March 7 2014 Latest news:
Exclusive by James Cunliffe
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Vince Macaulay feels the Olympic spirit is still alive and kicking with the London Lions and believes they will become “a very important team” for the capital after a landmark year which saw them move into London 2012 venue the Copper Box.
It’s been an extraordinary few years for the club who were made homeless from their base in Milton Keynes as MK Lions in 2012 but moved to Crystal Palace last season and rebranded to their current moniker to become the city’s only professional basketball team.
This summer they moved again, taking up residence in the state-of-the-art Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park arena in Stratford.
Head coach and chief executive Macaulay said: “We keep pinching ourselves, those that have been with the club for a while.
“To think that 15 short months ago we weren’t even in existence [in London]. That’s marvellous.
“To think that we didn’t set foot in the Copper Box until September, I think we’ve done a tremendous job throughout the whole organisation.
“I’m so proud of my staff and my volunteers.
“I feel that the Olympic spirit is really carrying us forward.
“I think this is going to be a very important sport and a very important team for London.”
On Sunday the Lions rounded off the year with one of the performances of their British Basketball League campaign against Newcastle Eagles, winning 96-82.
It made it eight wins out of nine at ‘the Box that Rocks’ and reversed a three-game losing streak against fellow title rivals Worcester, Sheffield and Leicester.
For Macaulay, it was a sign of things to come in the New Year.
“We hope the way we’ve finished 2013 is the way we’ll start 2014,” he said.
“We felt we would go 3-1 across the festive period but we’ve gone 1-3. We want to be in the [title] hunt, but our season isn’t going to be defined about what we do in Worcester or Leicester, it’s going to be defined with what we do at home and by winning the head-to-heads.
“Newcastle are one of the better teams in the league and we pretty much beat them down, physically and basketball-wise.
“The guys will understand why I’m on at them all the time because this is what they can produce.
“They were exquisite in every facet of the game.
“It was just great to give the fans, in our biggest attendance of the season, what they really wanted for Christmas.
“It was nice to see some of our ex-players here [in the crowd] – Orlan Jackman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning – it just shows what this club means to a lot of people in London.”