Fresh squad to lift force
THE Ipswich Force has signed four new players and welcomed back young gun Jason Ralph in an effort to rebuild their state league team.
The Force lost eight players from their 2012 basketball finals squad and were expecting to lose Ralph to America.
While committing to a rebuilding year, new Force coach Andrew Summerville has signed four veterans.
Canadian Alex Desroches and former Parramatta player Rory Sutton have joined the Force in pre-season training.
They will be joined in the coming weeks by former American College and Singapore Slingers player Jerel Chavis and 213cm tall former Sydney King Martin Iti.
Summerville believes the signings make for a stronger club for the QBL season.
He said the 198cm tall Desroches was already proving himself.
"Alex is a real good guy, a real workhorse," Summerville said.
"He's proving himself a club guy already. He's been doing school visits already. It's a great attitude he has."
Summerville had similar praise for Sutton who played in the NSW league last year.
"Rory is a real athlete. He'll be a real workhorse for us as well," Summerville said.
"He might not be the world's most talented player but he'll be there doing the hard work for us. He's going to prove to be a handy signing."
Iti and Chavis haven't arrived in Ipswich yet. "Iti played with the Sydney Kings and at seven foot tall will be a real weapon. There aren't many guys that tall in this comp," the coach said.
"Chavis is an explosive scorer. He's played NCAA Division I ball for Deloware State and for the Singapore Slingers who used to be in the NBL."
Summerville was expecting to lose Ralph to a training course in Las Vegas and moved to replace him on the roster.
But Ralph has made an unexpected return to the Force, with Summerville's blessing, after the Impact Basketball program failed to live up to his hopes.
Summerville expects Ipswich product Ralph to perform a wider role than in previous seasons.
"It's great to have him back, it's definitely a bonus, but we're going to have him doing different things," Summerville said.
"He's only 18. He's still got a long way to go.
"Players playing his position (point guard) often take years to learn what they need to do."
Meanwhile, the Force women's team has also re-signed their star player Emma Langford.
While Langford is still contracted with WNBL team Logan Thunder, she will join the Force when her national league commitments are completed.
How Ipswich Force coach Andrew Summerville rates his new players.
Alex Desroches: "A real workhorse."
Rory Sutton: "A real athlete."
Jerel Chavis: "An explosive scorer."
Martin Iti: "A real weapon."
Jason Ralph: "It's a bonus to have him back."