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London Lions boss backs Ben Smith to get better and better

London Lions guard Ben Smith bursts forward against Birmingham Knights. Photo: Andy Sidders London Lions guard Ben Smith bursts forward against Birmingham Knights. Photo: Andy Sidders

Thursday, December 12, 2013
6:51 PM

Head coach Vince Macaulay believes that the best is yet to come from Ben Smith after his top points haul against Birmingham Knights showed the American guard is starting to find his feet as a London Lion.

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The Texan made his work permit delayed debut for the Stratford-based club in November after 12 months out of competitive basketball following his graduation from Wichita State University in the US.

Macaulay revealed that Smith has been suffering with a hand injury, which had hampered his progress, but 22 points in a 101-72 British Basketball League romp past a winless Knights side proved a positive sign.

“He’s someone that, as the season goes by, we’re going to see a lot more of,” the Lions boss said.

“He picked up a torn tendon in one of his fingers a couple of weeks ago, so that slowed him down. The doctors said [at the time] that should be all clear in four of five weeks, so in about a week’s time he should be healthy.

“Also, he’s adjusting to a new city, a new team, a new system and everything else, so it’s just taken a while and you mustn’t forget that he’s quite young.

“On one hand he’s got to get up to speed from a physical standpoint and that’s coming along nicely, but also he’s got to get his mentality on gear as well, to get back into a competitive nature and that’s coming along very well, so I was pleased for him.”

Lions travel to face BBL champions Leicester Riders on Saturday in the first of a run of four games all against title rivals.

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