December 10 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Forward Adrien Sturt hailed London Lions’ Copper Box housewarming party as great for basketball in the capital and believes it can be the perfect platform to fire their way to the league play-offs for the second season running.
The franchise were the first legacy team to move into the an Olympic venue at Queen Elizabeth Park and their maiden test last week came in the form of a pre-season friendly against American collegiate Big Ten title contenders Iowa Hawkeyes.
While the Lions, who had only had one training session, lost 107-72 the capacity crowd in the 6,000 seater arena in Stratford was a sign of things to come for forward Sturt who has seen the side come from humble beginnings in Milton Keynes, then as the MK Lions.
Chief executive and head coach Vince Macaulay was forced to move the franchise to London last year after MK Council approved a planning application to change their base into a retail unit.
Last term they played at Crystal Palace, but after raising the curtain on their new home, dubbed the ‘Box that Rocks’, Sturt was suitably impressed. “To have something in an Olympic venue is great for London basketball and British basketball in general,” said the 24-year-old Great Britain Under-23 international, whose re-signing in the off-season was something of a coup for the London outfit.
“I’ve played in places like it before in my career and some people might need to get used to it but I think it can be a great atmosphere.
“It works to the advantage of our team. If we can have it full, loud and noisy like that then it will be good. It was a great atmosphere.”
Last season the Lions were the surprise package in reaching the British Basketball League play-offs, where they lost to eventual champions Leicester Riders, but Sturt is convinced that is where the side belong.
“I think we can do it again,” he said. “I have faith in this team, in Vince and all the guys that have set up this venue. I think we can go a long way.
“We’ve just got to work hard, play as a team and we can definitely make the play-offs.”
Point guard Jordan Spencer, who helped the GB Under-20s get promoted to Division A of the European Championships last month and celebrated his 19th birthday on Saturday, added: “Every team in the league is going to see us as a tough fixture.
“Coming to an arena with 6,000 people is going to be tough for anyone.
“When we have them backing us and making noise for us it is going to give us momentum, energy and we are going to perform.
“It was a great crowd [against Iowa] and if we get a turnout like that for every game then there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging for the top four or five.”