ISAAC MOURIER believes that Leeds Force’s band of new recruits must come together and shape their identity over the festive period to salvage their hopes of challenging for the British Basketball League playoffs in the new year.
A franchise reboot in the summer saw changes aplenty in the Leeds line-up, with Force veteran Mourier admitting it’s been a tough transition for everyone at Leeds Force.
“We’ve had lots of guys that were recruited from elsewhere, only two of us played for Leeds Force last year so from the outset we’ve had the difficult task of building a whole new culture,” Mourier reasoned.
“We have struggled with guys coming in and out, but I trust the coaching staff and the management that the changes we’ve made so far were the right things to do.”
As a newly-appointed leader within the squad, Mourier has been charged with teaching his new team-mates what it means to represent the Leeds community and don the purple jerseys of Force.
“Getting the players to understand what it means to play in a Leeds Force jersey and for this community is something I’ve been tasked with as a leader, and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do – it’s an exciting challenge and one I’m looking forward to taking on.”
Getting the players to understand what it means to play in a Leeds Force jersey and for this community is something I’ve been tasked with as a leaderIsaac Mourier
Force’s cup dreams came to a crushing end last week, as the tenacious Leeds were swept aside easily by the reigning BBL champions Leicester Riders in the first round of the BBL Trophy – a game Mourier believes Force must learn from if they are to understand what it takes to compete at the top of the BBL.
“The new guys now have a taste of what it’s like to play the best in the BBL, so they know exactly what standards to compare themselves against.
“Leicester are a great team, and now that we’ve played against them we know exactly what we need to work towards over the Christmas period.”
Without a win since dispatching lowly Manchester Giants in October, Mourier insists that a lack of effort isn’t behind Leeds’ struggles, and that Force must rediscover the form that nearly saw them knock off the resurgent Cheshire Phoenix in November.
“In professional sports, it is often a case of two steps forward and one step back. We’ve been in a lot of competitive games, we fought the BBL Cup finalists Cheshire all the way a couple of weeks ago so that really does show that we have hustle and heart inside of us.
“Compared to the first game against Newcastle, we’re totally unrecognisable, so in the new year, after a couple of weeks of practice, I think we’ll be right there.”