Basketball: Estrada is happy to be on guard with Leeds Force

Leeds Carnegie head coach Matt Newby.
Leeds Carnegie head coach Matt Newby.
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Leeds Force have strengthened their roster ahead of Friday’s mouth-watering derby with Sheffield Sharks with the acquisition of a US college graduate.

Guard Giordano Estrada has joined the British Basketball League rookies on a deal until the end of the season after finishing at Chico State in California in the summer.

Estrada impressed on a two-week trial with the fledgling organisation and is available to make his debut in the first Yorkshire derby in the elite level of basketball, which tips-off at 7.30pm on Friday at Leeds Beckett University.

Estrada, who arrives on an Italian passport, conceded he did not know much about Leeds Force before earning himself a trial but is determined to make a lasting impression.

“I was eager to play basketball overseas and I want to stay out here as long as I can, if that means staying with Leeds then I’m happy with that,” said the former Sacramento State player.

“I’m eager to experience different cultures.

“It’s always a difficult situation, not knowing the team you’re going to and them not knowing much about you other than a couple of tapes.

“But I was lucky enough that coach (Matt) Newby gave me a trial here and I must have done well enough to impress him.

“I was only able to do a few practice sessions so I had to go out there and play as hard as I could and as smart as I could.”

Director of professional basketball Newby had two guards on trial as he looked to bolster a squad that has won just two BBL Championship games so far, but said Estrada was a clear winner.

“With Gio we have got a guard that shows good composure, has good basketball IQ and the right level of discipline we need at this level,” said Newby. “He can do a number of things on the floor and he is versatile. We only had one guard and he offers us something different.”

Andrew Hambleton.

Andrew Hambleton joins Leeds Force ahead of new season