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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Ipswich Men’s Basketball head coach John Ellis reflects on first year in charge

PUBLISHED: 14:15 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:15 15 March 2018

Ipswich head coach John Ellis speaks to his troops. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich head coach John Ellis speaks to his troops. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Pavel.Kricka@btinternet.com

As the National Basketball League season winds down, Ipswich Basketball Club head into their final home game of the campaign this Saturday still in the hunt for playoff places.

Cameron Hawes has been superb for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKACameron Hawes has been superb for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

It has been a rollercoaster year for the Copleston Sports Centre-based team. After restructuring the coaching staff in the summer, former assistant John Ellis took over as head coach for the year, joined by Rob Schatten and the returning Nick Newman as assistants.

There was even more drastic change to the playing roster, with initially only Cameron Hawes and Colin Dockrell remaining from last year’s rotation.

Ellis appreciates that the biggest challenge he faced this year was trying to rebuild the roster.

“We faced a huge turnover from last season, but after an open try-out in the summer we started to pick up a couple of guys and build,” he explained.

“It’s carried on during the season – we’ve lost players for various reasons, picked up some new ones, and as a result inconsistency has been a major part of the season and with two games left I can not honestly tell you our best line-up.

“Guys have stepped up at certain times during the season which has been great. But it’s a process and we will work it out.”

The first part of the season was a raging success, as through that roster turmoil Ipswich carved out a 5-4 record, and were 6-7 after their first thirteen games – an identical record to last season’s progress.

In 2018 the team has stuttered, losing one or two games from winning positions and have fallen to 7-13 with two games to play, but those within the club still consider this a tremendous achievement given the player turnover and the ever-improving standard of NBL Division Two.

Colin Dockrell has provided key veteran leadership for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKAColin Dockrell has provided key veteran leadership for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

“I’m not sure I would classify it as an achievement, but then that’s just my competitive nature,” admitted Ellis. “I thought we were capable of more, but I will say that my players have worked hard, stuck together, and become a genuine ‘team’. For their first year together, that’s impressive.”

With a raft of experienced seniors having left the programme, Ipswich have leaned on their younger players, and Ipswich Basketball Academy standouts Jonny Hall and Ben Winter have been at the forefront, along with IBA graduates Hawes and Rory Winter, who returned to the team after a spell in the USA.

And as he draws toward the end of his first season at the helm, Ellis is able to reflect on the season and how he has found the challenge.

“I have absolutely enjoyed the challenge of becoming a national league coach,” he said. “I knew it would be a challenge when I accepted the position.

“Having coach Schatten and coach Newman around has been great, we bounce ideas off each other and bring different understandings to the game. And the team was a pleasure to work with.

“The players and I have made it clear that we won’t get too high about a win, or too low about a loss. As I always stated during the season our “6th man”, the supporters, have been absolutely amazing during the season both home and away.

“We have the best fans in the division by an absolute mile, I’m certain of that.”

- Ipswich close the book on the regular season next week at Birmingham Elite (pending a possible playoff appearance), but the last chance to see the team playing at Copleston will be this weekend, when Ellis’ men host a talented Thames Valley Cavaliers team who have already confirmed their promotion to Division One following two strong years in Division Two.

Ryan Wilson has added a scoring threat to Ipswich after signing in mid-season. Picture: PAVEL KRICKARyan Wilson has added a scoring threat to Ipswich after signing in mid-season. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

The game tips off at 5pm, and adult tickets are just £3.00 (children £1.00).

Tristan Nydam is keen to make the most of his loan stay in Scotland but is still keeping a firm eye on parent club Ipswich Town.

Former Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst is the favourite in the betting as his former club Shrewsbury search for a new manager.

Former Ipswich Town goalkeeper Shane Supple has announced his retirement from football for a second time, due to a persistent hip injury.

ANDY WARREN takes a look at the changes made by Paul Lambert since his appointment as Ipswich Town manager.

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today features David Johnson signing for Town and Sir Bobby Robson’s testimonial match at Portman Road

Former Ipswich Town loanee Richie Wellens has been appointed Swindon Town manager, naming Noel Hunt as his assistant.

Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back with the latest episode of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Jordan Spence has hailed the impact of manager Paul Lambert and believes the Blues can pull themselves away from trouble if they maintain the high standards they have set.

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today features wins over Arsenal and Stoke, while we also remember the late Marton Fulop.

Flynn Downes has been called into the England U20 for their game with Germany in Colchester next week.

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