For many sides, the start of the Big V season has taken a while to come around. For the Sunbury Jets’ men’s division 1 side the time has flown.
With new head coach Lanard Copeland joining the side a mere month out from the start of the season due to National Basketball League commitments, the Jets’ pre-season has been a whirlwind.
Copeland admits it’s been a bit of a struggle.
“We’ve had to put the team together and by this stage most of the players have been taken,” he said.
“We only have two guys from last season. We’ll look to these guys to help us learn the league.
“We’ve got a side that will shoot well and have quickness, but we won’t have a lot of size.”
The Jets announced the re-signings of Daniel Jackson and Liam Platt, and the signings of Jacob Formosa, Te Pauo Silver and former Jet Daniel O’Keefe a couple weeks out from the season’s start.
They are joined by Javari Williams, who played under Copeland at the Hume City Broncos and played half a season with the Jets in 2015, Wil Chan, Paul Nikoloff-King, Gabriel Davis, Nicholas Ktenidis and Chris Bartalotta.
Copeland said he would look to the guys who had played at the higher levels to lead the way.
“Te Pauo will probably be my captain and help with the players,” Copeland said.
Copeland said his time as assistant coach at Sydney Kings would help him bring new skills to his role at the jets.
“I learnt a lot from Dean Vickerman who gave me a lot of knowledge about defence styles,” he said.
“Gazey [Andrew Gaze] I’ve known since Melbourne Tigers and I picked up a lot of plays from him. I’m excited about what I’ve learnt.”
Copeland said the expectations for this season were not set in stone as it’s a new group and they haven’t had much of a pre-season.
“You never know and I don’t know this league,” Copeland said.
“We don’t have a lot of size and we’ll be one of the smaller teams in the competition.
“It’ll be interesting to see how we hold up.
“We’ll get better as the season goes on and hopefully we can make finals and surprise people.”
The Jets kicked off their season on Saturday night with a 94-89 loss to Bulleen Boomers. Missing Formosa, the Jets couldn’t overcome a nine-point half-time deficit.
Nikoloff-King top-scored with 23 points.