D1: The Americans are coming!
This week provides Derby Trailblazers with a chance to test themselves against two different American Touring teams, as their pre-season steps up a gear. USA Baller’s Heaven are in town on Tuesday, before USA Select arrive for games on Friday and Saturday against both of Derby’s Senior Men’s teams.
A special ticket offer is available for this week’s game, whereby a single ticket priced £5 for Adults and £3 concessions will allow spectators to watch all four games over three separate days.
Derby’s Assistant Coach and Performance Analyst Michael Hanson-Morris says the week will give the Trailblazers a good opportunity to test themselves against some talented teams, whilst completely focussing on their own side:
"We will look at these games and the two Trophy Group matches as being a five game series which will help put us to be in the best possible shape before we head into our opening league match against Bradford, early in October.
“Games against the USA touring sides provide a unique challenge with their balance as playing to impress whilst playing together as a team and will provide a good level of competition.
"Most of these players come to the UK to try and earn contracts so despite playing in a lot of games in a short period of time, I expect they will come out and play with high energy levels and be aggressive on both ends of the floor.
"We don’t know too much about the players on the two teams, although the Baller's Heaven team did beat Essex by 20 on Friday night, so that should show give a rough indication to the level of talent they will have on display.
"During practice we have started to build our identity on both ends of the floor and this trio of games are important steps which will give us our best opportunity yet to both work together and compete.
"As a coaching staff, it's a vital week in our preparation as it allows us to experiment with different player combinations and styles, so we can continue to build on from what we have seen in our early practice sessions.
"Our team is certainly going to be different to last year, but I think from what we have seen in training so far, it's possible for this to be an entertaining team to watch.
"Hopefully people will find the time to come down and get a first-hand look at the squad before the season commences in just less than two weeks’ time," he said.
The full schedule of games at the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre, Noel-Baker School in Alvaston is as follows:
* Tuesday 13th September – 20:15 – Derby D1 Men v USA Baller’s Heaven
* Friday 16th September – 19:45 – Derby D1 Men v Team USA Select
* Saturday 17th September – 12:15 – Derby D4 Men v Team USA Select
* Saturday 17th September – 14:15 – Derby D1 Men v Team USA Select
The Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre is located within the grounds of Noel-Baker School, Alvaston, Derby DE24 0BR. On entering the school grounds, the sports centre is to your left, with free parking available and tickets can be purchased on the door.
The season proper gets underway the following Saturday, with a trip to newly promoted Loughborough Student Riders in the Group Stage of the NBL Men’s Trophy, with the first home game coming on Saturday 1st October, again in the Trophy, but this time against old rivals Leicester Warriors.
The NBL Division One Season then gets underway with a home match against Bradford Dragons on Saturday 8th October.
Further squad announcements will be made over ahead of the start of the regular season.