Burke: "We have what it takes to win the title"

NORRKOPING ‒ It’s been mostly smiles in the Swedish city of Norrkoping, as the local side Dolphins have enjoyed a successful return to the Baltic Basketball League after a two-year break.

 

Once a player at the club himself, Paul Burke is now calling the shots from the sidelines and is more than satisfied with a second-place finish in the regular season and a relatively easy Eight-Final series against Barons.

“I think that the season in the BBL is going very well for us right now. Our goal is to go as far as we can, hopefully we can make it all the way to the finals,” said the team’s 42-year-old specialist.

Having won the BBL Challenge Cup three seasons ago, Dolphins have already proved they can compete and win against rivals from other Baltic nations.

Paul Burke

“We have played in the BBL for a number of years now so we definitely believe that we have what it takes in order to win the title. That being said, there are a lot of good teams out there and any number of them could end up on top,” the coach said.

Talking about his team, Burke points out that they’re trying to play a European style and put most of the focus on the defensive end of the court.

“Defense is our first priority. We like to play an aggressive, physical style of defense. Offensively, we try to share the ball without one person being the focal point of the offense,” Burke explained.

 

Although the shot-caller stressed the importance of playing as a team, 34-year-old big man Joakim Kjellbom has been a cornerstone on both ends for the Dolphins this season.

Joakim KjellbomThe experienced center snatched the MVP honors in December and finished the regular season as the league leader in rebounds with averages of 14.6 points and 9.6 rebounds.

“Jocke has an important role both offensively, and defensively on our team. His consistent productivity has helped us become a successful team this year,” said Burke.

In fact, Kjellbom is the only player from the Dolphins team to have triumphed in the BBL Challenge Cup in the 2010-11 season. And, according to Burke, his leadership has been invaluable.

“He has also taken on a role of being our leader. He is definitely a player, who is out for the team success rather than personal gain. A true professional,” the specialist said.

Dolphins are set to face Tonybet Prienai in the BBL Quarter-Final series, and will play both games at home in Stadium Arena ‒ on March 9th and 10th ‒ after the teams came to a mutual agreement.