To fill the time until our next BBL game against Manchester Giants on Sunday 3rd December, we thought you might like to read our recent catch-up piece with popular guard Zach Gachette….

He’s played six of his nine BBL seasons here in Sheffield but on the eve of the visit of his former side, London Lions, it felt only right and proper that we have a catch-up with East End lad Zach Gachette. Zach seems to be part of the fabric of the Sharks, such is the time he has spent here now and maybe it is the youthful looks or the mad athleticism that makes you feel that he is a lot younger than his actual 27 years of age. However, we are now seeing a mature, experienced BBL player; the type that comes off the bench to rack up twenty one points, four steals and seven assists as he did in our recent encounter with Leeds Force. Coach Lyons has sung his praises for the way he has helped the new guys on the team adapt to the system and many of you may be unaware of the work that Zach does behind the scenes at the Sharks in the wider community. But first, we needed to talk about the capital city!

Although now part of the Yorkshire fabric, we wondered how it felt for Zach to represent his home town team for that season in 2015.

‘It was an honour to play in my home city. Not only because I was born and raised there but it also meant a lot to my family and friends who come could down and show their support regularly, and for some of my close family and friends it gave the opportunity to really see what it is I do. All in all it was a proud moment.’

The Lions look to be one of the ‘teams to watch’ in this current season. The British basketball scene is growing rapidly but we wondered how important Zach felt it was for the capital to be a major focus with a successful side.

‘London is one of the biggest cities in the world, not only by population but financially as well. The more exposure that basketball can get the better, which is why events like the All-Star basketball competition really are helping the movement and growth of the sport at all levels. London is a perfect place to help boost exposure, I mean they must have the most professional teams in one city than anywhere else in the world, and if we could tap into that, again it would only help the growth of the sport.’

Zach joined the Sharks from the now-defunct Essex Pirates along with the recently-retired Colin Sing and both went on to gain teaching qualifications at Sheffield Hallam University. Colin is now putting that to good use out in Dubai and Zach is making use of his skills on our patch.

‘This year I have taken on a number of roles with the DBL Sharks Sheffield and these include delivering the B. Healthy B. Braun program into primary schools as well as helping fill the role of the departed Colin Sing in the Sharks classroom where we deliver educational programmes as an alternative provision for young people. Lastly I have also been involved with Sheffield Hallam university, heppsy (Higher Education Progression Partnership) and the National Outreach Collaboration Program that is aimed at talented young students from around Sheffield from lower economic backgrounds, and building aspirations and helping them understand that university is a potential pathway for them in the future.’

We’ve already touched on the fact that Zach is no longer one of the new kids in town and this is now reflected in his performances on the court. But how does Zach feel about being a ‘senior pro?’

‘Becoming a senior player was inevitable, especially considering that this is my 9th professional season, and 6th in Sheffield alone. For me it’s all about helping our team and reinforcing what the coaching staff are doing, and this is much easier when we have players on the team that have been through it and know the system inside out. I’m just happy I’m apart of building the culture here at the Sharks and my seniority just puts extra wind in the sails so to speak!’

And Zach’s ambition remains undiminished as he continues to thrill the on-looking SharkNation week after week here in the Tank.

‘Like every year we want to win some silverware, the more the better. Having said that I would personally like to make this my best year yet as I feel that my mind and body are slowly coming together as I’m currently reaching my peak. As for my career, I would like to think there would always be a place for me in Sheffield, but my own career I believe will be about playing whilst also giving back. I’ve been presented with a unique opportunity where I can combine my love for the game with my passion and interests off court, which are about educating and helping develop young people like myself who have to go through adversity. So thus far I can say I am genuinely enjoying what I’m doing and I hope I can do it for as long as possible, however long that may be!’

Zach got a bit of a reputation for his mischievous sense of humour and infectious personality in his early days at the Sharks. Who can forget the time he dumped a cooler of ice over Coach Lyons after that memorable BBL Trophy win over Leicester in Glasgow back in 2013?!! Away from the thoughtful, mature athlete on court, does that mischievous streak still remain?

‘Mischievous, definitely a word I would use to describe myself! I mean people have always described me as having a lot of energy and that is just part of my personality and who I am. But I believe I started in the BBL when I iced Atiba that one time, and believe me when the opportunity arises again I’ll be there to get him again!’

Keep your eyes peeled Atiba! Then again, I’m sure he’ll not mind as long as the Sharks are lifting the silverware and a certain Mr Gachette is filling up the statlines. He may be an East End boy at heart but we certainly consider him to be one of our own in the East End of Sheffield now!