After near-misses in their last two seasons, Worcester Wolves are looking to make it third time lucky in their quest to reach the BBL playoffs, and for their Connecticut-born guard Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, he hopes for a second visit in three seasons.
The ex-Worthing Thunder guard joined Worcester this past off-season and has breathed a new lease of life into the West Midlands side, as they go into the mini Christmas break in second place, four points ahead of the third-placed Glasgow Rocks. Prezzie-Blue, very much the general on the court for Paul James’ team, shooting 38% from three-point territory, while averaging 4.8 assists.
Prezzie-Blue, who has returned to Worthing for the Christmas holidays before going back to Worcester for their top-of-the-table clash with Leicester Riders on Wednesday, says that confidence is high in the camp, as they continue to challenge leaders Newcastle Eagles at the top going into 2012.
“Confidence levels are extremely high at the moment,” Prezzie-Blue commented.
“We have competed and beat the top teams in the league so that gives us a lot of momentum going into the new year. People are finding there rhythm on the court and we are gelling as a unit so the best is to come.”
Worcester handed Newcastle their first defeat of the season last Friday. Down 64-51 after the third quarter, and seemingly down-and-out, Wolves came roaring back and produced one of the British Basketball League’s most incredible fourth periods – winning the last ten minutes 43-22 – as the Eagles fans looked on, stunned.
“It was amazing to be a part of. That was honestly the first time in two seasons in the BBL that I beat Newcastle in Newcastle,” Prezzie-Blue gleefully said.
The American was Thunder’s leading scorer last season, and for the majority of the season, he was relied on a lot as Worthing finished second-from-bottom, and were unable to carry on in the BBL, instead moving down to EBL (the tier below) for this season.
This year though, Prezzie-Blue has plenty of back-up, still averaging close to 14 points-a-game, but with fellow Yanks Richie Gordon and Tommy Freeman scoring at will on defenders across the BBL, it leaves Sherrad room to perform his point-guard duties.
Freeman exploded in that phenomenal fourth quarter performance at Newcastle, scoring 17 points to end up with 33 overall.
Always the professional though, Prezzie-Blue says that it was a pure team effort, along with expert guidance from coach Paul James that saw Worcester past the finish line ahead of the BBL leaders.
“Sure Tommy Freeman had the best fourth quarter performance I have ever seen. But we’re a team, we all came together in the end and pulled together to get the win,” Prezzie-Blue said.
So while Prezzie enjoys his brief time on the south-coast in Worthing for the holidays, he knows that his well deserved rest will be short lived. Yes, he’ll be staying up to watch the start of the NBA season. To see if LeBron James and the Miami Heat can get revenge on Dallas Mavericks, and if Kobe Bryant will be ready for the Lakers despite an injured wrist.
In the back of the young man’s mind, Sherrad will be thinking about Leicester next Wednesday. A chance to go top of the BBL table, something Worcester fans have never seen in their five seasons of top-flight basketball. They might have to pinch themselves to realise that it could be reality.
Despite the mini break, Prezzie-Blue doesn’t think that the time off will effect him or his players concentration levels.
“We actually don’t have too much time off so I don’t think it will effect us too much,” he said. “We have some guys that will be around and will still be working hard. People always have our goal in mind.”