Force ace Marek's class has lifted club

Matt Newby has hailed the impact of Canadian import Marek Klassen as Leeds Force look to seal a spot in the BBL play-offs with victory at Surrey Scorchers tomorrow (3pm), writes NICK WESTBY.

Klassen, a 6ft 1in guard from Canada, joined in January after a spell playing in Romania, and his arrival coincided with the club’s unlikely bid to snatch a play-off spot.

Last night’s tremendous 92-77 win over Manchester Giants – with Klassen contributing 34 points – was Force’s eighth win in nine home games, and leaves them needing a win at Surrey Scorchers tomorrow to have any chance of gate-crashing the top eight and sealing a play-off place in just their second season in the league.

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Klassen’s points and rebound tally on a nightly basis has caught the eye, but for Force’s director of basketball Newby, it is what Klassen has done for the rest of the team that has been key to their transformation in fortunes.

“Bringing in Marek was a good decision and he’s a talented player, but the most important thing is the impact it has had on the other players,” said Newby.

“His distribution has freed up some of the other players to excel. His arrival has increased the output of players like a Kwan Waller or a Louis Sayers, and they have improved because of that.

“And that confidence he has given them has been infectious.

“I cannot speak highly enough of Marek. We knew he was good when we first started looking for someone in January. I had about 20 or 30 resumes in front of me and his stood out.

“And then when he came to work out for us, we knew we had to get him.”