The team like having Drew Lasker at point-guard, says Plymouth Raiders coach
MARJON Plymouth Raiders like having Drew Lasker run their offence, says coach Gavin Love.
Lasker will be Raiders' third starting point-guard of the campaign for the final month of the regular season.
The 30-year-old American succeeds in the role Rod Brown, who left Raiders and joined BBL rivals London Lions at the end of last month.
Raiders have not played since, but in their last contest – a 104-100 home win over Durham Wildcats – Lasker enjoyed a taste of what's to come when Brown's minutes were limited with an ankle sprain.
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Lasker inspired Raiders and finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.
He scored key baskets late in the fourth quarter when Raiders rallied from 100-96 down.
Lasker first arrived at Raiders as strictly a shooting-guard in the summer of 2005.
The man from Dallas, Texas has since matured into someone who can equally play point-guard.
"Drew knows he's not a pure point-guard, but he can certainly guard them defensively, he's smart and he runs the offence well," said Raiders coach Love.
"I'm more than happy with him running the team."
Love was Raiders' starting point-guard in the BBL from 2004-07.
He added: "Playing point-guard is a difficult thing to do. People do it for years.
"But Drew's learning to do it and he's making good decisions and he manages the shot clock well, which we've struggled to do at times this season.
"I think the team like having Drew at point-guard, because they know he looks to get everybody involved.
"Drew knows to be successful we have to get the best out of everybody."
Lasker held the position of Raiders' starting point-guard on an interim basis for three games over Christmas and New Year when they went 2-1, including a somewhat surprising 97-69 win at Glasgow Rocks.
Jeremy Bell had by then left Raiders before Brown was recruited and made his debut on January 19.
Lasker said: "The hardest position to change on a team is point-guard and we're now on our third this season.
"Guys look up to the point-guard to run the team and suddenly you have a different voice there, it's a big adjustment.
"It's perhaps easier now, because I've been on the team the whole year. They've heard my voice all season. I'm always vocal!"
Lasker and Raiders tip-off a frantic spell of five games in 10 days this Friday when they make the long trip to defending BBL champions Newcastle Eagles.
Raiders then visit champions-elect and league leaders Leicester Riders on Sunday.
Lasker began the 2012/13 season as Raiders' sixth-man, coming off the bench in support of a starting backcourt of Bell and shooting-guard Michael Ojo.
"Jeremy and Ojo outplayed me in pre-season and deserved to start," said Lasker, who overall this campaign is averaging 9.4 points, five rebounds and three assists per game.
"I came off the bench and I accepted that, but as a competitor everybody wants to start and play major minutes.
"You never lose that feeling as a player."
Raiders have slipped to sixth in this season's BBL Championship after two weekends off, but are on course to finish third and a good dark horse to reach the play-offs final in April – if they hit some real form.
Lasker said: "I'm excited I have this opportunity now. I'm going to grab it with both hands and try to make the most of it.
"It's exciting. I'm 30 now, so you don't take it for granted."
Lasker is encouraged by Raiders' gutsy display in the win over Wildcats on February 22.
Wildcats threatened to overwhelm Raiders with a barrage of three-pointers before Love's team dug in at the defensive end and decisively turned the contest around late in the fourth quarter.
"Against Durham I thought it was a game we had to win," said Lasker. "I left it all out there and tried to lead by example.
"Guys followed. Everyone was passionate that night.
"That's been inconsistent from us this season – our hunger for the game.
"Hopefully the Durham game can be a turning point for us. Guys were vocal and excited.
"You had Ojo, the leading scorer in the league, diving on loose balls."