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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Home Sports NBA 'Winning silverware is realistic for us,' says Phoenix's Larry Austin Jr.

‘Winning silverware is realistic for us,’ says Phoenix’s Larry Austin Jr.


By Jamie Thomas

Repeating the feat of last season, Cheshire Phoenix have bounced back emphatically from a slow start to the campaign and are now the form team in the BBL with six wins in their last six outings in all competitions.

Key to that success has been the unselfishness of a very talented roster, with big contributions coming from different individuals on a game-by-game basis, and their American floor general Larry Austin Jr. is confident that further success could lay ahead for the Phoenix.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing, staying positive and working hard individually and collectively to be ready for the final stretch of the season, which could be really successful for us. Our goal is just to continue to climb the ladder, but it is going to take a lot of work.

“We’ve got some big games coming up and I love those occasions, but more so because of what our fans bring to those moments – they support us so much and give us an extra level – there’s nothing like it, and they help us have fun out there.

“Winning silverware is realistic for us, for sure. We have that confidence in ourselves and we can go as far as we want as long as we stay together and continue to improve our rhythm and consistency on both ends of the floor. ”

“We’re unselfish on both ends of the floor.”

Going into the international break on the back of two big wins against the Surrey Scorchers and Plymouth City Patriots, the Phoenix showed their potential offensively and defensively in each of those games.

Blowing the Scorchers away by 28 points in the first game and locking down on the defensive end a day later to come from behind in the fourth quarter and down the in-form Patriots, Cheshire are really rolling at the moment and the cohesion between the group is at the heart of that success, as Austin Jr. details.

“We’re in a really positive run right now, playing well consistently having gelled and coming together as a team. We’re locked in at practice on finding our rhythm, playing hard and executing when it counts – particularly on the defensive end – which got us the wins on the weekend.

“Coach is always talking about playing together, making those extra efforts for each other, looking for the extra pass on the offensive end and helping the helper on the defensive end, which we’ve been doing night in, night out. We’ve really bought into Coach’s philosophy and it’s going well for us.

“Everybody is putting the team first, and if you’re hot we’m going to feed you. It was Ben Mockford’s game on Saturday and we ran a bunch of plays for him to score three or four threes in a row, and Levi Bradley on Sunday had the first 11 points for us, so we looked for him, and we’re just happy to see different guys have those big nights. We are unselfish on both ends of the floor and that has been at the heart of everything we’ve done well. ”

“We have a lot of work to do to improve.”

With a brief hiatus between fixtures now as the Great Britain Men’s National Team are in FIBA ​​World Cup Qualifying action, Cheshire’s momentum – temporarily at least – comes to a bit of a stop as the Phoenix will not be in action again until March 2nd.

With that in mind, Austin Jr. is realistic about the work that still needs to be done by Cheshire to get better and discusses how Coach Ben Thomas is constantly staying on top of the group to remind them of their potential.

“We have a lot of work to do to improve, and for myself especially I feel like I can pick up my work on the defensive end and leading the team better in the halfcourt sets – particularly last weekend, I do not think I did too well in those areas in helping the team.

“I’ve settled in well, I was treated like family from the very beginning and my first week felt like a month because we just spent so much time together and gelled so quickly that I felt at home straight away. The sky is the limit for us, we can still get a lot better, and there is a lot of room for us to grow.

“Coach wants us to play hard on every play. If we’re being tough and aggressive on the defensive end then he can live with the offensive side being a bit out of rhythm, but he will not stand for any team coming in and just beating us up on the defensive end, so we pride ourselves on that, so he was on me for my defensive work after the Plymouth game and I know





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