Basketball: London City Royals’ AJ Roberts out to ‘spook’ rivals
PUBLISHED: 15:05 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 29 October 2018
American ace AJ Roberts is out to spook the Worcester Wolves by producing some terrifying form on his return for the London City Royals on ‘Fright Night’.
Roberts, sidelined for three games with a groin injury, has told the Royals’ British Basketball League Cup first round opponents to ‘be afraid, very afraid’ at the Crystal Place National Sports Centre on Saturday (7.30pm).
The enigmatic shooting guard is promising ‘a thriller’ as the capital’s newly-formed pro club bid for their first piece of silverware.
Roberts carries with him the reputation of being a big game player. The man from upstate New York is fresh from last season’s National Basketball League Cup triumph with Hemel Storm, who beat Manchester Magic.
He also produced some ‘scary’ form as the Storm made the NBL play-offs. Now, after stepping up a grade, can’t wait for his return from injury as he looks to put the frighteners on the struggling Wolves.
He said: “The truth is I’ve been more cheerleader than player in the last couple of weeks, doing my best to support the lads.
“It has been very frustrating. I originally hurt myself just trying to keep the ball alive during our pre-season tour of Serbia.
“I played through our first three league games but have missed the last three. I’m feeling better now and am ready to go again.
“Lifting the cup with Hemel was crazy, such an exciting night. We started slow but then everything clicked and we ran away with it.
“I had another big night when we lost in the play-off finals to Worthing. But, for all that, I wanted to move to the higher level and here I am with the Royals.
“So far we stand 3-3 in the league. But we know we should be looking at a 5-1 record. Three straight defeats have put in this situation and we must dig deep, starting against the Wolves.”
The Royals opened up with league wins over Bristol Flyers, Surrey Scorchers and Manchester Giants, but then came unstuck against Newcastle Eagles, Leicester Riders and Cheshire Phoenix.
The Wolves will come to London within 24 hours of a league showdown with Sheffield Sharks, when they hope to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
Roberts added: “I feel good, I’ve been training every day alongside the lads and can’t wait to get back on the court with them.
“I shall look to bring my high intensity game with me. We’ve found ourselves having to come from behind so far and coach Junior Williams has been making sure we are the ones making the first push.
“Let’s go – starting with the Wolves.”
This will be only the Royals’ second home game, the fixture list having been very unkind. The club are offering a season ticket and a Nike basketball package to the fan wearing the best Halloween costume.
Tickets are still available for the cup showdown. Go to https://londoncityroyals.com/tickets.