“I love us being the underdogs” – Rashad Hassan previews Plymouth’s title push

After a tough start to their debut campaign in the BBL, the
Plymouth City Patriots were rampant in 2022 and secured some of the biggest
results of the year on their way to securing a play-off place on the final day
of the regular season.

A significant part of the team’s success was the acquisition
of BBL veteran Rashad Hassan, who become one of the league’s leading scorers
and rebounders under the guidance of Head Coach Paul James for the Patriots in
the second half of the year.

Hassan sat down with us a week before the team’s first game
of the new season to find out more about his hopes for the upcoming campaign.

“I’m feeling very, very confident in the team and what we
can do this year. We’ve retained a lot of our key guys from last season and the
new faces we’ve brought in have done really well in settling in, so we’re
coming into this season with something to prove and wanting to show what we can

“We have a chip on our shoulder because we feel we could
have done a lot better last year, finishing higher up in the table and going
deeper into the play-offs, so our mantra this year is unfinished business and
we want to finish the job we started last year. The BBL better watch out!

“I love us being underdogs. We’re not in a huge city like London or Manchester, but there are a lot of people that love basketball here and show us so much love. We didn’t start off well last season, but with the additions we made we went on a tear from there. We’re a group of guys that genuinely want to win and be successful, and we’re going to do everything to achieve that this year.”

“We were the best duo in the league last year.”

Alongside Hassan’s efficiency inside, the Patriots were able
to count on the electrifying Antonio Williams as the team’s lead guard, who was
also one of the league’s leading scorers and assisters and formed a formidable
duo with Hassan.

Williams was widely considered as an MVP candidate last
season, before being pipped to the award by Leicester Riders floor general Geno
Crandall, but Hassan gave a glowing appraisal of his teammate and the chemistry
that has developed between them.

“I think we were the best duo in the league last year and
we’ve got everything we need to be the best duo in the league this year as
well. He is so fun to play with because he knows how to get himself going as
well as the rest of the team.

“He’s a very unselfish player, he’s a great leader and a
real motivator. I’ve been here in this league for a while now, and it is so
nice to have a teammate that I feel can take the reins from me in terms of that
attitude and mentality towards winning.

“The sky is the limit for us as a duo, we want to continue
to set an example and lead the team and we’re going to do everything to guide
this group to silverware. Like I said, the league better watch out, because we
mean business this year.”

“We have a real opportunity to do something special
with this group.”

So what are the expectations for the Patriots ahead of the
new campaign? In the latter part of the last campaign, Plymouth were phenomenal
and secured some statement victories against some of the league’s biggest
names. Hassan sees no reason why they can’t continue with that upward trajectory.

“We’re just going to pick up where we left off from last
year. We read each other well, we have great chemistry, we’ve built a complete
team here and we have a real opportunity to do something special with this

“We’ve got a great coach, he’s resilient and that comes out
in the team. He pushes us every single day and demands more from us every
session. It is obvious why he has been so successful in his career, recruiting
great talent that buys into what he wants the team to do.

“This group is capable of finishing in the top four of the table, for sure. We have the best fans in the league and we’ve got a group of players that have proven we can make some noise. We can make a final this year, for sure – we’ll be the underdogs, but that’s how we like it and we know we can do it.”

The Plymouth City Patriots get their 2022/23 campaign
underway on Sunday September 25 against the Cheshire Phoenix at Ellesmere Port
Sports Village. You can watch every game of the new season live and free on the
BBL YouTube channel.

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