James Legan ignites Ipswich Force for 2015 season
THE Ipswich Force men are looking to be extra sharp for the start of the Queensland Basketball League season after retaining key players and welcoming back an NBL prospect.
New head coach Mick Conlon is pleased with the way his team is coming together.
Force have secured American powerhouse James Legan (pictured), another valuable import Kyle Harvey and exciting Ipswich product Jason Ralph.
Although Force have lost bigs Martin Iti and Rory Sutton (to the Spartans), Ipswich's top basketball team has also regained NBL prospect Zarryon Fereti.
Other players with important rotation roles this season include talented local pair Kane Bishop and Marty Leahy.
"That was the primary goal, to keep a majority of the team together,'' Conlon said.
"We've lost height but we've brought in other bigs.
"We've got four of our five starters from last year and I've added guys to the bench so we've got a lot more depth than last year as well.''
Islander Jah Soloia could also prove a handy acquisition.
"He's a big guy and plays pretty aggressive,'' Conlon said.
"He's very athletic for his size.
"The plan is to work with him over the next few years and develop him.''
Conlon said the return of popular American Legan was fantastic news for the team and fans.
The dynamic basketballer was selected in the All League starting five last year and was the Ipswich Force MVP.
"James is now a veteran in the QBL and we are expecting him to elevate his game again becoming a truly rounded player,'' Conlon said.
"We also managed to lure Zarryon Fereti away from some lucrative NZNBL offers to help lead the Force again.
"Zarryon was league leading free throw percentage of 93.93%.
"Zarryon has had a great off-season and is in the best shape he has been in for a number of years.''
Conlon said Ralph was another key member of the line-up after leading the league in assists last season.
"We are looking for Jason to keep developing his game and take a bigger role within the leadership of the team,'' the Force coach said.
The hard-working Harvey was twice awarded the QBL's Player of the Week award last year.
"We are expecting Kyle to elevate his game to another level this year and really surprise some teams,'' Conlon said.
The Ipswich Force men are looking for a major sponsor to support them in this year's state-wide Queensland Basketball League competition.
Contact head coach Mick Conlon on 0438 503700 if you want to be involved.
QBL final the goal
HAVING moved from assistant to head coach, Mick Conlon has made no secret of his ambitions.
"We've set our goal of making the grand final and winning it within the next couple of years,'' he said, after Force made last year's semi-final.
Conlon's first mission is improving the team's start to a QBL season, from early May.
The team has been training this month, focusing on conditioning in sessions at Ipswich stadium and Bremer State High School.
"We're looking to be really sharp and crisp and ready to go to the first game,'' he said. "Last year we had a bit of a slow start and I don't want that to happen again.''