A winning weekend for the two teams that contest the North-West derby live on Sky Sports this Friday sees three players from Manchester Giants and Cheshire Phoenix in the second All-Star 5 of the season, alongside two new faces to the league with NBA credentials.
William Lee – Manchester Giants
The only player making consecutive appearances, Lee could have topped the chart twice for his performances over a double-header weekend that saw Giants take two wins to move to 3-1 in the nascent BBL Championship standings. He had a pair of double-doubles, starting with 22 points and 11 rebounds in Friday’s road win at Newcastle, before posting 14 points and 13 boards with a sensational seven blocked shots as Giants beat Plymouth City Patriots at the National Basketball Performance Centre on Sunday, with four of those swats coming in a first half during which Giants held their visitors to just 30 points.
Sam Dekker – London Lions
One of the biggest acquisitions of the summer saw Sam Dekker come to London, with over 200 NBA games to his name as well as campaigns in the Basketball Champions League and FIBA Europe Cup during spells in Turkey. He makes his first All-Star 5 appearance after a double-double live on Sky Sports as Lions drew first blood in their rivalry with defending champions Leicester Riders, winning 89-78 at the Copper Box Arena on Friday as Dekker scored 18 points on 7-9 (77%) interior shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds and also handing out six assists. That included four points, four rebounds and four assists in the opening six minutes as Lions established a quick double-figure lead before the remainder of the game was tied.
Rahmon Fletcher – Manchester Giants
The two-time Molten BBL Player of the Year departed Newcastle Eagles for Manchester in the summer after seven seasons and nine trophies in the North-East, and he returned to the Vertu Motors Arena in new colours on Friday night in dominant fashion. Giants came away with a big 84-64 win as Fletcher finished with 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds, including four key points late in the third to keep Giants within striking distance as the hosts looked to have got on top, before turning provider in a fourth period that they won 30-9 to take a decisive victory, Fletcher handing out three late assists and grabbing four rebounds down the stretch.
Tahjai Teague – Cheshire Phoenix
The 6’8″ Indianapolis native forward joined the Nix in the summer after a standout college career at Ball State and a professional season in Portugal, and his second half display was the driving force behind their defeat of Newcastle Eagles at the Cheshire Oaks Arena on Sunday. He finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists, with 13 of his points coming in the third quarter including six in a row at one stage to build a double-figure lead that Nix would need to hold off a late fightback, Teague scoring twice more inside the final three minutes to keep the advantage at two possessions.
VJ King – Bristol Flyers
Bristol have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season after opening with back-to-back wins as VJ King impressed in front of a sold-out home crowd on his debut, Flyers beating B. Braun Sheffield Sharks on Saturday night with a customary strong defensive display. The 6’5″ Akron native comes to the BBL via NBA Summer League and G-League stints with the New York Knicks, and he finished his first game with 19 points on 8-11 (72%) shooting, along with seven rebounds in Bristol’s 68-55 win, including four quick points in the second stanza run that put them in front for good.
Off the bench: Marc Loving (Leicester Riders), Duke Shelton (Newcastle Eagles), Javion Hamlet (Newcastle Eagles), Markedric Bell (Plymouth City Patriots), Malcolm Delpeche (Bristol Flyers), Jalen Ray (Surrey Scorchers), Fraser Malcolm (Caledonia Gladiators).