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Bulls will sorely miss Gill

Justin Marville

Bulls will sorely miss Gill

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In the build-up to the 2012 Premier League season, SUNSPORT basketball correspondent Justin Marville continues a series of team-by-team previews.
Team: Clapham Bulls
Head coach: Barry Rock
Last year’s record: 16-4 (first – regular season), (losing finalists – play-offs)
Average points per game: 76.6 (first)
Average points against: 62.2 (first)
Key additions: Ryan Leacock, Keith Mayers, Shane Rock, Lorenzo Thorpe
Key losses: Jeremy Gill, Daniel Lovell, Nicholas Jones, Stefan Yarde, Kodia Leacock (probable)
I’m not going to pretend to know who’s right in the ongoing strife between head coach Barry Rock and his disgruntled – now departed – players.
What I do know is, the subsequent fallout is about to leave the perennial powerhouses closer to demotion than contention.
Ironically enough, the one player (Jeremy Gill) Clapham could ill afford to lose has nothing to do with the conflict, but will hurt the club more than all the aforementioned departures combined.
Whether due to Rock’s unimaginative sets or the other Bulls’ lack of skills, Clapham’s offence is Jeremy Gill, who served as the team’s primary scoring option (20.1 ppg) and lone playmaker (4.1 apg).
Talented guard Rahiim Gibbons now has the thankless task of trying to replace Gill’s playmaking duties, and it will be his alone to bear considering the absence of another competent ball-handler.
But no one player will be forced to step up more than Halley Franklyn, as Gill’s long-time Scottie Pippen now becomes the Bulls’ Jordan in the absence of another true No.1 option.
In burly centres Sean Parris and Sydney Rowe, Franklyn can at least find viable foils in the post, and Clapham could prove dangerous in the minutes they use the two-headed monster down low.
Their perimeter scoring certainly won’t be as menacing, not if the Bulls thought it necessary to bring back a 37-year-old Ryan Leacock who last played any meaningful basketball three seasons ago.
Prediction: seventh
This team is just good enough not to get demoted, and sufficiently bad to the point where play-offs should be outside the realm of possibility.
Franklyn, Gibbons and Parris are all good complementary pieces to have on offence, but are not star players or even great No.1 options on that end of the floor.
And it’s not as if Clapham can turn to their top-rated defence to carry them this time around, as they have neither the bodies nor age on their side to play that brand of “D” for 40 minutes.