Adrian Fulton has wielded the axe following Belfast Star’s 82-68 defeat away to Ballincolig, with American James Claar being let go after another insipid display.
It was always going to be difficult for Claar to follow in the footsteps of Mike Davis and Delaney Blaylock, who are currently playing in Ukraine and Portugal, but Claar was nevertheless underwhelming since joining in the summer.
Head coach Fulton admitted that it was a tough decision to take and he did have some for sympathy for Claar. “I do feel a bit sorry for James because in some ways we were asking him to do things that he wasn’t brought here to do,” said Fulton.
“When we brought him here it was with in mind that we would have Aidan Quinn and Paul Dick sorted as our guards but of course we’ve been without those two due to injury so it has been hard for James, who’s a lovely fella.
“But we had to make a change at this stage because we need something different. We’re second in our conference with a record of won four, lost four. We know that position would be good enough to make the play-offs but that’s not in our minds – we want to be challenging for the title.
“So, I’ll be flat out now seeking to bring someone in. It won’t be easy but I feel that if we can get someone to do the job I want along with the return of Paul Dick at the start of February then we would be in good shape to have a shot at winning the play-offs.”
As for their defeat to unbeaten Ballincollig, Fulton felt that his side simply didn’t take their chances and having scored over 90 points it was very disappointing for him to se his men only return 68 on Saturday night. Claar’s paltry score of seven points was just unacceptable. The Belfast man also suffered a blow before the game when on Saturday morning Conor Ryan was unable to play.
Once again Max Cooper shone foe Star and he was joint top scorer for the Belfast men on 16 points with fellow Englishman Jonny Foulds. Impressive American Austin Beech had 15.
Star do not return to action until January 15 and Fulton is hoping that he can put that time to good use, starting with a new American, while he is also off tomorrow to the States to meet up with son CJ who is in majestic form for College side Lafayette.
Fulton added: “On Saturday I felt we were a little too tentative and I don’t know why that was the case. We had opportunities and didn’t take them, it just wasn’t the standard required at this level but credit to Ballincollig, they’re a top side.”