Royals to kick-off BBL term on road
PUBLISHED: 13:40 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 19 September 2018
Royals begin BBL campaign on the road this weekend
If London City Royals head coach Jay Williams ever struggles to perk up his team, he can always turn to a recording in his honour from Michael Jordan for inspiration.
The biggest basketball superstar of them all sent Williams a special message at an awards night to thank him for his coaching work at a newly refurbished court in South London in the Nike legend’s name.
Now Williams, 42, is looking to make another big splash in the game he graced as a player and community basketball pioneer.
The newly-formed Royals tip off at Bristol Flyers on Saturday looking to become the first English franchise to make it big in their debut season in the British Basketball League (BBL).
Home fans can check them out a week later at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on September 29 against Surrey Scorchers.
“We’re trying to make history by pulling off a top-four finish and fly in the face of the critics who say we won’t last past our first year,” said Williams, the former England and GB point guard.
“We’re new, have a full-time set-up and are very professional, and think about nothing else other than winning.
“We aim to give London a team to be proud of and, hopefully, mimic the all-round team play of the best clubs in France, Serbia and Spain.”
The Royals have just returned from a pre-season tour in Serbia, where they won their final match against Partizan 81-64.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning exploded with 32 points and Orlan Jackman played like a warrior.
Ashley Hamilton, who helped Manresa win promotion to the top Spanish league last season, is sidelined with a wrist injury, but a host of American collegiate regulars and the likes of Ed Lucas, the Angolan international who grew up in South London and new kid on the block Kyle Carey, make up a formidable squad.
Williams scouted Bristol this week and expects the Royals to experience a difficult BBL baptism.
He added:“Flyers are organised and structured and not that dissimilar to the teams we faced in Serbia.
“We are confident of putting on a good display. Then we can’t wait for our home debut. “