Eagles off to a flyer
UL Eagles will enter the 2010/11 Nivea For Men's SuperLeague in confident mood after they claimed the inaugural Stuart Robbins Memorial Tournament with victory over Killester.
Killester claimed the 2010 Nivea For Men's SuperLeague by beating UL but the Limerick side have concluded their pre-season programme with a morale-boosting win over Mark Keenan's charges.
It proved to be the perfect start for newly appointed UL head coach Mark Bernsen, who led Tralee Tigers to the title in 2008. Des Robbins, Stu's father, was on hand to present the trophy to UL Eagles captains Matt Hall and Neil Campbell.
The Stuart Robbins Memorial Tournament featured a quartet of Irish giants (Killester, UCC Demons, Neptune, UL Eagles) as well as representative sides from the US and Wales.
The weekend was a fitting tribute and celebration of Stuart's contribution to Limerick and to basketball in general, following his untimely death in April.
However, the defeat won't cause too much of a panic for Killester head coach Mark Keenan, who is relishing the new campaign after their treble success last time around.
"Our aim for the coming season is to keep our rhythm and momentum going from last season and hopefully repeat our successes from last year," he said. "I have most of same team back with a few new faces to add also, which should make us very competitive again. The hunger and appetite is still there for success within the squad so that is very positive and encouraging."
Meanwhile, Neptune, who also participated in the Stuart Robbins tournament, have a number of injury worries ahead of their season opener against Belfast Star.
"We have injuries to three starters (Phil Taylor -- severe ankle sprain -- Ian McLaughlin -- sprained knee -- and Mark Mitchell --recovering from injuries suffered in a car accident) to overcome before we can really start gelling as a unit, but opportunities to play and perform are there for the younger players and that is a positive," said Neptune head coach Pat Price.
"In the first few weeks of the season these injuries will affect our overall depth and style of play, so we must adjust accordingly."
UCD Marian are hoping the signing of James Crowder will help them make an impact in the upcoming SuperLeague campaign. Crowder, a recent graduate of the Pfeiffer University men's basketball programme, will be hoping his 6ft 6in frame will cause plenty of problems for opponents this season.
Another boost for the Dubliners is the return at last from injury for Barry Glover, who has missed out on the past three years due to a severe ankle problem.