Road trip glory vital for Force
JAMES Legan was relaxing at home yesterday watching the NBA play-offs when he spoke to the Queensland Times.
He didn't have the same emotional investment in the game, between the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards, as he would have if his home town team, the Houston Rockets, were still in the running.
Legan was preparing for the Force's road trip to Mackay and Rockhampton this weekend. It's the chance to make amends for a disappointing debut for his new club.
The Force were described as "embarrassing" by coach Andrew Summerville in their 93-59 loss to Brisbane last weekend.
"I had a poor performance, so did the team," the new Ipswich Force guard said. "We didn't play like the team we are.
"I don't know if it was first-game jitters or what.
"I don't think we'll ever have another game like that.
"It wasn't anything Brisbane did.
"We just weren't hitting shots and that's the name of the game."
The goal against Mackay tomorrow and defending champions Rockhampton on Sunday is to win at least one game.
But Legan believes the Force are capable of winning both.
So confident is he in the Force's potential that he is expecting them to top their pool, after finishing second from bottom last season.
"If we play like a team, we can get one win or better," Legan said.
"We've just got to put it all on the line. We've got the coaching staff and players to do it."
The Force have been boosted by the arrival of James Kuon this week and Legan is excited by what the 201cm swingman can bring.
"He's got a big, long body.
"He rebounds well, runs the ball well and knows the plays.
"He's got the ability to put all of us back in our natural spots. Like Kyle (Harvey), who has been playing four but he's more of a three."
Kuon had his first training session with the club last night, having just returned from the US, so it is asking a bit much to expect him to be at his best this weekend.
But once he settles in and the 210cm Matthew Hodgson arrives in about a month, Legan expects the Force to be almost unstoppable.
"That'll be great," Legan said.
"The rest of the teams I don't see us losing to. But the first five games are going to be tough.
"I know for sure we'll make the play-offs.
"I see us first in our pool.
"I believe in our playing and coaching staff that much."
When Legan saw the writing on the wall with the Toowoomba Mountaineers last year, he knew it was time to find another QBL club.
"I was looking for a change," he said. "They were doing things I didn't see myself liking in the long run."
Fortunately for Ipswich basketball fans, he didn't have to look far for a new club.
His relationship with Force coach Andrew Summerville and the Force's 2014 roster were two of the big reasons he joined the Ipswich club.
"I was fond of Jason (Ralph) and (Martin) Iti," he said of the two Force players. "Iti is aggressive around the rim and blocks shots.
"He understands the game and I enjoy him off the court as well."
- Ipswich Force recruit James Legan.
- Hero growing up: Hakeem Olajuwan (Houston Rockets).
- Biggest influence: My parents. They always supported me no matter what I wanted to do.
- What do you miss most about home: My family.
- Best thing about Australia: The women and the lifestyle.
- Toughest adjustment: Practising two times a week instead of five or six.
- Favourite cheese: American cheddar.
- NBA title tip: You can never root against Miami.