Marcus Evans previews Playoff adventure for record-breaking Flyers

By Jamie Thomas

The pressure was on the Bristol Flyers going into the final stretch of the season, with a tonne of games to play – more so than most others due to various disruptions to their initial schedule – with their fate firmly in their hands, but Andreas Kapoulas’ side have delivered record-breaking results for the club.

Sitting in fourth place in the BBL Championship at the
conclusion of the regular season represents an unprecedentedly successful
league campaign for the side playing out of SGS College Arena, and their star
guard Marcus Evans reflected on the team’s run that has seen them secure home-court
advantage in the BBL Play-off Quarter Finals.

“Although we’ve had a lot of games over the last few weeks,
it has been a great opportunity for us to build some momentum and find our
rhythm, which is really exciting because both of those things are huge going
into the playoffs.

“This is the time of year that everybody wants to playing
their best basketball, and we’ve had more time on the floor than anybody else
to do that recently, so it has been a great opportunity to build confidence and
feel that pressure, too, because these have been games we’ve needed to win.

“I’m enjoying this run of games a lot because we’ve all been
healthy, we’ve all been together and we’ve kept our heads up throughout a busy
period, which has been the most impressive thing to me that we’ve just kept
going and climbed the table with some great wins.”

“The progress we’ve made is really encouraging for the

Whilst the Flyers’ defensive intensity has been a
cornerstone of their success this year, injuries have meant we haven’t
necessarily seen the team’s potential on the offensive end of the floor until
recently when a fuller contingent of the team’s roster have been available to

The Flyers floor general, Evans, credits the team’s
never-say-die attitude, however, and discusses the improvements they’ve made on
both ends of the floor in recent weeks with a healthy roster to choose from.

“We hang our hat on our grit and our determination as a
group – we know that those qualities can either see us take big leads in games
ourselves, or come back from deficits of 10 or 12, and we’ve shown that on
several occasions this season.

“Having those qualities and that identity is going to be
huge for us going into the playoffs, and we know our biggest problem this
season has been figuring out how to win those close games, but even there we’ve
showed some progress and made some improvements in the last few weeks.

“We’re always going to be in games, no matter who we play,
because of the qualities we have that enable us to stay with teams regardless
of how well we’re playing offensively, but we’ve had to learn how to close
games out and be like the more experienced teams in this league who are used to
being in those situations, and the progress we’ve made there is really
encouraging for the playoffs.”

“I’ve done what I can to be as involved as possible
despite being injured.”

Evans has been a star performer in this hectic recent run
for the Flyers, but he has missed a significant amount of court time this year
due to injury – this hasn’t stopped him being a constant presence in and around
the team during his absence, though.

He reflected on his mindset and focus whilst unable to join
the team competing on the floor, and why it was so important to him to be as
active a participant as possible in everything the team did during his

“I always try to tell myself that I can do more for any team
I’m on than just scoring or assisting. One thing I hate is if a guy is hurt or
not playing that they just keep to themselves and stay away until they’re
healthy, so I’ve really done what I can to be as involved as possible despite
being injured.

“As basketball players and people who are part of our squad
and culture, we know what we’re looking for from our team on the floor better
than anybody else, so even when I’ve been injured if I can be on the bench and
see something that helps my team, I’m going to do that because it’s about all
of us, not just me.

“Just hearing a voice and seeing somebody around is really
helpful. Especially for me with the ball in my hands a lot, guys need to be
used to seeing me around and contributing, whether I am healthy enough to play
or not. It is great having 20 points, eight assists and all that, but there are
certain things on and off the court that are more important than that and I’ve
tried to keep doing that.”

“If we perform as well as we can, we can go far.”

With so much basketball played by the Flyers over the last
few weeks, there have been constant reminders and insights into how capable
this roster is, and Evans detailed his thoughts regarding the team’s potential
and post-season chances.

“You’ve seen spurts of how good this team can be, for sure,
against some of the top teams as well, but we need to work on that consistency
and performing at a high level for most of the game. Our full potential is
scary, I don’t think there’s a team in the league that can beat us if we’re at
our best.

“To a certain extent you do find an extra level for the
playoffs, but it isn’t down to more effort – it is just concentrating on the
little things that makes a big difference. Whether that’s really knowing your
scout or being locked into your gameplan or anything else, it is about focussing
on the small things that make a big difference.

“I’ve always said that nobody is going to want to play us in the post-season because we just do not know when to quit. Everybody knows when they play us it is going to be a dog fight and they have to play a full 40 minutes to get past us. If we perform as well as we can, we can go far.”

Get your tickets for the BBL Playoff Finals and join us
for the showpiece finale to an epic season at London’s 02 Arena on May 15th

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