Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Basketball: Maguire keeps the faith in youth

Gareth Maguire is hoping that University of Ulster will shrug off their injury crisis and claim their first victory in the All Ireland Nivea Superleague.

Maguire expects to still be on the sidelines when UU travel to the Hoops in Dublin for their first clash on the road, while Scott Summersgill is ruled out with a torn calf muscle, sustained in last weekend's defeat by Ballina.

UU, in their first season n the top flight, were dealt a further blow this week when their bid to sign Irish senior captain, American Jusren Naughton fell through due to Basketball Ireland's signing deadline.

Maguire said: "We appealed the decision on Tuesday but were told we couldn't sign him. We were gutted because the finance was in place and he was very keen to come.

"But in the end we missed out on signing him by about 12 hours, so we move on and we look to keep developing our Irish players and that is what this team is all about. We have a long term view because we believe this team is going places."

As for the clash with the Hoops, Maguire knows that the young guns led by captain Andy O'Hare need to step up another level if they are to pull off a victory.

"Last week I think we would have beaten Ballina if Scotty had not gone off with the torn calf muscle after just 30 seconds," added Maguire. " I was very pleased with the lads and particularly Matt McColgan who looks a great prospect for us. The guys know they have to keep improving and raising their game but their commitment cannot be faulted. Apart from training at night they are doing three mornings shooting practice with our Americans and that will pay off.

"Last weekend's performance was very encouraging even though we lost and Brian Nieman showed his class because Ballina just couldn't stop him."

Tomorrow night at the UUJ Sports Centre, Belfast Star hope to bounce back from their shock defeat by Demons when they entertain Killester.

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