After the 2021-22 season opened with a fascinating weekend of BBL Cup action, the first All-Star 5 of the new campaign is led by a pair of British bigs from North West rivals, including the Great Britain captain who was victorious when they faced off on his BBL debut.
Mike Ochereobia – Cheshire Phoenix
‘Big Mike’ returned to Cheshire over the summer after a season away down on the south coast and re-acquainted himself with a dominant display in an opening night win over B. Braun Sheffield Sharks. The 6’8″ 32-year-old had a career-best performance with a huge double-double of 18 points, on 9-12 (75%) shooting, along with a career-high 19 rebounds. Phoenix decided the game at the defensive end with a 22-9 fourth quarter as Ochereobia snatched three defensive boards and had one of his three blocks in the final two minutes.
Dan Clark – Manchester Giants
Great Britain’s captain and all-time leading points scorer made his BBL debut in a North West derby on the road at the Phoenix on Sunday, after spending most of his career in the formidable Spanish ACB. He had a game-winning impact as Giants got off to the ideal start in a tightly fought contest that went to overtime, as Clark hit six three-pointers, all after the break, on his way to a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, also handing out four assists. That included four points in the 8-0 burst that opened the extra period and settled the contest.
Jase Harrison – London Lions
Due to covid protocols, London Lions had to send their second team to Surrey Scorchers on Friday night and they pulled off a huge last-gasp upset win led by a near quadruple-double from Jase Harrison. He had 24 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and seven steals with much of his scoring keeping Lions within striking distance early in the game. He also made decisive plays coming out of a timeout inside the final minute, first with a key score and then grabbing a rebound and providing an assist for Bradley Kaboza to put Lions in front.
Marc Loving – Leicester Riders
Leicester’s new American forward turned in a highly efficient display as Riders poured in 96 points in victory over Surrey on Sunday at the Morningside Arena. He hit five of his six (83%) three-point attempts while leading his team with 21 points, also grabbing eight rebounds and three steals. Riders won the first period 34-24 and never looked back, as Loving hit 11 early points including a trio from beyond the arc.
Kipper Nichols – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
Sharks bounced back from opening night defeat with a big win on the road at Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks on Sunday, behind a first BBL double-double from returning American forward Kipper Nichols. He posted 23 points on 8-12 (66%) shooting and grabbed seven of his 10 rebounds at the offensive end of the floor as Sharks scored a crucial 17 second chance points. With the teams tied early in the fourth, Nichols made the score that put Sheffield in front for good as six of his points came in the last ten minutes.
Off the bench: Saiquan Jamison (Surrey Scorchers), Jordan Johnson (Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks), Josh Rogers (Bristol Flyers), Bradley Kaboza (London Lions II), Cameron King (Plymouth City Patriots), Raphell Thomas-Edwards (Bristol Flyers), Denzel Ubiaro (Plymouth City Patriots).