Ipswich team shaping as real Force
THE Ipswich Force men’s basketball team is set for a major coup.
Two current National Basketball League (NBL) players are tipped to join the Force next season as the club attempts to build a championship credentialed squad.
The team has not had an NBL player in its ranks for several years.
After winning just five matches in two seasons, the Force improved tremendously to win eight games in this year’s Queensland Basketball League despite a lightweight roster.
But their star quality is about to significantly improve.
Force officials are negotiating with a NBL shooting guard and centre, but would not reveal their names.
The two professional stars will replace European-bound Zarryon Fereti and American big man Corey Easley.
Force coach Chris Clarkson, who returns for his second year at the helm, said if the two NBL players signed on for next season, his new squad would be superior to this year’s line-up.
“Both of these NBL players are guys who come off the bench in that competition but will be absolute stars in the QBL,” Clarkson said.
“We are still negotiating so it’s not a definite yet, but it looks likely.
“We have not had players of that calibre here in a few seasons.”
This season, the men’s main scoring weapons were inconsistent.
Talented point guard Fereti would slaughter the opposition with 30 points in one game but then barely make double figures the next week.
The same applied to US import Easley who played hard every game but struggled to score at times.
“We need a star player who can go out and turn in regular 30-point performances and that’s what we hope these players will deliver us,” Clarkson said.
“The good teams in this league have at least one player who averages high 20’s and our top scorers were in the low 20’s and that’s what we need to fix.”
Clarkson said there was a small chance that Corey Easley could return to the club for next season, which is four months away.
“No disrespect to Corey but we are only allowed two import players and we need a true centre who is predominantly an inside player for next year,” Clarkson said.
“Corey is an inside-outside player and it would be great to have him in the team but we need more height and inside presence from one of those two restricted players.”
The majority of this year’s squad will return for the men’s Force team.
Point guard Luke Cann is the only player who has not informed the club of his intentions while Ryan Jeffries has told Clarkson he wants to return, but has not formally committed.
“We will have a similar squad and play a very similar style next season,” Clarkson said.
“That will make it easier during pre-season so there’s no new systems to really develop . . . its getting the team chemistry going again and fitness.”
The Force is also set to recruit a young American college basketball player who grew up in Logan and is returning home.
The Force commence pre-season training on January 17.