basketball League season underway on Saturday evening with a huge derby clash with the London Lions at Surrey Sports Park, followed by a tricky away tie at the Plymouth University Raiders on Sunday.
Surrey Scorchers vs London Lions
Saturday 24th September 2016
Click here to buy tickets online
London Lions’ 3rd straight 6th place finish last season saw them book their place in the play-offs, only to stumble at the first hurdle.
Former league MVP Zaire Taylor returns to the BBL after a season in France and re-joins the Lions having contributed to their run to the Play-Off Final in 2015. Alex Owumi remains with the Lions and also back for another season are the Williams brothers, Kai and Jamal, captain Joe Ikhinmwin and Andre Lockhart.
The Lions have added dominant forward Rashad Hassan to their roster with the American previously impressing in his time at Leicester Riders. Derek Hall is a newcomer to the league from Canada, while Will Ashby joins the club following a spell in NBL Division 1 at Essex Leopards and Troy Hirst is also given his first opportunity in the top-flight.
Coach Creon has spent his summer building a roster with a mix of experience and youth, ready to challenge for the BBL Championship title.
Tayo Ogedengbe returns for a second season as captain, with former Heat teammate Albert Margai linking back up with the Brit for the first time in a Scorchers vest.
Will Neighbour and Lekan Popoola are also in to add vital experience to the squad.
New signings Mike Ochereobia, Kalil Irving, Chas Rollins and Will Maynard make up the rest of the line-up for the opening weekend of fixtures, with US imports Quincy Taylor and Jay Bowie due to arrive in England next week in time for next Friday’s home tie with Leicester Riders.
Scorchers didn’t take to the court for any official pre-season fixtures this summer, but they did defeat a confident Thames Valley Cavaliers side in a behind closed doors scrimmage last week.
Lions meanwhile made the trip to Poland to start their preparation schedule and suffered a narrow loss against Asseco Gdynia before returning to record a 95-51 victory at Essex Leopards.
Surrey just edge the historical head-to-head by a single win (21-20), but it was Lions who took the majority of the spoils last season with 3 wins to just one for Scorchers.
That single win was a special one though, as a spirited final quarter performance saw Coach Creon’s side record one of the most impressive comebacks in BBL Championship history at the Copper Box Arena, overturning a 25-point deficit to win 82-90.
Watch former Scorcher Timothy 'TJ' Johnson land a huge dunk to help Scorchers settle that big win:
Speaking after training this morning Coach Creon said: “Maturity wise last year we were not that great so I wanted to address that this summer by bringing in some more experienced players.
“I think a lot people have Lions down as favourites for this one – they have built a strong roster over the summer. I am confident that this game will give us a good test to see where we will be for the rest of the season.”
Nigel Lloyd, Lions head coach said: "The Scorchers have put together a really good team – they are deeper than last year so they will be a tough opening.
"We're playing catch up having started our preparations late, but we are going to be there battling and Saturday's game is a good chance to get off to a good start."
Surrey Sports Park is ready to welcome a huge crowd for the first home game of the season with tickets selling well!
Don’t miss out – click here to buy yours online now. Tickets will also be available on the door (subject to availability) but it is cheaper and quicker to buy online.
Season tickets are also still available but will go off sale at 4pm on Saturday.