TCS CHESTER Jets' player-coach James Hamilton ended up in hospital after helping his side end Sheffield Sharks' unbeaten record last Friday, it was revealed yesterday.
Despite being sick before the BBL Trophy match, the big American went on court but felt so ill the following morning he had to go to hospital.
Said coach Paul Smith: 'James played his Captain Fantastic role on Friday. He wasn't well all day and insisted on playing, but it seemed he was suffering from some kind of stomach virus. Considering John McCord was also playing with an Achilles tendon injury, it was a terrific display.'
Both have now recovered, although McCord had to miss a day's training this week to have treatment and to rest the injury. They will both be in the Jets line-up against Leicester Riders at Lough-borough University tomorrow in another BBL Trophy Cup match, and although Chester will be favourites, Smith is wary about how the Riders will react to the dismissal of coach Billy Mims this week.
'In a way I hope Leicester don't appoint a new coach before Saturday, because that will give them a boost. But I still rate them a better side than their record indicates. We will have to be on our guard.'
But there is a chance Kevin Wall, who guided Scottish Rocks to the BBL Championship Play-off title last season, could step in before tomorrow.
Wall, a friend of Jets' director and assistant coach Mike Burton, spent last week with Chester during a trip from the States and helped Smith plot the downfall of Sheffield.
Despite becoming the first side to defeat Sheffield this season, Smith played it down. 'There's no real big significance in inflicting Sheffield their first defeat,' he said. 'It was just the first of six games we will have with them this year and I think all six will be fantastic games. From our point of view, we are just pleased to get the win. We performed well for most of the game.'
There will be plenty of old friends around for Thames Valley Tigers as they travel to the Northgate Arena for a BBL match on Sunday (5.30). Mike Nurse, McCord and Billy Singleton have all been Tigers during Paul James' reign as coach, a fact he thinks could come into play in this game.
'It does come into it,' James admitted. 'Obviously I have coached those guys and I know their strengths and their weaknesses, and that helps us a lot because I can pass that information on to our players. Also, those guys know the way I like to play and the systems we run, so it's a bit of a battle, a bit of a chess match.'
First blood between these sides went to Thames Valley after their 90-84 win over Jets in October.
Said Smith: 'This will be a chance to get some revenge, if you like, for that loss, but more importantly it's a chance for us to improve. I'm looking for improvement each time we get on the court, that is what we are getting at the moment and it's what we need to get again this weekend.
'The thing about Thames Valley is that they can beat you in a number of ways. They have some good veteran experience inside and they have got shooters from all over the show. They mix their defences up and that defence is pretty intense and very tough.
'What I learned from our last meeting was that if we don't score from minute one, which we didn't do last time and we were 11-0 down, then we will get beaten.'