Club legend to lead Lakers into new campaign

Ready for the new season, from left, Brian Clarke (coach), Paul Clarke (captain), Braden Bell and Terion Moss

The new Scott’s Lakers coach for the upcoming national basketball league is Brian Clarke who was an integral part of St Paul’s side that competed at the top table of Irish basketball in the 1990s and 2000s.

A highly skilled and durable player, he could turn a game in an instant and his guile and craft marked him out as one of the finest players to pull on a vest in the county.

His link up with Vince Daly, Pat O’Shea and Cormac O’Donoghue, alongside leading Americans like Terry Smith, Corey Jackson and Billy Gilligan, heralded an exciting era for St Paul’s and the house full signs were a regular sight in the Pres Gym as the cream of Irish basketball often came and tumbled in Killarney.

A versatile sportsman, he was an All-Ireland medal winner with Kerry in 1997 and he hasn’t rested on his laurels since his playing days ended.

Brian Clarke, in his playing days, scores a basket against Blue Demons in a superleague clash in the INEC, Killarney
Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Brian has been an integral part of the education of the club young guns and just last year he was coaching the under 18 side. That this team, with the likes of Jack O’Sullivan, Eoin Carroll, Mark Sheehan and Oisin Spring, will form the backbone of the national league squad going forward creates an exciting dynamic for the club.

The aforementioned cut their teeth last season and being a year older and wiser will have garnered much needed experience. They have prepared well in pre-season, showing up well in recent practice matches.

Senan O’Leary has transferred to Galway Titans with his academic career taking him up the west coast while Marko Bencic is also unavailable.

Mark O’Shea will be concentrating on GAA commitments for the time being but his return will be welcomed as he possesses a defensive grit that will be needed.

Ronan Collins has rejoined the squad also and his performances last season were at a very high level while it is hoped that David Gleeson will overcome a troublesome back injury to play his part.

Jamie O’Sullivan, though still only in his early 20s, could nearly be classed as a young elder as he enters his sixth season at this level.

Coach Clarke has spent the off season scouring for new recruits to compliment his young Lakers squad. Braden Bell, a 6’7” native of Rowlett in Texas has experience of playing college basketball at the Marist Red and the Prairie View Panthers.

Nothing but net: Braden Bell and Terion Moss

He has a versatility which allows him to play across a variety of positions and his mobility is seen as being integral to the Lakers’ mantra.

With Basketball Ireland’s new regulations allowing for two American players to feature in the on court five, another exciting addition to the line-up is Terion Moss. Standing at 5’10”, Moss is coming to Killarney off the back of a very impressive season with the University of Maine at Farmington Athletics.

He led them in scoring, 27 points per game, averaged five assists per game and hit 46 and 48 points in separate games.

His profile would draw comparison with former Lakers’ fans favourite Godwin Boahen with his mobility and eye for a pass, and again has shown up very well in recent games.

The Portland native has linked up with compatriot Braden Bell and the early signs are that there is a cohesive team effort being formed.

Captain for the season will be Paul Clarke, the towering Killarney native, being the most senior member of the panel. His game nous allied to his basketball IQ are seen as being essential in the development of the squad’s younger players.

Like their female counterparts, the season tips-off with a road trip to Carlow which is then followed by two home games with the visit of Limerick Sport Eagles and league new boys Galway Titans.

In all the team will have nine home games with the Killarney derbies pencilled in for January 27 in the Pres Gym and the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre hosting the March 2 return.

The club is once again grateful to Maurice O’Donoghue of Scott’s Hotel who has been most generous sponsors to the squad in recent years.

Sunday, October 1: SETU Carlow (A)
Saturday, October 7: Limerick Sports Eagles (H)
Saturday, October 14: Titans (H)
Saturday, October 21: UCD Marian (A)
Saturday, October 28: SETU Waterford Vikings (A)
Saturday, November 11: Abbey Seal Dublin Lions (H)
Saturday, November 18: Limerick Celtics (H)
Saturday, December 9: Malahide (H)
Saturday, December 16: Moy Tolka Rovers (A)
Saturday, December 30: Drogheda Wolves (H)
Saturday, January 13: Portlaoise Panthers (A)
Saturday, January 27: Killarney Cougars (A)
Saturday, February 3: Limerick Celtics (A)
Saturday, February 10: Waterford Vikings ( H)
Saturday, February 17: Team Northwest (H)
Saturday, February 24: Titans ( A)
Saturday, March 2: Killarney Cougars (H)
Saturday, March 9: Limerick Sport Eagles (A)
Saturday, March 16: SETU Carlow (H)

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