2010–11 British Basketball League season

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BBL seasons

The 2010–2011 season was the 24th campaign of the British Basketball League since the league's establishment in 1987. This season saw the league reduced to 12 teams with the withdrawal of London Capital during the summer and was the first campaign ever to not feature a club from the capital city London.[1]

Unlike previous seasons the Trophy schedule usually played in January/February was brought forward, with the reintroduced group stage being played before the start of the regular season. The campaign tipped-off on 17 September 2010 with Plymouth Raiders beating Worthing Thunder 79–77 in the opening game of the Trophy. The regular league season commenced on 10 October, whilst the season closed with the showpiece Play-off Final on 30 April 2011 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Newly rebranded Mersey Tigers won three out of the four domestic titles on offer, finishing victorious in the Franklin & Marshall Trophy, Championship and post-season Play-offs, whilst missing out on the BBL Cup following a 93–66 loss to Sheffield Sharks in the Final. Mersey's Tony Garbelotto was named as BBL Coach of the Year, whilst Cheshire Jets' Jeremy Bell was awarded the BBL's MVP award.


Locations of the 2010–11 BBL teams
Team City/Area Arena Capacity Last season
Cheshire Jets Chester Northgate Arena 1,000 4th
Essex Pirates Southend-on-Sea Southend Leisure & Tennis Centre 1,100 12th
Glasgow Rocks Glasgow Kelvin Hall 1,200 3rd
Guildford Heat Guildford Surrey Sports Park 1,000 11th
Leicester Riders Leicester John Sandford Centre 800 6th
Mersey Tigers Liverpool Echo Arena 7,513 5th
Milton Keynes Lions Milton Keynes MK Lions Arena 1,400 7th
Newcastle Eagles Newcastle upon Tyne Sport Central 3,000 1st
Plymouth Raiders Plymouth Plymouth Pavilions 1,480 10th
Sheffield Sharks Sheffield English Institute of Sport 1,200 2nd
Worcester Wolves Worcester University of Worcester 600 9th
Worthing Thunder Worthing Worthing Leisure Centre 1,000 8th

Notable occurrences[edit]

