Danny Nelson insists youth development will prove key to Leeds Force’s chances of future BBL success ahead of tonight’s clash with title-chasing London Lions at Carnegie Sports Arena. (7:30PM), writes Seb Gigner.
Nelson’s slender eight-man roster hope to halt a 22-game losing streak at the heart of a horror season for Force, but a spirited effort against Glasgow Rocks a week ago suggests there’s still signs of life left in the rock-bottom Leeds squad.
“We’ve only just played London, so the lessons learned from that loss should be fresh in our mind,” Nelson said on Force’s chance of pulling off a shock second win of the season.
“When you’re bottom of the league, you have to try something different – we changed things up a bit against Glasgow and it helped us compete for large parts of the game. We have to draw confidence from that performance and go again tonight with the same approach and attitude.”
Whilst winning one of Leeds’ final five games is at the top of Nelson’s priority list, the Irishman says Force will be focusing on blooding in some of their brightest young prospects ahead of the crucial off-season ahead.
“We want to win a game as a matter of pride, it that’s not attainable then we’ll have to work as hard as we can to improve our overall game going into the off-season.
“Developing our younger, more inexperienced players and making them better has been one of our main focuses across the season as a team, and I’m proud of how some of our guys have flourished in difficult circumstances.”
Nelson believes that Leeds’ woeful record this season isn’t indicative of his team’s effort levels, and suggests his players deserve praise for their improvements despite not being afforded the quality of training facilities accessible to Force’s BBL rivals.
“We don’t necessarily have the facilities or resources to develop players that other teams do right now, but our guys have battled through that and improved on the court off the back of their own effort and motivation. My job as a leader is to ensure progress going forwards for Leeds Force, and lay some foundations for this organisation to build upon – our young guys are key to that and this team’s growth in the years ahead.”