SBC Cup interview: Craig Nicol

City of Edinburgh’s U18 Men have enjoyed a strong start to the 2019/20 season, sitting third in the NBL U18 Men Premier North as well as picking up Scottish Cup wins over Grampian Flyers (135-46) and Dunfermline Reign (106-61).

Head Coach Craig Nicol discusses the prospect of back-to-back trophies, squad depth and the team’s training regime ahead of February’s final against Boroughmuir Blaze.

How do you feel about qualifying for the U18 Men’s Scottish Cup Final?

I’m pleased for the players as they have been fantastic all season and making the final is an example of the level that the guys play and train at week in week out as part of the basketball academy and playing in the English Premier.

Kings won the U18 Men’s Cup last year; how do you aim to ensure history repeats itself?

We work very hard in practice, training every day gives us the best opportunity to reach our goals.

Does the prospect of potentially being back-to-back Cup winners provide your team with any extra motivation heading into the final?

We have an incredibly motivated group of players. The core of the team have been playing together for many years. It was great to win it last year however I think the biggest motivation going into the final is that this is their last few months playing together.

Your team scored over 100 points against Dunfermline Reign in the semi-final, what else pleased you about that performance?

The depth of our bench was particularly pleasing. We used a mixture of our English Premier side and our SBC D2 squad in that game and it was great to see the D2 guys raise their game to compete against one of the best teams in the U18 SBC league.

What is the key to City of Edinburgh’s success in the Scottish Cup?

The level of detail in our practice and preparation for games. We continually push ourselves to play at the highest level. The players have an excellent understanding of each other and their roles within the team and it has shone through in our games in this competition so far.

What are you expecting from Boroughmuir Blaze?

Blaze have a young hard-working group of players. I expect them to try to be as disruptive as possible and will try to make it difficult for us to execute. I know their coach well and know that he will have them fired up to play in an Edinburgh derby game.

What do you think are the key similarities and differences are between the two teams in terms of coaching styles?

Since we compete in different leagues it is hard to say what the differences in styles will be. That will be an exciting part of the competition come finals weekend to see how we match up!

Tickets for the Final, and the other six games over the weekend, are available here.