  • After a season-long review which evaluated both the on and off-court performance of the franchise, it was announced prior to the season opening that London Capital were withdrawn from the BBL and would instead compete in the English Basketball League.[2]
  • Following Everton F.C.'s decision to cut their ties with the Tigers franchise, the team was relaunched as the Mersey Tigers prior to the start of the season along with the announcement that the Echo Arena would serve as their home venue for the first eight home games of the season.[3]
  • With further delays added to the arena:mk construction, Milton Keynes Lions sought to solve their on-going venue problems by acquiring a warehouse facility in downtown Milton Keynes to convert into a new home venue. The Lions used a court at Stoke Mandeville until the new facility – MK Lions Arena – opened midway through the season.[4][5]
  • Aside from Tigers and Milton Keynes, two other franchises uprooted and moved to new venues for the start of the season. After 15 years of playing out of the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle Eagles swapped to the newly built 3,000-seat Sport Central facility at Northumbria University,[6] whilst Guildford Heat also uprooted to the new Surrey Sports Park after 5 years at the Guildford Spectrum.[7]
  • The season started with a differing structure from previous years with the campaign tipping-off with the opening rounds of the BBL Trophy instead of regular season Championship games. The decision gained a mixed reaction from coaches, with many of whom using the games as warm-ups for the regular season.[8]
  • After several years without television coverage, the League announced on 20 October that a deal had been struck with leading broadcaster Sky Sports to screen one "as live" game a week starting from 2 November, including a live broadcast of the BBL Cup Final.[9]
  • Cheshire Jets forward Matt Schneck was suspended in November after he had failed a drugs test, after traces of a prohibited substance known as Methylhexaneamine were found in his system. The player could have faced a two-year ban,[10] but this was later reduced to three months making it the shortest ban ever handed out to an athlete for ingesting Methylhexanaemine.[11]
  • The Guildford Heat franchise was put up for sale amid a shortfall of funding, it was revealed in December, with the price of the club valued at just £1.[12][13]
  • In a bid to save the Guildford franchise from folding, fans of the club launched a campaign to raise £25,000 in 25 days throughout January.[14]
  • It was announced in January 2011 that this season's Trophy Final would be held at the O2 Arena, in partnership with the NBA as part of its 'Basketball Week', culminating in the Toronto Raptors versus New Jersey Nets game being played in March.[15]
  • The League announced in January that an agreement had been reached with clothing company Franklin & Marshall to sponsor the BBL Trophy Final, which would be held in March at the O2 Arena as part of the NBA's 'Basketball Week'.[16]
  • Sheffield Sharks retained the BBL Cup with a massive 93–66 win over Mersey Tigers in the Final at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on 16 January 2011. Sharks' American import Steve Dagostino scored 35 points and was named as the game's MVP.[17] The game was broadcast live on Sky Sports.[18]
  • Newcastle's Kadiri Richard was crowned 2011 Slam Dunk Champion, after pipping second-place Stefan Gill (Milton Keynes) to win the annual Slam Dunk Competition on 16 January, at the National Indoor Arena.[19]
  • Surrey-based businesswoman Allison Reeve bought out the financially troubled Guildford Heat franchise in January, becoming the League's first female owner,[20] and saving the franchise from 'imminent closure'.[21]
  • It was revealed by the media in February that Mersey Tigers had failed to pay wages to players and staff due to ongoing financial difficulties.[22] The club released a statement about the situation citig loss of two major sponsors and debts from previous ownership as the main reasons for its decision to delay salary payments and to relocate to temporary home venues in Liverpool and Manchester.[23]
  • Essex Pirates' 90–94 overtime victory at Worthing Thunder, on 19 February, was their first and only win of the season.[24]
  • Mersey Tigers claimed their first Franklin & Marshal Trophy title with an 84–66 victory over Guildford Heat on 5 March, at the O2 Arena in London. Tigers' Andrew Thomson scored a game-high 21 points, whilst Andrew Sullivan was awarded the Final's MVP award.[25]
  • The Championship title came down to the final game of the season, played out between Mersey Tigers and Newcastle Eagles at Sport Central on 6 April. The winner of the game would be crowned Champions and after a close contest Mersey claimed their first Championship title with an 80–75 victory.[26] Mersey were the first all-British qualified side to win the title in the BBL's 23-year history.[27]
  • Following the end of the regular season, Worthing Thunder officials confirmed that, due to financial problems, they would be withdrawing the franchise from the BBL immediately and have entered the English Basketball League for the forthcoming season.[28]
  • At the end of the season, long-serving veteran Tony Windless announced his retirement from playing basketball at the age of 41, after a career that saw him play all but two of his 16 professional seasons in the BBL, debuting with London Towers in 1994 and winning every major domestic prize.[29]
  • Newcastle's Trey Moore was crowned as the Basketball Journalists Association's (BJA) BBL Player of the Year, despite being ruled out by injury in March. Tony Garbelotto of Mersey Tigers, was awarded Coach of the Year.[30]
  • In the annual NIA All-Star Game, the Rest of the World All-Stars ran out 119–115 winners over the Great Britain All-Stars at the National Indoor Arena, in Birmingham on 30 April. Newcastle's Kadiri Richard, playing for the Rest of the World All-Stars, was awarded the MVP title after scoring 14 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.[31]
  • Despite going through most of the season with unpaid wages,[32] Mersey Tigers reached the Play-off Final for the second consecutive year and beat Sheffield Sharks 79–74 to take the BBL Play-off title, their third piece of silverware this season. James Jones was named as the Final's MVP.[33]

BBL Championship[edit]

Final standings[edit]

Team Pts Pld W L Percentage
1. Mersey Tigers 50 33 25 8 0.758
2. Newcastle Eagles 48 33 24 9 0.727
3. Sheffield Sharks 48 33 24 9 0.727
4. Cheshire Jets 40 33 20 13 0.606
5. Plymouth Raiders 38 33 19 14 0.576
6. Glasgow Rocks 36 33 18 15 0.545
7. Guildford Heat 34 33 17 16 0.515
8. Leicester Riders 34 33 17 16 0.515
9. Worcester Wolves 30 33 15 18 0.455
10. Milton Keynes Lions 26 33 13 20 0.394
11. Worthing Thunder 10 33 5 28 0.152
12. Essex Pirates 2 33 1 32 0.030
= League winners
= Qualified for the Play-offs

The Play-offs[edit]

Quarter-finals 1st Leg[edit]

15 April 2011
Newcastle Eagles 104–97 Guildford Heat
15 April 2011
Sheffield Sharks 68–83 Glasgow Rocks
16 April 2011
Plymouth Raiders 94–94 Cheshire Jets
16 April 2011
Leicester Riders 86–89 Mersey Tigers
John Sandford Centre, Leicester

Quarter-finals 2nd Leg[edit]

16 April 2011
Guildford Heat 83–88 Newcastle Eagles
17 April 2011
Cheshire Jets 83–70 Plymouth Raiders
17 April 2011
Mersey Tigers 92–90 Leicester Riders
Amaechi Centre, Manchester
18 April 2011
Glasgow Rocks 73–94 Sheffield Sharks
Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Cheshire Jets won series on aggregate (177–164), as did Mersey Tigers (181–176), Newcastle Eagles (192–180) and Sheffield Sharks (162–156).

