Leeds Force head coach Danny Nelson believes that despite a troubled start to the new British Basketball League campaign, Force can still compete if they stick together despite a turbulent opening to the season.
A thumping 49-point defeat against London Lions in the capital last week confirmed Force’s BBL Cup exit, capping a dismal run of five losses on the bounce to open the new campaign. An admirable single-digit loss to Surrey on October 13, however, showed signs of gradual improvement, and Nelson believes that sticking together and building an identity of their own will be the recipe of success for Leeds.
“It was a disappointing performance in London last weekend,” Nelson said.
“I felt we were a bit timid, disjointed and overawed by the occasion, and the quality of the opposition was at a higher level than our own right now.
“We want to match the standards and professionalism of a Newcastle or London, but first and foremost we’ve got to be Leeds. Getting to a higher level than our current status is going to take time, and we hope to reach that goal by building our own style of play and our own organisational identity.”
Nelson asserted that whilst developing Leeds’ play on the court is crucial, Force must first take time and care to build up their off-court persona if they truly wish to make strides in the BBL. He said: “Everything takes time – it’s a case of home-cooked meals not microwaved meals. We’re trying to make something that’s substantial, crafted with care and heart with the right fundamentals. Our team, organisation, community outreach programme and our fanbase all must be built – and that doesn’t happen immediately, so it’s a constant journey for Leeds Force.”
A crucial weekend off has allowed Nelson to focus on improving his squad further, with the Irishman confident a new-look Leeds Force can soon give the fans something to cheer about.
“There’s a huge number of players who want to play in the BBL from all over the world. It’s all about whittling that down to a shortlist of guys who are proven on-court, whilst also being the right fit for our community-based programme before we make any decisions.”
He added: “Patience is always the magic word – we have had some struggles against a couple of very powerful teams, but we are becoming quite competitive and I think we can deliver some strong performances very soon.”