Bulls demotion long in coming
In this week’s ON THE BALL edition, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville continues his weekly review of the Premier League.
It’s?a historically tragic time in Clapham, and ultimately top-flight basketball, with Bulls’ demotion marking the disastrous end to a record 28 straight years of residence in the top division.
But if the club’s relegation is untimely, it surely wasn’t unexpected, because you can’t say you didn’t see this one coming.
The writing was on the wall long ago when the squad started losing valuable junior players like they were keys at a retirement home – to the point where none of the nucleus of the 2007 and 2010 title-winning teams currently ply their trade in Clapham’s Premier League side.
To recap, that’s the collective talents of Rahiim Gibbons, Daniel Lovell, Stefan Yarde, Damian McClean, Sean Parris, Ramon Byer, Shane Rock and Lorenzo Thorpe all gone to waste for one reason or another.
Can you imagine how good Bulls would be right now, and for the foreseeable future, if that was the supporting cast for Jeremy Gill and Halley Franklyn?
Well, apparently neither could Clapham’s administration. Did anyone in management encourage any of these promising youngsters to stick around?
Of course, head coach Barry Rock deserted for the sake of a few malcontents, and we now know how that worked out for Bulls basketball.
But I guess someone thought it was worth demotion to rid the club of a noted championship-winning coach so as to appease highly unskilled players who are averse to serious practice.
And I wouldn’t bet on Clapham returning to the top flight anytime soon either, not if they’re depending on those same players who couldn’t turn up to practice sessions or a must-win season finale to show the commitment required to lift Bulls out of the Intermediate division.
• Knowing the die-hard Clapham faithful that Rock is, I just can’t see him coaching anywhere else, but if the once beleaguered head coach is open to taking his talents elsewhere then he shouldn’t be wanting for a job.
Rock’s coaching stock has to be pretty high about now – even higher than years following each of his cup-winning campaigns – in light of the recent events to unfold in a certain St Michael community since his departure.
Consider this: since the former national player decided not to return to the bench for this season, the entire squad of a defending two-time women’s champ has disbanded; arguably the country’s best player, Jeremy Gill, moved to Pinelands; and the Premier League side has been demoted for the first time in its 28-year history.
Sure, Rock could be needlessly stubborn and a lot of players might not be able to deal with his rather unforgiving nature, but if I’m a team just on the cusp of glory (think Sonics, Cougars) in need of a coach to put me over the top then what’s the harm in renting Rock for a year or two?
A lot of teams could do considerably worse. Just ask Clapham.
• On the flip side, both Nicholas Jones and Alvin Padmore should come with “buyer beware” tags if they decide to go club-hopping together again for the 2014 season.
In case you didn’t realize, that’s two demoted sides in two years for the not so dynamic duo after the two turned out for the relegated Senators last year before plying their trade this season for the now demotion-bound Clapham Bulls.
Now I’m not saying the play of Padmore and Jones led directly to the demise of both sides, but it certainly didn’t help either, as both played heavy minutes in successive years for two bottom-of-the-table clubs.
So before you go rushing to sign off on those transfer forms, Challengers, take a minute to consider the fate of Clapham and Senators. Lest you join them in Intermediate.