Samuel Toluwase: Leeds Force have got to aspire to the standards set by likes of London Lions

Tavarion Nix of Leeds Force goes to the basket against Surrey Scorchers (Picture: Alex Daniels)
Tavarion Nix of Leeds Force goes to the basket against Surrey Scorchers (Picture: Alex Daniels)
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Our loss in the capital against the Lions was very tough, but we can and will learn from our mistakes.

London played very well – and right now they’re at the level we hope to reach ourselves.

Leeds Force's Tre Bennett (Picture: Alex Daniels)

Leeds Force's Tre Bennett (Picture: Alex Daniels)

They executed well, stayed disciplined and played with togetherness.

It was always going to be a challenging game, but we’re better than a 50-point loss and we’ve proven that over the last week of the season.

Force head coach Danny Nelson has a system, and we need to trust in it.

Inexperienced players often want to show what they can do individually, but everyone needs to come together and show faith in our system.

Every time a new player is signed, I take a few minutes to sit down and have a chat with them – telling them what our team is all about and what coach Nelson is trying to achieve.

Samuel Toluwase

If I trust the system as a captain – and everyone follows – at least then we’re all on the same page as a group and we can build together. If you try and branch off to do your own thing, that’s when problems start to show and you can’t expect to stay together on the court for 40 minutes.

In our previous fixtures, we’ve shown that when we play as a cohesive unit, we can excel and outscore teams in quarters. Of course, we need to start winning quarters before it’s too late and not when we’re already way behind.

One aspect we’re really determined to improve is the standard of our play. The standard we’re playing at right now isn’t good enough, and teams like Newcastle and London are the standard of a top British Basketball League franchise, with a purpose.

What coach Nelson and I have been saying is that the teams we’ve been losing to have all been playing at higher standards, and we need to take a leaf from their books if we’re going to improve enough to compete against them.

YEP columnist Samuel Toluwase

YEP columnist Samuel Toluwase

On court, we need to be limiting turnovers, eradicating the silly errors and, most importantly, trusting in one another – that’s the best way for Force to go forward.

We have an aim, and the window to achieve our goals doesn’t close at the end of the season. We’ll continue to strive for our end goal next season, and the campaign after that – it’s not realistic to say we’ll achieve everything all in a single year.

Every time a new player is signed, I take a few minutes to sit down and have a chat with them – telling them what our team is all about and what coach Nelson is trying to achieve.

If we continue to work hard, maybe next year our minimum goal will be the play-offs, and maybe the year after we’ll be aiming even higher.

These next two weeks are vital for us, we have plenty of time to prepare for our pivotal run of three-straight home games – starting against Bristol Flyers on October 27 (7.30pm).

Hopefully, we will use the time wisely, come together and rediscover that team chemistry we showed against the likes of Surrey and Plymouth. If we can do that, then we’ll be fine.

We’re desperate to show people that we can compete, and that Leeds Force are a unit that can’t be messed with in this league.

We really hope you can show patience with us, as we’re all still working hard to improve every game and coach Nelson is working tirelessly every day to piece the squad together.

We want to put Leeds back on the basketball map, but it’s going to take time – nothing happens overnight.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s column, keep supporting us and remember to #FeelTheForce.

Interview: Seb Gigner

Sheffield Sharks have been paired with either Surrey Scorchers or Plymouth Raiders, who play on Sunday, in the BBL Cup quarter-finals.

Quarter-final draw: Sheffield v Surrey Scorchers or Plymouth Raiders, Leicester Riders v London Lions, Eagles Newcastle v Cheshire Phoenix, Glasgow Rocks v Worcester Wolves.

Leeds Force coach Danny Nelson.

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