Barracudas have hill to climb

Reggie Larry (L) in action for the Barracudas in the ABL last season. Picture: BT

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's the 11th hour and Brunei basketball fans want to know what is going on with the Barracudas. What are their plans for this year's ABL campaign? Hopefully, they will come to light before the weekends.

Firstly, I want to thank those basketball fans in Brunei who think I would be a great fit for the vacant Barracudas coaching position. But, I don't think that is going to happen the time is just not right for me.

Some may ask: "Why wouldn't you want to be a part of the ABL and coach the Barracudas?"

To answer that question, I would ask myself: "Do I really want to hop back into the pro game and put myself through the things that go with it?"

The answer is no.

First of all I'm the national basketball coach of Brunei that is and has always been my priority. That is also why I'm here.

My job is not easy and, as a coach, I work very hard in trying to meet our goals. So I can't afford to lose focus.

My job as a coach is to develop the national team, not a professional basketball club.

FACTORS TAKEN IN MAKING THE DECISION

THE Barracudas and their management are very young and are still learning to properly run a professional basketball club (and by saying this I don't mean to disrespect anybody in the organisation).

The new season will be a big year for them and they should not be making the same mistakes made a year ago. Sure, they will endure various teething and growing pains. This is only normal for a new professional club. For example, when a new club is added to the NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL it will go through the pains and problems that come with the transition. It's not easy to produce an exciting product that will be satisfying to the fans and worth the financial efforts that have been invested.

It takes time to improve the project and you will not achieve your target overnight. Hence, coaches and players will face great pressure to deliver if they are not given time to properly develop as a unit.

As a coach to get the job done I would have wanted to bring from abroad my own people and have some input on import players for the team.

The same would apply in hiring my coaching and management staff I need people I can trust and those I feel comfortable with.

This is because whatever happens the blame would fall completely on my shoulders and not anyone else. Hence, I would need complete control of my players and staff, which I think is impossible to obtain at the current period.

I strongly feel that the key to success is by having a great organisation to work in as well as solid personnel to help you win championships.

With 41 years of experience as a team owner/ general manager/ player/coach I can say that I'm talking through experience.

To achieve your goals and be successful a team must always start from the ground, having that strong and firm foundation to work with to obtain professionalism.

STRUCTURE

MOST of the other teams in the ABL are already training for the new season with their coaches in place. As of today, to my knowledge, there had been no training session of any kind for the Barracudas. A coach has also yet to be appointed.

It's deja vu all over again remember last season?

This puts you at a disadvantage already, because tomorrow is Sept 1 and the season is less than a month or a bit away. Yet nobody has even organised a training camp.

To just play basketball you must be fit and in shape, you can't play basketball to get in shape. It just doesn't work that way.

I know for a fact that the KL Dragons and Singapore Slingers are already training for the new season and probably the other teams too. The Barracudas are, basically, three or four weeks behind already. This will put any coach at a huge disadvantage.

You're running uphill while the others are already on the other side of the slope.

Players also have to buy into a new system be introduced to another new coach and adjust to him and his philosophy.

The imports will also need to adjust to the coach, their teammates and the Asian culture.

The ball is in their court now. The big question is what are you going to do Barracudas?

The Brunei Times


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