Basketball: Kings hoping Kirkpatrick can rumble the Rocks

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Edinburgh Kings’ dynamic guard Mike Kirkpatrick will be back in the side for Sunday’s historic BBL Cup game between the Scottish champions and Scotland’s only fully-pro team, the Glasgow Rocks at the Kelvin Hall (5.00pm).

Out for several games due to studies, the talented Irish-German vet student, who is known for his lively contributions coming off the bench and was probably the best “sixth man” in Scotland last season, will be up for the challenge posed by Scotland’s only professional side.

And, as he missed Kings’ overtime thriller with Rocks’ BBL rivals Durham Wildcats, he may be under the radar of Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis, who claims he is not sure of the Edinburgh personnel: “They’re very good at running a system and they’re definitely a team who command respect.”

Kings coach Doug Reilly is relishing the task of taking on the Rocks for the first time in his tenure: “We’re delighted to be given this chance to play in the BBL Cup and we’re eagerly looking forward to pitting ourselves against the Rocks in a game which will be an excellent test of our abilities.”

One target Kings will definitely have in mind is to better their score on the only other occasion they have met the Rocks in BBL competition in 2006, when they lost 103-59 at home in the Trophy.

As a warm-up for their BBL Cup game, Kings play giant-killers Aberdeen University in the second round of the Scottish Cup at Portobello High School tonight, 8.00pm.

Facing them will be one of their own most promising players Niall Mackle, who was last season’s Scottish junior captain in a national team coached by Reilly. Mackle played for Kings seniors in their first game of the season against Stirling Knights last month before moving to the North-East and Glasgow Storm were surprised to find him lined up against them when they played and lost to the Aberdonians in the Cup two weekends ago as they thought he was cup-tied.

But basketballscotland league administrator Graham Shaw said the rules were unclear and allowed Mackle to play for his new club against his old one.