Ahead of the season-ending BBL Play-off Finals, we caught up with Leicester Riders star Geno Crandall who contributed this special column looking ahead to the event.
Our State Championship games when I was in high school were held at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Arena and we always used to get big crowds there, so I’ve had that experience and it is always really exciting.
The first time I played in front of such a big crowd I was
really nervous and there were so many things I wasn’t used to. Whether it be
the noise, all of those eyes on you, or even the small things like the change
in depth perception, those lights always feel a little brighter in the big
moments, so it was a new experience, but as I got to College and had more of
those experiences I got used to it.
Playing in front of big crowds is maybe something we as
players do get used to or take for granted at times, but we’re so excited to be
able to go out there and do our jobs and showcase ourselves and our team in
front of thousands of people and a sell-out crowd this weekend.
There’ll be a lot of excitement, there may be some nerves
going into the occasion from everybody, but there’s definitely a buzz there and
we all can’t wait to step onto that court and do what we do best.
It is great for the BBL, for the sport and for British
Basketball to have the Leicester Riders and the London Lions competing in the
Play-off Final. If you’d gone back to the beginning of the season, this would
have been the final that fans would have drawn up as what they’d have expected,
and maybe wanted, so to be here now and have that in front of us is great.
It is the storybook ending to what has been a really good
season for us as a team and for the league, I feel, and of course with that
comes some heightened pressure for both teams, because this is the last game
and the last chance for us both to win some silverware this year.
We’ve been billed as the top two teams all season, so to put
that to the test at London’s o2 Arena is going to be really exciting for
It is crazy to say this because we’ve had such a dominant
year where everybody has had their moments and played really well, but I don’t
think we’ve seen the best of this team yet.
If we are able to capture everybody’s best energy and
performances for Sunday, knowing that it is the last chance we’re going to have
for a while to play together – or at all, for some of us – then it is going to
be a challenge for any team that we would face to stop us.