On Monday 21st February, Burn FM sat down with Nikos Tokos and Kate Biddulph of UoB Basketball to discuss the upcoming REBELLION event. The super series event will see the Men’s 1s and Women’s 1 take on rival teams BCU and Wolverhampton, respectively.
Biddulph explained that REBELLION is a ‘showcase of the sport’ while Tokos encouraged listeners to get their tickets to the event which will also feature a DJ and halftime entertainment described as ‘top notch.’ The halftime show will be performed by the UoB Pussycats, who were firm crowd favourites at EXPLOSION, the American Football super series event.
This will be the first time the Men’s 1s take on BCU, who are top of the league. However, Tokos is certain UoB can take the win, saying: ‘We’re going in confident, we’re going in with a game plan, and we’re going in looking for the win, really.’
What are the women expecting from REBELLION? Biddulph said they are looking to ‘do the double’ after winning their first game against Wolverhampton earlier this season.
‘We know it’s a tough game, they’re one of our most aggressive opponents so they really come to the ball and they come for you. We want to make sure we’re ready for that and get the biggest win possible,’ Biddulph told Burn FM.
Tickets for the event will cost you a mere £3 (or £5 for courtside seats) and all the money will be reinvested into the club. One of Tokos’ big goals for the year is to secure a shooting machine, which is a piece of equipment that rebounds the ball for you and fires it back out. Biddulph reaffirmed: ‘Any profits we do make will go back into the club for equipment to make it better for the years coming in.’ With a need for new bibs, balls, and various other equipment, this event could prove beneficial to the club.
Sport was hit hard by the pandemic, and when asked by interviewers Joe Camp and Seth Nobes how they bounced back after Covid-19, Tokos admitted ‘it’s been a struggle.’ Being an indoor sport, the restrictions for basketball have been tight which resulted in the teams only being able to play during the last three months of the last academic year.
Biddulph explained that during the pandemic, the women’s team relied on some of the existing players to help coach the freshers. The second years in the club didn’t get a playing season last year which means that at the start of this season there were a lot of people who were ‘very inexperienced.’ The team knew that they had to ‘build around that’ and make sure the players know what they’re getting into’ as it’s quite stressful and ‘quite a big responsibility if you want to be in a winning mindset.’
Although it has been a difficult season for the Men’s 1s, Tokos explained that the extra buzz around REBELLION will help motivate the team. ‘I know personally hearing a crowd hearing chanting from fans and people there wanting to see you succeed and do well does spur you on and motivates you to really give it your all,’ he said.
With BCU at the top of the league, having not lost a single game, the men have adopted an underdog mentality, which they credit with being inspired by their coach. Tokos tells Burn: ‘We’re not a particularly tall team so we’ve got to be scrappy, we have to play harder than all the teams we play against. That is the underdog’s mentality.’
Meanwhile, the women are playing Wolverhampton, who sit neck and neck in a draw position currently with UoB in the league. Biddulph is adamant this won’t add extra pressure and said that the league rankings ‘won’t affect us at all.’ She said: ‘We know exactly what we’re going in there to do and I think we have a lot of confidence from our previous win, which was away. We’re a young team but that gives us confidence in a way.’
Who should we look out for on the court? Nobes asks as the final question.
‘All of us,’ Biddulph responds.
Doors for REBELLION open at 2:30pm on Wednesday 26th February. Women’s tip off is at 3pm v Wolverhampton Women’s 1s. The Men’s game begins at 5pm against BCU.