SEASONS come and go but Warrnambool basketball never stops.
After the Seahawks’ early exit from the Big V competition, many young players began focusing on the upcoming Country Basketball League as a chance to improve their roles in the 2014 campaign.
The league’s south-west conference involves Warrnambool, Mount Gambier, Horsham, Stawell, Portland, Colac and Terang, running between October and February.
With most of the Seahawks’ CBL team returning from last season, four players have stepped up from under 18s, while former Big V player Tom Simmonds also joins the squad.
In his second season as Warrnambool’s CBL coach, Barry Brooks said the focus remained on developing young players for transition into the Big V league.
“It’s making sure the boys have the same message coming through, concentrating on the skills they need to get to the Big V season,” he said.
“We’ve always had a big gap between when the boys who finish representative level at under 18s and the Seahawks, so this gives more of a pathway for guys who aspire to play and bring their skills up to a men’s level competition.
“This will allow them to practice the same skill sets with a greater amount of time on the court.”
Brooks said last season had already shown to be a worthwhile experience for young talent moving into the Big V.
“Most of the core players in this team ended up playing some reasonable minutes with the Seahawks last season.
“You only have to look at Damian Gray, who went from being a first-year player to really playing the point position for the Seahawks.
“(The CBL) will give him some more opportunity to practice his skills.
“James Mitchell, Leigh Saffin and Liam Killey all had time on the Seahawks’ (Big V) roster.
“Liam is probably looking to step up into the big man spot over the next couple years as well.
“They’ve got something to prove in whether they can play in a physical competition with the physical pressure put on them at this level.
“They want to achieve as much as they can, given that change of attitude and aggression.”
Warrnambool expects to contend for the top spot in the CBL and will find its hardest opponents in Mount Gambier and Horsham, with Corio now out of the competition.
After last week’s opening round bye, the Seahawks will take on Mount Gambier on Saturday in an away game.