Ipswich Force turns focus to player retention
THE Ipswich Force is hoping it will see most of its big name players return next season.
The team is also leaving the door open for others to return, but money, visas and injury could still stand in the way.
Ipswich Basketball Association vice-president Pat Ralph said recruitment decisions in both teams would come down to the coaches, but he was hopeful of seeing each team's top players return.
"We're still in contact with Jerel Chavis who is recovering from an injury in the States. It'll be up to Andrew if he wants to bring him back," he said.
He said the door remained open for Force MVP Alex Desroches returning after visa issues forced him to return to his native Canada.
Women's Force coach Brad George, having received a two-year contract extension, was hoping his two key players Nadeen Payne and Emma Langford would both be returning.
"It's very early days yet. You don't know what's going to happen with injuries in the WNBL or other contract offers, but we'd love to have them back," George said.
"Emma has indicated she'd like to return, she enjoys it here, Nadeen has said she'd like to come back too."
George said he was looking for new recruits as well for next season with an emphasis on three-point shooters.
The need has become especially pressing after the team's leading outside shooter from last season - George's wife Marney - will be taking time off from basketball for the birth of their child.
"We need to get a couple more consistent outside shooters," he said.
"With Marney probably out, we'll have to recruit some better three point shooters."
Men's Force coach Andrew Summerville said he was looking at bringing in at least one international player and while Desroches and Chavis remained on the cards because of their experience with the Force's system, if a stronger player become available they'd jump at the chance. "We want to get as many guys familiar with our system back as possible," he said.
"But at the same time we didn't have a great year. We'd be foolish to bring back all the same players and expect a better result."
Summerville said the team struggled with depth during the season and hit a wall when they lost seven players through injury.