Ipswich's 2017 basketball boost
IPSWICH Basketball heads into the new year with stability in its top coaching ranks and plans to freshen up its stadium.
Association president Julie George is pleased to see both Ipswich Force head coaches keen to continue in the 2017 Queensland Basketball League season.
Men's mentor Mick Conlon is planning to complete the final year of his three-year contract having taken some time off to consider his future.
Women's coach Brad George will retain his important role having guided Force to state league finals each year during his stint.
Having taken over as president in 2014, Julie George was happy to see Conlon and her son keen to continue recent progress made in Ipswich's elite program.
"Both our men's and women's QBL coaches, who are Brad and Mick, have contacted me to continue through the 2017 season,'' she said.
"We've been actively involving them in discussions about our QBL players and recruiting for the next season.''
The association president said Ipswich Basketball had sought to keep popular American import James Legan through a development and marketing role in the new year, such is his value to the program.
"He's accepted that position so I would think he's coming back,'' George said. "He's good for the game.''
George said Force also wanted to retain another dependable American Kyle Harvey and Ipswich product Jason Ralph, currently playing college basketball in the United States.
"We believe that our purpose in QBL is promoting and to provide a pathway for our elite junior players,'' she said.
"That's a purpose, which is in our mission and vision, to provide professional development for them both on and off the court.
"James Legan and Kyle Harvey have done a lot for our junior development programs.''
"Jason is an Ipswich player and we don't want him going elsewhere,'' Ipswich Basketball president Julie George said.
"Those players have really good qualities that make the other players aspire to them.''
As for Force women's imports, George said opportunities would be considered in coming weeks.
She was confident loyal Ipswich national league player Bree Farley would return after captaining the side this season.
George was delighted how Ipswich has been developing its home-grown talent, bringing players like Kate Head, Cassie Poulain and Iris Cubit into the senior program.
Brad George expected plenty of changes in next year's Force line-up with Heal sisters Shyla and Ashleigh heading to Sydney and Morgan Pink retiring after foot surgery.
"I'm committed to next year,'' he said preparing for his sixth season as head coach.
"Bree is definitely keen to come back so that's exciting.
"We'll have all our younger girls back, which is obviously a key concept of what Ipswich wants to do with the development of it.''
The Force men lost 97-85 to Brisbane in this year's state league second qualifying final.
The Force women were beaten 94-81 by Brisbane in the third qualifying playoff.
The 2017 QBL season is set to launch in late April with pre-season preparations stepping up in February.