Semi-finals 1st Leg[edit]

22 April 2011
Newcastle Eagles 76–68 Sheffield Sharks
23 April 2011
Cheshire Jets 64–79 Mersey Tigers

Semi-finals 2nd Leg[edit]

24 April 2011
Sheffield Sharks 98–78 Newcastle Eagles
24 April 2011
Mersey Tigers 86–79 Cheshire Jets
Amaechi Centre, Manchester
Mersey Tigers won 165–143 on aggregate and Sheffield Sharks won 166–154 on aggregate.


30 April 2011
4.00pm GMT
Mersey Tigers 79–74 Sheffield Sharks
Scoring by quarter: 23–17, 19–18, 12–13, 25–26
Pts: Tafari Toney, 19
Rebs: Tafari Toney, 13
Asts: Andrew Thomson, 4
Pts: Ryan Patton, 24
Rebs: Mike Tuck, 8
Asts: Paul Williams/Steve Dagostino/Mike Tuck/Atiba Lyons, 2

BBL Cup[edit]

1st round[edit]

15 October 2010
Mersey Tigers 86–74 Guildford Heat
Echo Arena, Liverpool
17 October 2010
Worthing Thunder 78–88 Worcester Wolves
16 October 2010
Plymouth Raiders 106–101 Milton Keynes Lions
16 October 2010
Essex Pirates 58–85 Leicester Riders


7 November 2010
Glasgow Rocks 78–82 Mersey Tigers
Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
12 November 2010
Newcastle Eagles 105–76 Worcester Wolves
12 November 2010
Sheffield Sharks 96–84 Plymouth Raiders
14 November 2010
Cheshire Jets 109–100 Leicester Riders

Semi-finals 1st Leg[edit]

19 November 2010
Newcastle Eagles 97–90 Mersey Tigers
5 December 2010
Cheshire Jets 85–107 Sheffield Sharks

Semi-finals 2nd Leg[edit]

24 November 2010
Mersey Tigers 114–85 Newcastle Eagles
Echo Arena, Liverpool
10 December 2010
Sheffield Sharks 97–80 Cheshire Jets
Mersey Tigers win 204–182 on aggregate and Sheffield Sharks won 204–165 on aggregate.


16 January 2011
3.30pm GMT
Mersey Tigers 66–93 Sheffield Sharks
Scoring by quarter: 10–20, 15–31, 21–23, 20–19
Pts: David Aliu, 21
Rebs: Andrew Thomson, 8
Asts: Andrew Sullivan/Perry Lawson, 2
Pts: Steve Dagostino, 35
Rebs: Olu Babalola, 5
Asts: Olu Babalola, 4

Franklin & Marshall Trophy[edit]

Group Stage[edit]

Semi-finals 1st Leg[edit]

30 October 2010
Guildford Heat 85–65 Leicester Riders
19 November 2010
Newcastle Eagles 97–90 Mersey Tigers

Semi-finals 2nd Leg[edit]

6 November 2010
Leicester Riders 94–87 Guildford Heat
John Sanford Centre, Leicester
24 November 2010
Mersey Tigers 114–85 Newcastle Eagles
Echo Arena, Liverpool
Guildford Heat win 172–159 on aggregate and Mersey Tigers won 204–182 on aggregate.


