Basketball: Champions Killester aim for Star as new season gets in gear
IT'S been a frenetic closed season in the Superleague and clubs, players and coaches alike will be looking for fresh starts this weekend when the season gets under way.
And nowhere have things changed more than at champions Killester, who open their defence against Belfast Star tomorrow.
Coach Mark Keenan has been replaced by Darren O'Neill, last season's Player of the Year Paddy Kelly has taken a year out along with John Behan, while Isaac Westbrooks and Michael Goj have joined the Dublin Business School's side Dublin Thunder.
However, O'Neill still has the likes of Robbie Clarke, Jermaine Turner and Peder Madsen to choose from and the former Star, Marian and Queens coach is looking forward to opening his account against his former club.
"I have had a pretty good record against Star during my coaching stints with Marian and Queens, so hopefully that will continue," he said.
Killester face Star new boy, 6ft 6ins American Tyson Johnson, who played for Dortmund last season. The University of Wyoming graduate averaged 13 points and eight rebounds in his senior year and will bolster the Ulster side's attack this season.
Meanwhile, in Cork, Neptune take on Keenan's new club the UL Eagles in a Munster derby at Neptune Stadium tomorrow.
Both clubs boast new coaches, with former Glanmire women's coach Mark Scannell having replaced Pat Price at Neptune and he has secured the signing of 6ft 8ins American Ron Thompson, who spent last season in Finland.
Keenan's UL have added Limerick native Jason Killeen, who has returned to the club after stints in the USA and Europe.
UCC Demons have the same coach as last year and Paul Kelleher has added Mount Saint Mary's graduate Shawn Atupem. On Sunday, they face a Moycullen side without a coach after Mark Bernsen's decision to return to the USA, but their problems have been slightly eased by the signing of NAIA All American Luke Enos.
DCU Saints will have a new man on the line as former player David Donnelly takes the reins. They take on UCD Marian on Sunday, with southsiders Marian bolstered by the signings of Kevin Foley and American Donnie Stith, while Kevin Meany returns to the fold after a four-year absence.
Meanwhile, reigning Women's Superleague champions UL face Meteors on Sunday, while Glanmire take on Dynamos. And DCU Mercy will be taking on Waterford Wildcats.
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