A man once revered as a player will be back in Edinburgh on Sunday in charge of new Women’s BBL Cup winners Manchester Mystics as they offer Scottish women’s pro basketball team Caledonia Pride their latest and probably toughest test so far at Oriam (1pm).
Coach Jeff Jones steered Mystics to an upset win 71-60 over WBBL league leaders Notts Wildcats in the cup final at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham last Sunday in a forerunner to the BBL Final in which Glasgow Rocks went down valiantly to Newcastle Eagles.
US-born Jones – whose daughter Georgia, a GB cap, took the MVP award – used to star for the Manchester Giants who were regular visitors to the annual Boroughmuir Christmas Tournaments at Meadowbank.
Tomorrow’s clash is in the WBBL Trophy rather than the league, in which Mystics have already dented Pride, and the Mancunians also ousted Pride from the Cup in their second fixture back in October.
But home coach Bart Sengers will be hoping to prevent the treble, especially if Pride can show the sort of fighting spirit they displayed against Notts in their last home outing.
Some of the Pride team may be in action for Edinburgh University women when they host Edinburgh Kool Kats at the Pleasance tomorrow at 11.20am.
Given the huge attention now devoted to the Caledonia Pride project Scottish champions EU have done well just to make the top six after the league split. Kats, stung by last Sunday’s first defeat of the season at the hands of Rocks, have been working hard on their defence this week.
Edinburgh Kings insist they are still in the men’s title race despite two setbacks this season. “If we win our next six games, we’ll take the title,” says Scottish international guard Garreth Lodge.
Kings will be without Scottish cap Craig Reilly, who is serving a two-match ban after an incident in their away game with Boroughmuir Blaze at the Crags last month, when they face Edinburgh University at the Pleasance (1.20pm).