Men's SBL Season Preview – Lakeside Lightning
THE Lakeside Lightning were in unfamiliar territory out of the Men's SBL playoffs in 2015 and new coach Sam Oatman will be relying heavily on imports Daniel Alexander and TJ Hallice if they are to be back in the mix for 2016.
Since joining the SBL in 2000, the Lightning have been a powerful force in the Men's competition never going through a season winning single-digit games.
That was until last season. In the previous 15 seasons, Lakeside had won four championships, five minor premierships and their worst record in those 15 years was a still respectable 11-15 when they last missed the playoffs in 2001.
Their 13-year run of making the playoffs ended in 2015 and it came down with a thud with the Lightning finishing in 12th position with a 9-17 record and losing their last seven matches.
And now they have suffered some significant losses over the summer and none bigger than the retirement of rebounding machine Jarrad Prue.
Imports Jordan Swing (27.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists) and Luke Thomas (17.2 points, 8.7 boards, 2.6 assists) have both returned home as well.
Jesse Dixon and Brad Jackson are two more key players for the Lightning of recent years who won't be there in 2016.
That means it is going to be a vastly new-look team under a new coach in Oatman.
The biggest change is the arrival of two new imports and both Alexander and Hallice will be relied upon to get the job done inside for Lakeside.
Alexander spent three years at Grand Canyon University and in 2014-15 he averaged 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds while Hallice played for three years at Mercer University too averaging 9.1 points and 6.5 boards in 2014-15.
The guard depth for the Lightning also looks a bit thin coming into 2016 making the signing of Seva Chan from the Kalamunda Eastern Suns a crucial one.
Matt Vinci and Alex Wilson are two more signings who will be relied upon to make an impact while Corey Martin and Tom Parkinson will need the best seasons of their career for the Lightning to be in the playoff hunt.
At the SBL Blitz at Warwick Stadium, the Lightning went through their four games undefeated beating the Country team along with the East Perth Eagles and Perth Redbacks while drawing with the Rockingham Flames.
The Lightning begin their 2016 season against the Stirling Senators at Warwick Stadium on Friday March 18.
Their home opener will take place on Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Recreation Centre up against the Geraldton Buccaneers.
Seva Chan, Nick Palleschi, Matt Vinci, Hayden Bell, Corey Martin, Tareq el-Batanouny, Frank Johnson, Corey Shervill, Taj Fleming, Daniel Grida, Jermayne Spatcher, Tom Parkinson, Daniel Alexander (restricted), TJ Hallice (restricted), Alex Wilson
Coach – Sam Oatman
Championship winning coach – ADAM FORDE
PREDICTION – 7th
Lakeside have changed the formant from previous years and gone with two big imports in TJ Hallice and Daniel Alexander. So many unknowns with this group, but it’s because of that fact I like the idea of them starting off with some big wins. Chan, Vinci and Bell will need to make an impact from the perimeter to give them a chance this season.
PREDICTION – 12th
New coach and new style of recruiting for the Lightning in 2016. Seva Chan is a valuable off season pick up and Corey Martin needs to show more than just glimpses of his potential. Daniel Alexander and TJ Hallice will form a tall front court with Tom Parkinson providing adequate backup. For the first time in a very long time, there is a shortage of quality shooting guards and small forwards in the Lightning line-up.
PREDICTION – 13th
It was strange seeing the Lightning slip so far in 2015 and it's difficult to see them making the massive leap back up to playoff contention this year. Covering the retirement of Jarrad Prue might be impossible while the loss of All-Star Jordan Swing won't be easy. Jesse Dixon and Brad Jackson have also not re-signed but it's not all bad news. Seva Chan is a good signing as a guard and the two imports at 205cm and 206cm provide good size with Alexander in particularly looking incredibly athletic.
Article by Chris Pike