The NBL Weekend Takeover for 23/24 February will see Cardiff Met Archers take the reins of the NBL Instagram story.
We caught up with Archers' JJ Royal of their takeover weekend, in the first of two Player Spotlight features.
Name: JJ Royal
Team: Cardiff Met Archers - NBL Division 4 Men
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Im in my final year at Uni and have now almost completed my undergraduate degree at Cardiff Met. Three years of BUCS and NBL have been amazing. Both levels have had their ups and downs. I have played for the first team at university throughout my entire time at Cardiff Met and played for the NBL Division 3 team for the first two years. This year, with the introduction of the Division 4 team, I have moved to that team. On top of playing I also coach the Under 14's in the Cardiff Met Archers Junior Academy. I have coached throughout my time at Cardiff Met, starting as an assistant with the Under 12's in my first year, and then moving into a Head Coach position with the Under 14's in my second and third years.
What brought you to the NBL in the first place?
The NBL was a platform to be able to play against the highest calibre of player I could, that could push me to be a better basketball player. The idea of playing against the best players and teams within my region was a real draw for me.
What was your first impression of the NBL? How has that changed?
I began playing NBL when I was still in the Under 18's, and the main difference now is me being seen as a kid before but now being seen as an equal. Since playing at a young age I feel like I have earnt the right to compete at this level.
What was your biggest challenge?
Being able to advance my skills so I could still compete at this level. I have never been majorly skilled in basketball but I try my hardest every single game to do the things that no one else wants to.
What changes have you noticed in yourself since joining the NBL?
I have advanced my leadership skills since joining the NBL. From being quite young in a team to now being a Captain at this level, I have had to be able to help others and make that transition into the NBL men's league. I have also had to help them deal with the same issues that I faced during my earlier experiences of the league.
What are you working on right now, what are your current goals?
My current goals are just to return to full health and fitness. With my time playing basketball being riddled with injuries I just want to be back to 100% so I can play every game to the best of my ability.
What is your favourite NBL memory?
My favourite memory of playing in NBL was from my final game before coming to university. Playing against Bristol Flyers in Division 4 I had a nice and-one dunk, so that was definitely up there as one of my favourite memories.
What advice would you give someone who is just getting started in basketball?
Don't try to do too much, do the simple things well and you can go very far in this sport. Don't over complicate it.
What do you like to do outside of basketball?
I enjoy training and coaching outside of basketball. I am hopefully going to study a masters degree in Strength and Conditioning next year at Cardiff Met. Being able to apply what I am learning into my own training and the people I coach, to help them improve their own performance is something I find very rewarding.
Finally, who is your favourite British basketball player and why?
I am not a massive follower of British basketball but as the game is growing and slowly becoming more prevalent as a sport, I will begin to look more into it. However, for now, I would have to say that my favourite British player is someone who I have had the pleasure of playing with for two years and been coached by, which is James Dawe.
You can follow JJ's progress this weekend when Cardiff Met Archers takeover the NBL Instagram story!