September 21 2014 Latest news:
Exclusive by James Cunliffe
Thursday, January 9, 2014
London Lions captain Mike Martin admits he’s “sacrificing” his body for the team but says it is worth it because he’s just starting to feel like his old self again.
The 39-year-old has a fractured rib but has played through the pain barrier over the last three games, as has Adrien Sturt who has a sprained ankle.
It didn’t show as both starred in a strong, all-round team display to dispatch one of Martin’s former sides, the Glasgow Rocks, 81-65 on Friday night at the Copper Box.
The forward said: “Sacrificing my body for a win, there’s no better prize, so I’ll do what I need to do for us to be able to win.
“It’s difficult because you pop the pills at the beginning of the game, you get strapped up, where protective vests and that’s all you can do. It’s just part and parcel of my role. I’m happy to do it.”
As well as London securing back-to-back home wins to revive a stuttering British Basketball League title challenge, Martin believes he’s only just rediscovering his verve.
“The shots are coming back; my confidence is coming back too,” he said.
“I was in a place where I had to second guess what my role in the team was.
“It’s been made clear that my role is to play the way that Mike Martin plays. That’s what I’ve been doing lately and hopefully what I’ll continue to do for the rest of the season.
“As a veteran, you’re always surrounded by younger, talented guys.
“More often than not you try to allow them to flourish. They guys have been doing that and I need to now step up and do what I need to do in order for us to become successful.
“I think I took too much of a back seat and now I’m doing what a vet is supposed to do, which is lead by example, be aggressive, keep the team together and keep pouring out that positivity.”
Head coach Vince Macaulay feels that Martin is not alone in changing his mindset and that now, at the half way stage of the season, his squad has grasped the magnitude of their roles.
“It’s not just him; it’s a number of players,” the London boss said.
“No-one really knew what to expect this season. We carry a lot of expectation for ourselves and for London, but we also carry a lot of expectation for the league in terms of what is happening at the Copper Box and the Olympic Park.
“The players felt, ‘what have we got to do that is special?’
“Actually, they didn’t need to do anything special. They just need to do what they do and the rest will take care of itself and I think that’s what they’ve finally realised.”
The Lions are in the midst of a two-week break before a trip to BBL champions Leicester Riders on January 18.