London Lions sign former NBA star DeAndre Liggins and re-sign Lockhart

Andre Lockhart on the ball against Newcastle Eagles (pic Graham Hodges)

Andre Lockhart on the ball against Newcastle Eagles (pic Graham Hodges) - Credit: Archant

The London Lions have announced the addition of five-year NBA veteran, DeAndre Liggins to the 2020-21 squad.

The six foot seven inch Liggins will play the small forward and guard roles for the Lions to help bolster their options as they look to retain their British Basketball League title.

The last time Liggins played in the NBA was during the 2018 play-offs as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, but also played 64 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and had his longest stay with the Miami Heat and their G-League affiliate, Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Achievements include being the G-League Champion in 2016 also an All-Star and two-time G-League Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and 2016. Liggins appeared in 34 games (33 starts) for Sioux Falls during its 2016 championship season and averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.06 steals per game.

2018-19 saw the Kentucky Wildcats graduate play in 25 G-League games – including 21 starts – Liggins averaged 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

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Liggins had this to say about the Lions forthcoming season in BBL and the Basketball Champions League: “I am very excited to join such a winning and upcoming organisation.

“My competitive edge and winning mentality will certainly be effective immediately in the London Lions’ organisation, I’m excited and can’t wait.”

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Lions Head Coach, Vince Macaulay, added: “This is a great opportunity for us all in British basketball, Deandre is an unbelievable hard worker, we wanted someone that would nullify the highest of European talent and we think we have him.

“His experience, his team ethos will no doubt spread into our team, I’m delighted we could sign him and I’m sure all our fans will take him to their hearts.”

Veteran guard, Andre Lockhart, is back for a sixth successive season and returns on the back of his best season yet with the Lions, averaging 6.2 points per game on 46% shooting from the floor and 52% from the three point line, all career highs for the fan favourite.

After playing a significant role in the Championship winning season 34-year-old Lockhart will also continue as Director of Lions’ Basketball Academy Partnerships with the New City College where he serves as a mentor and coach to the talent of the future.

After three seasons with Queens University in the USA, Lockhart arrived in the BBL in the 2010/11 season as he helped Newcastle Eagles to the runners-up spot in the BBL Championship.

After spells back in Barbados and Germany, Lockhart returned to the UK in January 2014 and helped Essex Leopards finish as runners-up in NBL Division One, his first Lions’ appearance was in the 2015-16 season.

“Returning to Lions for a sixth year is truly a blessing, the beginning of every season is always exciting but with unfinished business from last season due to the pandemic, and us taking this amazing step into European competition.

“It’s actually the most exciting season thus far. It’s been a different off season from those in the past but I know the club is ready and being one of the veteran guys so am I. As always, I’m ready to do whatever it takes for us to be successful when my number is called.”

Lions Head Coach, Vince Macaulay added: “It’s amazing that Andre has been here for six years, you begin to realise how much he and the long-term returnees have shaped the culture of this club.

“If there is one person you can always count on, its Andre, his attitude is contagious, and he wants so much for everyone around him, hence his immense unselfishness. It’s great that we can continue the journey.”

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