Smith looking forward to Thunder’s new season

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club coach Gary Smith is not setting any targets for his side’s return to the EBL.

Thunder left the top tier of British basketball, the BBL, at the end of last season to return to the EBL and they begin their competitive season this Sunday, when they travel to Solent in the first round of the EBL Trophy.

Smith was pleased with his new-look side’s showing in their 100-87 win over BBL side Guildford Heat in a pre-season friendly on Saturday but, on the season ahead, said: “We’re all looking forward to the season but have not set any targets.

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“There’s going to be ups and downs throughout the season. We’ve got to try to keep the downs to a very minimum and sustain the ups – ride the wave and go from there.

“I don’t want too much pressure on the team and the players but we want to win as many games as we can.

“If we win the close ones, by the end of the season, we should be okay.

“It would be nice to make the play-offs to extend our season and have good cup runs. I’m happy with the team we’ve got so far. We’re fairly balanced and very athletic.”

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James Brame will be captain and assistant coach for the season, while the rest of the squad so far is Liam Mitchell, Courtney Small, Tomas Seduikis, Chris Talley, Dominic Baker, Jack Sunderland, Amato Frangkiskos and Marcus Tullis.

Thunder included former players Hank Rivers and Okolie Ugbana as guest players in Saturday’s friendly, with Ugbana in Smith’s thoughts for the season. Mitchell hit five three-pointers as he top-scored against Heat with 24 points, while Rivers sank 21, Talley 18, Small 18 and Brame 17.

The evening started on a poignant note with 73 seconds of applause for former Worthing Bears legend Billy Hungrecker, who died recently. The 73 seconds was to commemorate Hungrecker’s highest match-scoring feat – which is still a BBL record.

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