Straight to the chase with Gladstone men's basketball coach
BASKETBALL: The platform has been laid and, in a sign of stability, Gladstone Port City Power have retained the services of women's coach Ray Cooper and men's mentor Bray Walmsley for the next two years.
Despite the finals drought for the men's team and a similarly poor record for the women - albeit they played in a grand final qualifier in 2017 - both coaches have had limited resources, but that is about to change according to Power chairwoman Alison Murdoch.
"We understand the pressures of coaching and some of the competitive limitations they have had to face in recent times, but the committee are going to ensure we resource our teams in a manner that allows our coaches the opportunity to have the type of winning impact that we know they are capable of," she said on the Port City Power Facebook site.
Walmsley took time out to answer some more questions.
What persuaded you to stay at the club for another two years?
I am heavily invested in the community and want to remain committed to establishing the program as a competitive fixture in the league. I suppose the dialogue was around what the future holds in terms of our capacity to strengthen the roster through budgetary expansion. I commend Alison Murdoch for the comments she made yesterday regarding the state of the program. I thought that level of transparency was admirable and provides great context for where the club has been and where it is headed.
Did you feel under pressure from the board because of the lack of success or was it more about rebuilding moving forward?
The committee continue to be supportive, as evident by their willingness to commit to me on a two year extension. A lack of success in terms of wins during 2019, sure. But it should be noted that the program has been far more successful in recent times as it relates to professionalism, commercial attraction, community engagement, local player development and synergy with the junior program. Those are all responsibilities that the Head Coach supports and is a big part of the job in a regional community like Gladstone.
How has the player mood been like given what had happened with Harold Ridgeway and now the 'disappearance' of Paul Aleer?
The Harold decision is well and truly in the rear-view mirror. Any time a decision like that is made, it offers some benefits and some difficulties. In this case, it provided improved playing opportunity for our local front court but impacted our talent level. We don't make decisions in isolation and the leadership group receive consultation on most matters relating to the team.
Its been frustrating losing Paul in the fashion we have. We supported his need to attend to some personal matters, under the proviso he re-engaged with our playing group. That didn't happen and we have been left pretty thin for the last four games of the season.
Any inkling of new recruits for season 2020?
Our first priority is the retention of those current players that we want to move forward with.
On its night, I think our back court (Kyle Tipene and Taylor Young) has shown that it is good enough to stand up against the best of them and that is a pairing that we hope to continue to build around.
Given the facilitatory nature of our guards, its important we add an alpha scorer to the mix. Someone that can average 22-25 per game and can score in a variety of different ways. We've are closely connected with a couple of imports who could be called upon to fill that role in 2020.
Once we make those decisions, it will then be about adding complimentary players who can contribute in specialist roles - shooting, defending, rebounding etc.
We want to have a plan, but we aren't in a rush. Its important to find the right player, with the right attitude, and we aren't willing to sacrifice culture for the purpose of talent. That never works out well.