Leeds Force’s season ended with defeat to Leicester Riders three weeks ago in the BBL Playoffs.

The planning for the next season began immediately.

There’s no such thing as an off-season when you’re a BBL coach and before the dust had even settled, Force coach Matt Newby was already hard at work.

“When the year comes to a close you already have an idea of who you want to keep and who will move on for whatever reason,” he said.

“We already understand we’re in a position where several players’ stock is now a lot higher and there’s opportunities coming for them in Europe.

“Ultimately we want to be in a position to retain them but if not, we wish them well in the future.”

Louis Sayers has already agreed a move to play in Germany next season and while Newby knows others will move on, he is confident the Force is becoming an attractive destination for new players.

“We’re no longer a fledgling program and I think we’ve now established ourselves a bit,” he insisted.

“We’re a good place, not just for young domestic players, but also for players coming out of college in the US, so we’ve got to set our stall out and let them know we’re a place where people come to launch their careers.”

So what does Newby believe the Force need to do next season?

“We’ve got to go up another gear again,” was the response, “and I think this year we proved we can be competitive in this league.

“Higher in the play-offs would be the natural progression but ultimately that’s down to how hard we work this summer in retaining players and also recruiting new players.

“We have to make sure we can match pound for pound what the big boys are bringing in.”

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