Samuel Toluwase: Criticism of Leeds Force hurts but is vital to our journey

That fourth quarter against Manchester Giants last week in a losing effort, showed that when we practice what we preach at Leeds Force, we get better results.

Eric Curth hit 12 points for Leeds Force (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

We’ve shown what we can do late in games, but we have to improve our starts if we’re to challenge in this league.

Leeds Force were their own worst enemies last week, it was nothing to do with Manchester and all to do with ourselves.

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I take my hat off to Manchester however, they did a good job and made it difficult for us in a 116-98 victory, but the fault lies at our own feet.

No matter what, all of the players will have brotherly love for each other at Leeds Force.

It’s at that stage now where even if you say something negative or critical, it’s still with the right intentions in mind.

As a team, we have to take that criticism and understand that it’s because we’re looking after each other and making sure we’re not messing up.

When people make mistakes, we have to let them know – it’s up to them to take it on the chest and pick themselves up.

Ingus Bankevics , pictured playing for Leeds Force earlier this year, returned to haunt his former club with 31 points in a Manchester Giants win. (Picture: Alex Daniels)

We have to remain together at Leeds Force, and that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.

The honesty on this team is refreshing – with teams I’ve played for in the past, there’s been ego problems and having a big ego doesn’t get you too far.

There are no egos on this team at the minute, everyone’s trying to come together no matter how difficult it gets.

It is tough trying to stay positive when you’re taking loss after loss, but it takes a real team to bounce back from so many issues, and that’s what we’re taking from our defeats at the moment.

Danny Nelson, the head coach Leeds Force

The coach makes sure we’re very aware of the opposition, but he can only do so much in his role.

As players we have to do our part, which is to learn what we’re being given.

Coach Danny Nelson gives us information to study, and it’s up to us as professionals to go home and do the studying ourselves.

If players aren’t professional enough to study in their own time and prepare for a game, we’re going to keep losing out.

Ingus Bankevics , pictured playing for Leeds Force earlier this year, returned to haunt his former club with 31 points in a Manchester Giants win. (Picture: Alex Daniels)

If you’re given the answers by your teacher before an exam in lessons and you don’t read and learn the answers, you’re going to fail – that’s what’s happening at the moment.

There’s nothing to lose hope over, Leeds Force are fighting back.

We’ve been digging our grave too early in games for us to complete comebacks – that’s a huge problem and one we’re working incredibly hard to 
fix. Selfish basketball has cost us at times, it’s me, myself and I.

That’s not how things are meant to be as a team, and hopefully we can all come together and realise that the team is more important on the court than the individual.

We’re looking forward to another double-header against a pair of new teams this coming weekend.

Worcester Wolves will be another challenging game on the road on Friday night (University of Worcester Arena, 7.30pm), likewise Leicester Riders won’t be easy in the BBL Trophy on Sunday, but we have to be ready and come prepared if we’re to earn the win.

Danny Nelson, the head coach Leeds Force

Whether I’m captain or not, if I see someone not doing what they’re supposed to then I’ll let them know – pulling the team together is what I’m here to 

Off the court, we’re together but on the court it isn’t showing.

That’s it for this week’s column, keep the faith and I look forward to seeing you all when we host Leicester Riders on Sunday in the BBL Trophy at Carnegie Sports Arena (4pm).


Interview: Seb Gigner