It’s a new season but there’s only one new face in the first weekly BBL All-Star 5 of the campaign, which is led by a pair of Manchester Giants after a double overtime thriller at the National Basketball Performance Centre on Sunday.
William Lee – Manchester Giants
Former NBA Summer League and G-League forward William Lee won the BBL Championship last time he was on these shores, with Leicester Riders, and he has got off to a flying start in Manchester with a dominant double-double in a sensational double overtime win over B. Braun Sheffield Sharks on Sunday. Lee played close to 44 minutes, scoring 23 points and snatching 13 rebounds, along with four assists and two blocks, including the score that tied the game at the end of the first overtime period followed by five points – scoring the go-ahead basket with 40 seconds remaining – and four rebounds in the last of six stanzas.
Dirk Williams – Manchester Giants
Playing against his former team, sharpshooter Dirk Williams was the other player who was instrumental in Manchester’s victory over Sheffield. He finished with 31 points, nailing 6-11 (54%) three-pointers and scoring 5-7 (71%) on the interior including a characteristic highlight reel dunk on the breakaway. He did much of his scoring early in the game, with 19 first half points as Giants established a big lead, before five key points in overtime.
Jamell Anderson – Cheshire Phoenix
The league veteran won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham over the summer, returning to Cheshire Phoenix from a stint with their North-West rivals for his 13th BBL campaign, and he was dominant at both ends of the floor as the Nix picked up an opening night victory at Surrey Scorchers. He had a near double-double of 22 points and nine rebounds, along with four assists and three steals, including 10 points and a pair of early triples as Cheshire hit an 18-5 first quarter surge and led from that point on.
Mike Miller – Bristol Flyers
Returning to Bristol following their highest ever finish of fourth in the BBL Championship table last time out, American guard Mike Miller picked up where he left off with a near triple-double in the narrowest of home wins over Manchester Giants on opening night. He finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in the 79-78 victory, including three dimes – all for Malcolm Delpeche scores – in the last three minutes of the game as Flyers overturned a late deficit and Miller made key plays for his big man, who features on the bench in the weekly team.
Kosta Koufos – London Lions
One of the big new names to the BBL at London Lions, seven-foot Greek international Kosta Koufos has over 700 NBA games under his belt and wasted no time introducing himself to the BBL live on Sky Sports on Friday night. In just 23 minutes of action, he scored 18 points on 8-10 (80%) shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in Lions’ road win at B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, including seven points in a 17-4 start to the third period that broke the game open.
Off the bench: Sa’eed Nelson (B. Braun Sheffield Sharks), Javion Ogunyemi (B. Braun Sheffield Sharks), Luke Busumbru (Surrey Scorchers), Isa Brandon (Plymouth City Patriots), Sam Dekker (London Lions), Antonio Williams (Plymouth City Patriots), Malcolm Delpeche (Bristol Flyers).
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