“What is the most beautiful victory, in the end? Is it sporting victory or is it victory that will allow us to build something? »
Posted at 4:56 p.m.
These questions came from the mouth of the head coach of the Alliance, Vincent Lavandier, Tuesday morning, during his meeting with the media on the occasion of the team’s season report.
The Alliance have won only 4 of their 20 meetings this season, which has stretched over the last two and a half months. She finished last in the standings. But beyond the victories, the coach helped lay the foundations for this still-new franchise, which was playing its first season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CBLE).
“It’s a lot of learning for everyone,” he explained. We knew we would be a development team, in quotes, with a lot of young people. To teach them the trade, let’s say. We managed to develop young players with the help of the veterans we had in the team.
I had fun. There is the results aspect, but it’s not just that on a daily basis. I had fun and I saw players confirm that we were progressing and who were very happy.
General Manager Joel Anthony agreed, saying the past season has been “full of ups and downs”.
“Our record doesn’t reflect the talent we have,” he said. It’s not the most important thing for me. We have to have our own foundation, and [Vincent] helped us set it up. »
Lack of experience
The Alliance started the season with three home wins in their first five games, before picking up just one win in the next 15 games. She did not win any of her duels abroad.
According to the players and the coach, two reasons explain these results. Starting with the lack of experience. Many players had little or no professional experience before joining the team last May.
“We were very young compared to the rest of the league, explained Montrealer and veteran Kemy Ossé. There are many guys who have played in this league for more than a year. Some have played in the G-League. It was the experience that was missing. »
“When you lose, it’s never a good feeling, continued the co-captain. It’s heavy. We want to compete, we want to win a championship, so it’s difficult after each defeat. But my message is always keep your head up. Life goes on. We keep our heads up and we have to keep working. I think the guys responded well to that. »
Nathan Cayo, 25, was one of those young players with no professional experience. He eventually established himself as one of the team’s best, playing in each of the 20 games. He recorded 12.2 points, 5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, in addition to completing 53.7% of his shot attempts.
I learned a lot. I took a lot of experience. I learned from the coach, from the environment. I’ve seen what it’s like to play professional. I want to use this experience for the rest of my career.
“We need to gain experience. We suffered a lot of injuries. A lot of important players have come and gone, so it sure hurts. But as soon as we can learn from all that, that’s what’s important. »
Injuries are the second reason for the Alliance’s difficult season. “At one point, we only trained with 8 able-bodied out of a group of 16, mentioned Vincent Lavandier. Otherwise, we lacked maturity and above all consistency and regularity. »
Alliance leaders now have 10 months ahead of them to prepare for the second season. We can expect to see many returning players. After having trained youngsters this season, we will certainly want to see their improvement next season.
“When we try to build a team, there have to be players who are already here with us,” also argued Joël Anthony.
“We are going to do like every team, every year, he continued. We are going to make changes. We have seen what we have. We have good things. […] I will work so hard to put a better team in front of us. »
The three players met by the media – Kemy Ossé, Hernst Laroche and Nathan Cayo –, as well as the head coach, have all indicated that they want to return next season.
“I want to keep coming here until I win a championship,” Ossé said.
“Discovery is beautiful. But you also need continuity to have progress, ”suggested Lavandier.