Basketball: New guard gives Force alternative net threat

Zak Wells in action for Leeds Force
Zak Wells in action for Leeds Force
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Having gained a first win in their fourth game of the season last week, Leeds Force look to build on that platform tonight when they welcome Surrey Scorchers to Leeds Beckett University.

Last week’s nail-biting victory over the Bristol Flyers continued a familiar formula for the Force since their inception into the British Basketball League a little over a year ago; namely that they win once every four games.

If they are to demonstrate forward momentum then improving that ratio has to begin in the next sequence of games, and what better way to show tangible signs of improvement than by defeating Surrey tonight.

“We have shown that we can compete, but the real test will be showing we can evolve like other teams,” said head coach Matt Newby.

“Our rivals will get better as the season goes on, and it’s important that we do the same.

“How quickly we improve as a team and as individuals will determine how far we can go.”

To that end, Leeds have continued their recruitment this week with the signing of American guard D’Andre Bullard.

The 6’4” guard is a graduate of Virginia Union University. As part of that university’s Panthers’ squad, Bullard averaged 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in his senior year.

Bullard will offer the Force an outside scoring threat, having averaged 38.5 per cent from long range in college. The new recruit will enhance a squad that is seeing new partnerships developing every week.

One of the highlights of the season so far has been the blossoming front-court relationship between British players Zak Wells and Rob Marsden. Wells said: “We both bring something different on the court. He is very good outside and a very good passer and I am getting doubled a lot now and he understands the spacing and where to be so that tandem is working very well.

“We are both getting into the spots where we know each other will be and it works very well personally.”

A victory tonight would see Leeds climb into the top-eight play-off places, their stated aim for the season, though they have played more games than the majority of the teams around them. Tickets for Friday’s game are available on the door with adult tickets priced £12, concession tickets £6 and family (2+2) tickets for £30.

Tip-off at the Carnegie Sports Arena tonight is 7.30pm.

Eric Curth

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