Wellington loses again, coach blasts team for lack of leadership

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Wellington BC interim head coach Butch Carter feels his team just isn’t getting the on-floor leadership it needs and that’s leading to its losses adding up in the inaugural Canadian Basketball League season.

Monday afternoon in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre, Wellington squandered a fast start to the game and lost 90-75 to Durham United. It was Wellington’s 12th loss in 14 games this season and fourth setback in a row.

“I’ve got two guys that I counted on to be leadership and handle the basketball,” Carter said. “They consistently come in the game and they don’t provide leadership. I used to be a pretty good coach. I thought I could get a press-breaker, but it’s like we threw the ball right to them. Unfortunately, it’s been consistent, but I don’t really mind that. The problem that I’m having is that they’re not getting mad about it. Couldn’t ask for a better crowd. Couldn’t ask for a better environment on TV across the country and the right people who are supposed to help lead the team aren’t upset.”

While Carter didn’t name anyone by name, guard Jeremiah Williams usually handles the majority of the ball-handling chores while the other guards are Isaiah Thomas, Aldor Kola, J.J. Smith (he’s injured), Evan Pannell, Gilbert Gyamfi and Canadian Felix Frimpong.

“The problem is that the guys who aren’t that good, Evan, Dominique (Walls) and even Devon (Scott), their play is dominated off of those guys doing a good job and knowing what’s going on in the game,” Carter said.

Wellington looked like it was going to steamroll Durham United in the first YES TV game broadcast from the new facility on the University of Guelph campus as the hosts grabbed a 24-4 lead in the first five and a half minutes of the game. Then Durham turned up its press break and the wheels fell off the Wellington attack while Durham put the brakes on their own four-game skid.

“I learned early in basketball as a coach, hey, I’m not going to make any baskets, I’m not going to defend anyone so you need to have people who can do it,” Carter said. “I’m probably flunking the test for general manager. I made sure the other teams were pretty good not expecting I’d be coaching this team.”

Carter does take some of the blame for the on-floor performances as he’s not at every Wellington practice due to commitments as the league’s CEO. He stepped into the interim coaching position with Wellington after intended coach George Jackson went home in December.

“I got thrown a curveball having to be the coach and what’s going on isn’t fair on the guys,” Carter said. “I need to be around more, but I have responsibilities with the league.”

The search for Carter’s coaching replacement is ongoing and candidates are being interviewed.

“We’re just trying to find a guy that he’ll be the coach next year — not just now — instead of just plugging in someone interim,” Carter said. “What’s going on is not fair to the guys. I can’t spend the time I really need to spend with them and we have some pretty good coaches in the league. The other three guys are pretty good and they’re spending time and helping their team move forward. I imagine I’ll need to find someone who can give us leadership better than what we’ve had, just so we can compete.”

Scott led Wellington with 18 points while Pannell had 15 and Manny Thomas, obtained from Durham a week earlier, netted 12. Scott had seven rebounds while Walls had three blocks and three steals and Gilbert Gyamfi also had three steals.

Anthony Henderson hit for 21 points for Durham United and David Tucker had 15, Reed Buck and Jameel Williamson had 13 apiece and Joseph Wani had 11. Henderson and Buck each had 10 rebounds and Wani had four steals.

The loss followed a setback by about 20 points to Scarborough Saturday night at Scarborough.

Unofficially, Scarborough leads the league at 12-2 and is followed by Durham at 8-5, Hamilton at 5-8 and Wellington at 2-12.

Next game for Wellington is a home game against Hamilton Saturday at 1 p.m.