5 March 2011
1.30pm GMT
Guildford Heat 66–84 Mersey Tigers
Scoring by quarter: 18–20, 19–16, 8–29, 21–19
Pts: Carlos Medlock, 18
Rebs: Tomas Janusauskas, 5
Asts: Carlos Medlock, 4
Pts: Andrew Thomson, 21
Rebs: Tafari Toney, 9
Asts: Andrew Sullivan, 8
O2 Arena, London

NIA All-Star Game[edit]

30 April 2011
1.30pm GMT
Great Britain All-Stars 115–119 Rest of the World All-Stars

Statistics leaders[edit]

Category Player Stat
Points per game United States Trey Moore (Newcastle Eagles) 23.0
Rebounds per game United States Matt Schneck (Cheshire Jets) 10.2
Assists per game United States Trey Moore (Newcastle Eagles) 6.1
Steals per game United States Demarius Bolds (Milton Keynes Lions) 2.8
Blocks per game United States Liberia Kadiri Richard (Newcastle Eagles) 1.36

Monthly awards[edit]

Month Coach Player
October United Kingdom Tony Garbelotto (Mersey Tigers) United States Trey Moore (Newcastle Eagles)
November Zimbabwe Creon Raftopoulos (Guildford Heat) United Kingdom Andrew Sullivan (Mersey Tigers)
December United Kingdom Gavin Love (Plymouth Raiders) United States Chez Marks (Plymouth Raiders)
January United States United Kingdom Sterling Davis (Glasgow Rocks) United States Trey Moore (Newcastle Eagles)
February United States Italy Rob Paternostro (Leicester Riders) Trinidad and Tobago United Kingdom Shawn Myers (Milton Keynes Lions)
March United Kingdom Tony Garbelotto (Mersey Tigers) United States Reggie Jackson (Newcastle Eagles)

Seasonal awards[edit]


  1. ^ "PAWS London Capital booted out of the BBL". Hoopsfix.com. 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  2. ^ "PAWS London Capital booted out of the BBL". Hoopsfix.com. 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  3. ^ James Pearce (2010). "Tony Garbelotto is relishing a new era for Mersey Tigers". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  4. ^ BBC (9 September 2010). "Milton Keynes Lions set for warehouse home". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  5. ^ BBL (2010). "Lions find new den". BBL.org.uk. Archived from the original on 20 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  6. ^ Mark Douglas (2010). "Newcastle Eagles fly to a new nest". Newcastle Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  7. ^ "Heat move to Surrey Sports Park". Surrey Sports Park. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  8. ^ Mark Woods (2010). "Early tip-off leaves coaches cold". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  9. ^ Sam Neter (2010). "BBL confirms deal with Sky Sports". Hoopsfix. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  10. ^ Mark Woods (2010). "Cheshire's Schneck banned after dope test". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  11. ^ Alec Doyle (2011). "Cheshire Jet's Matt Schneck determined to return a better player than before as ban runs out". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  12. ^ Mark Woods (2010). "Guildford Heat up for sale". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  13. ^ Chris Dyke (2010). "Cash injection plea to save Guildford Heat". GetSurrey. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  14. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Heat not ready to flame out". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  15. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Trophy final to switch to O2 Arena". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  16. ^ "Franklin & Marshall Sponsor the BBL Trophy Final at the O2 Arena". BBL. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  17. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Sharks claw Tigers to retain Cup". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  18. ^ Sam Neter (2010). "BBL confirms deal with Sky Sports". Hoopsfix. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  19. ^ "KD crowned Dunk champion". BBL. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  20. ^ Chris Dyke (2011). "Guildford Heat saved by local businesswoman". GetSurrey. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  21. ^ Colm Heaney (2011). "BBL team appeals for funds". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  22. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Reality bites as Mersey hit troubled waters". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  23. ^ "Statement from the club". Mersey Tigers. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  24. ^ "Worthing Thunder 90–94 Essex Pirates (OT)". BBL. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  25. ^ Rob Dugdale (2011). "Guildford Heat 66–84 Mersey Tigers". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  26. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Mersey Tigers survive epic to take BBL title". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  27. ^ BBC (2011). "Mersey Tigers win BBL Championship title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  28. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Worthing Thunder confirm BBL exit". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  29. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Leicester's Blunt, Windless call time". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  30. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Eagles' Trey Moore heads honours list". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  31. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Mersey reign supreme". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  32. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Mersey Tigers intent on final glorious hurrah". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  33. ^ Mark Woods (2011). "Mersey reign supreme". MVP 24–7. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  34. ^ http://www.bbl.org.uk/?bell-picks-up-molten-mvp-award,2208
  35. ^ http://www.bbl.org.uk/?garbelotto-takes-molten-coaching-award,2206
  36. ^ http://www.bbl.org.uk/?bbl-team-of-the-year-announced,2209
  37. ^ http://www.bbl.org.uk/?bbl-all-defensive-team-2010-11,2201
  38. ^ http://www.bbl.org.uk/?bbl-all-british-team-2010-11,2202
Preceded by
2009–10 season
BBL seasons
Succeeded by
2011–12 season