Samuel Toluwase: Embracing leadership role in the Force family

Tavarion Nix in action for Leeds Force (Pictures: Alex Daniels)
Tavarion Nix in action for Leeds Force (Pictures: Alex Daniels)
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Despite defeat last Friday night, the incredible final six minutes against Bristol Flyers showed just what Leeds Force are all about and the image we try to set.

Everyone having to play 25 to 30 minutes for the first time because of the players missing was quite a difficult adjustment.

Leeds Force's Tre Bennett scored 28 points against Bristol (Picture: Alex Daniels)

Leeds Force's Tre Bennett scored 28 points against Bristol (Picture: Alex Daniels)

We lost some of our focus and our concentration at times, but we stayed strong and didn’t quit.

We never gave up, and all the hard work coach [Danny] Nelson puts into developing our system is what Force fans saw at the end of the game.

Trusting each other and always staying positive no matter the situation is the Leeds way – that’s something we showcased in the fourth quarter.

We’re not happy with the final score of course, but we’ll still be working hard to put together a complete performance and 40 minutes of basketball against Manchester Giants on Friday.

I’m not from Leeds, but I’m getting to know the Leeds family and community – everyone’s kind, respectful and I respect them. They treat me with care and I try to do the same back – building healthy relationships with people is important and I’m definitely enjoying my time here so far.

Samuel Toluwase

We want to start the first quarter in the way we ended the fourth against Bristol, that’s something I said to the guys after the game – the way we finished is the way we have to start.

Losing streaks are always difficult, but what’s done is done – that’s my mentality. That’s all in the past now, we have to look towards the bigger picture and, hopefully, soon we’ll be moving in the right direction.

With a new coach comes a new mindset.

If you’re playing for coach Nelson, you play Leeds Force basketball – not what you’re used to playing or what you played before.

YEP columnist Samuel Toluwase contributed 16 points (Picture: Alex Daniels)

YEP columnist Samuel Toluwase contributed 16 points (Picture: Alex Daniels)

Once you step out onto the court, you have a responsibility to fill a role, and that’s the role you’ve got to take on.

When I take to the floor, I’m expected to do my job – I have to step up and lead by example.

Coach Nelson always has a plan for every different team in the league, not one game is the same week from week.

Manchester Giants are my former team, of course, but that’s old news.

Leeds Force are my family now, and I’ll be focusing entirely on earning our team a first win of the campaign.

We shouldn’t rule out anything with Leeds this season, there’s a lot of teams who are only now getting their first win because they’re finding themselves as a team.

We need to find our consistency, and if that consistency is kept then we can become a winning team in the British Basketball League as well.

Being a senior player with Leeds Force that players look up to is a new way of life for 
me.

I’m not from Leeds, but I’m getting to know the Leeds family and community – everyone’s kind, respectful and I respect them.

They treat me with care and I try to do the same back – building healthy relationships with people is important and I’m definitely enjoying my time here so far.

It’s a slow process, but I believe in the process.

We need to believe in ourselves, and trust in what coach Nelson has for us going forwards.

Once you’ve got players in from every corner of the world, the only thing you can do is trust and believe in each other.

You’re going into battle, and you need to trust that your comrade has your back – it’s the same mentality I take into every game.

I encourage the Force family to turn out against Manchester Giants on Friday (7.30pm) at the Carnegie Sports Arena, the energy you bring motivates us to play even harder and hopefully we’ll be able to send you home with a win.

That’s it for my column this week, keep believing in us and I’ll be back next week. #FeelTheForce.

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