A three-year veteran of the Leicester Riders, Kimbal Mackenzie is still learning to adapt in the British Basketball League.
After many major changes in the construction of the Riders’ roster, which included the additions of the likes of Miryne Thomas, Caleb Asberry, and Xavier Pinson, Mackenzie now sees himself as one of the veterans on a very young Leicester team.
the British Basketball League about his faster-than-expected role as the
primary leader and mentor to the crop of Leicester’s new talent, Mackenzie has
embraced the role to teach the young guns how it’s done.
happened fast. Two years ago, I was one of the young guys, and then out of
nowhere, I’m a veteran.
“It’s been a role that I’ve embraced. Nothing changes for me in terms of my leadership, how I approach every day, in terms of how I can communicate with guys. Being captain is an honour to be, but every day remains the same for me.
“I remember back to when I was a first year, and there’s a lot to learn, and they’ve taken it in stride; they’ve had fun with it.”
Mackenzie now seeing himself as the sixth man of the Leicester Riders, the
exciting young talent of Leicester has been able to thrive without the fear of
Kimbal kicking up a fuss or demanding roles.
of Jaren Holmes, Xavier Pinson, and Miryne Thomas have been lighting up the
British Basketball League, with Pinson notably getting mentions of being involved
in the MVP race.
couldn’t stop gushing over the incredible young talent his team possesses. The Riders
captain earmarked the qualities of nearly every single player on the Leicester
roster and pointed out abilities for each player that people won’t see pop up on
the box score.
“Every guy has impressed me in different ways. Caleb [Asberry], does things that may not jump out to the casual viewer, but his general basketball IQ and ability to be in the right spots is impressive.
[Pinson]’s dynamic offensive ability, TJ [Lall]’s ability to influence a game
in so many ways without appearing on the stat sheet.
“Miryne [Thomas] is fire. He’s a guy who plays hard all the time, and that’s something that can be tough to get out of people. Jaren [Holmes]’s maturity for a young guy, I could go on, this is how I am. I’ve been impressed with things about everyone, and we have a lot of talent.”
Leicester Riders see themselves against the London Lions in arguably the
marquee matchup of game week nine of the British Basketball League.
With the Lions losing to the Plymouth City Patriots recently, the Lions look beatable. Even though they are top of the table, Mackenzie believes that his Riders team can take the Lions to the brink once again.
Mackenzie has seen first-hand how dominant the Lions have been and isn’t new to the star power London possesses. Losing in the playoff final, and the trophy final last season, he knows that not making the game into a spectacle is the best way to keep calm and carry out their game plan.
“Obviously we’re aware that it’s a big game; they’re top of the table. Everyone’s trying to knock them off, so I’m sure there will be a little bit of extra juice there.
have to take this game as seriously as we take every other game. We’ll embrace
the moment, and have fun, I think it’s just about going into the game and
letting our play do the talking.”
The Leicester captain will primarily be matched up against the likes of Luke Nelson and the leading scorer of the British Basketball League, Matt Morgan.
American guard for the Lions is currently averaging 21.8 points per game and is
coming off receiving the British Basketball League’s Player of the Month award
knows it is arguably the hardest assignment in the league currently to slow
down Morgan, but he has a plan in mind.
“It’s a good idea to get him off the three-point line; he’s been shooting pretty darn well, the stats tell the truth.
“They run a lot of good sets for him, and I just need to make things tough for him. London are packed with talent, and you’re not going to shut them out or be perfect, and there will be mistakes.
“But the goal is to make them work. Our goal is to take them out of their actions, do my part and play good team defence. This is what it’s going to take; they don’t play 1v1 basketball, so we have to be really connected and have to try really hard to stop them over 40 minutes.”
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