Lee Davie: No backward step for Durham Wildcats says coach
Coach Lee Davie says Durham Wildcats must continue their season-on-season improvement in the British Basketball League, despite added competition.
Durham made the play-offs last season under Davie, having finished 10th in their inaugural BBL campaign.
But there are new additions to the league in Bristol Flyers and Leeds Force, and the existing member clubs are all bidding for success.
"We've got to do it again and do it better," Davie told BBC Look North.
"Last year was the start and it's nowhere near where we want to be.
"Again it's continuing to win more games that we have, get deeper in the cups and deeper into the play-offs."
Davie's arrival, following stints with Newcastle Eagles and the Great Britain women set-up, inspired the Wildcats to their 2013-14 heights in the second year since turning professional.
|New arrivals at Durham|
|John Puk - United States Positon: Centre Height: 6ft 10in|
|Chris Jones - United States Positon: Guard Height: 6ft 1in|
|Tom Knight - United States Position: Forward Height: 6ft 10in|
Recruitment is often an issue for the club, associated and bolstered as they are by Durham University, which means a constantly changing pool of talent as players move on after studies.
Not that the lack of continuity is all bad news for Davie and his colleagues.
"We've got a core group that has been back and I feel we're ahead of where we were at the same stage last season," Davie added.
"We added Chris Jones and Tom Knight in at the weekend which gives us problems in knowing what they do well and what they don't, but it causes teams problems too who don't know about them either."
Wildcats centre Mike Allison showed that players from newer franchises can impress with his inclusion in the BBL Defensive Team of the Year for 2013-14, with the former University of Maine player one of the most consistent in the BBL.
Durham's potential and academic appeal has attracted talent such as Jones, who arrives in the north east with experience of Slovak and German basketball.
"What brought me to Durham? The programme, I spoke to coach Davie and Quentin (Sloper - Durham chairman), they influenced me to come here," Jones said.
"It's a good school and a good team, I wanted to come to try a good league and try my talents here in something different."