THE Bradford Dragons kick off their basketball season tomorrow night in the KitKing Trophy group stage, with prolific point-guard Justin Williams insisting he still needs to improve.

The American’s first season at Bradford, and in England, was a real success in many people’s eyes, as he finished as one of the league’s top scorers in 2022/23, with the Dragons reaching the National Basketball League Division One play-off quarter-finals.

But starting in the cup against Newcastle University this weekend, he wants more.

Williams told the T&A: “I’d say I did okay last season, but I could have been better.

“I have to be more efficient and help the team win more games than we did.

“That efficiency means giving my team easier shots to score and finding them earlier in the play, as that’s my job.

“I want to be more of a leader this season too.”

Williams found the adjustment of playing in England for the first time easy enough too, saying: “A lot of people in Bradford haven’t been out to America and they would ask me that same question, about how I’d found the move.

“But other than different accents and the odd word, you find a lot of the same things, like the food outlets, so it wasn’t a big thing to adjust too.

“And in terms of the actual basketball, and the difference between the UK and the USA, I just think basketball’s basketball, all around the world, and you’ll find good players everywhere you go.”

Williams is excited to resume competitive action tomorrow, as his side attempt to get out of a group containing Newcastle, Manchester Magic and Derby Trailblazers to reach the KitKing Trophy quarter-finals.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Justin Williams leaps to score against Solent last season.Justin Williams leaps to score against Solent last season. (Image: Kristelle Templonuevo.)

He said: “It’ll give us a good starting point to see where we’re at in the league (which starts next month) and our first game is against Newcastle, who are in our division anyway.

“It should be fun but we still want to win the cup of course, we’ll always look to do that, as you don’t play basketball if that’s not your aim.”

Asked how the Dragons’ roster is looking compared to last season, Williams said: “We’ve lost a few guys, but I do think we’ve got a better team this year.

“We feel ready to get out there and play now.”

One interesting piece of news from pre-season was the withdrawal of one of Division One’s top teams, Team Solent Kestrels, as they look to take the club in a different direction.

But Williams insists Bradford, now in a 13-team league, will not be complacent over Solent’s departure.

He said: “I’ve seen the signings that have been made around the league and I feel everyone is better than last year.

“The competition seems pretty even across the board and we’ll just have to see what separates us all when the league season starts.

“Either way, we’ll still be trying to win the league.”

Bradford’s KitKing Trophy opener takes place at Calderdale College’s Inspire Centre tomorrow, with tip-off against Newcastle at 6:15pm.