Sport

Raring to go: Manchester Giants’ James Griffiths not letting unscheduled break affect focus

By Phil Jones

Manchester Giants cannot wait to get back to action in the BBL after an unexpected three-week absence from competition, according to guard James Griffiths.

The Giants had their scheduled fortnight off extended after Leicester’s progression to last Saturday’s BBL Trophy final meant Friday’s visit to Manchester had to be rearranged.

Next Sunday’s trip to Glasgow marks the first of six Giants games in three weeks, but Griffiths said the side are preparing the right way.

“Everyone’s just anxious to get back on the court playing proper games, we’ve been in practice for the past two weeks,” said the 24-year-old.

“You play competitively and then the level drops a little, then picks back up, but it’s hard to keep going and maintain focus.

“The next game and the push for the play-offs is a good focus to have though.”

Worried about training getting stale, coach Jeff Jones has shared duties with his assistant Neal Hopkins and Griffiths has appreciated the change.

“Neal’s been doing a lot of fundamental things to keep us sharp and ready to go, working on shooting, dribble moves, passing – really basic things,” he added.

“We’ve taken it back to basics so we’re ready to go and won’t miss a step when we do get back on the court.”

Former Mersey Tiger Griffiths has seen his playing time limited to an average of just seven and a half minutes a game this season.

And with stiff competition for the guard position, he knows he faces a waiting game to earn a larger spot in coach Jones’ rotation.

“My expectation was to be playing around 15 minutes a game, but I understand that coaches have certain preferences with how they act in games,” added Griffiths.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with our rotation this year but I know that’ll pick up, it’s just the first year and getting used to a new team.”

Hailing from Liverpool, Griffiths played with several members of the Giants squad during their time at the Mersey Tigers.

And he acknowledges that in the heat of a game, it can be easy for a coach to forget about giving his players equal time on the court.

“Most of the guys are from Manchester and have played for Jeff before, I’ve only ever played against them in the past,” said the guard.

“And he’s got James and Callum who he can rely on, they’re his sons, so when you play in the same position as them it’s harder to be in the rotation.

“It’s just one of those things, if a coach loses their head in the game they might lose focus on the squad rotation.”

Picture courtesy of Jack Hinds Photography, with thanks.

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