December 6, 2023

Starwings Basketball: Season Preview

Season preview

The Starwings preseason: With communication and without a nanny in the playoffs

The Starwings begin the new Swiss basketball season under new coach Pascal Heinrichs on October 1 against Nyon. Under the leadership of the German, Piercefield’s team should qualify for the playoffs again despite President Donati’s withdrawal.

The Starwings start the new season with the goal of reaching the playoffs. Last season’s top scorer, Deshaun Williams (second from right), like many others, is no longer at Beresfelden.

Photo: Georgios Kefalas/Key

After last season’s disappointing season, everything should be looking up for the Starwings. President Pascal Donati declared that reaching the playoffs was the minimum goal. The team should achieve this under the leadership of newly appointed coaching duo Pascal Heinrich and Peter Reisner.

The outgoing president – whose successor, Carsten Rippe, will take office at the scheduled general meeting – sees the two Germans as the key to a strong season. “The mood in the club has become more positive compared to last season,” Donati said.

Dirty laundry from the previous nanny

The president also explains why he did this: “The coaching duo creates a completely different atmosphere through their communication with the players.” Donati does not hide the fact that he was not satisfied with the management of coach Antonius Doukas’ team last year. He said he was tired of playing the role of the team’s nanny because the coach did not communicate with the team and referred them to the president.

New coach Pascal Heinrichs sees the communication that Donati praised as his strength: “I have often heard that my communication with my players is good. I have no comparison and I just deal with the players in my own way.”

The fact that Heinrichs takes his players seriously is not only reflected in their communication. He also gives them a lot of responsibility: “I set the framework, but I let the team make many decisions themselves. For example, when attacking, they can get out of moves at any time if the opportunity arises.

No privileges for stars

The team that is supposed to live up to the club’s aspirations and qualify for the playoffs has been rebuilt in some positions, as in every season. In particular, the changes that will occur for foreign players, who face particularly high expectations, will be very important. “These are traditionally the strongest players, especially in a team with a small budget. They will play a very important role,” says Heinrich.

The coach expects a strong performance from the beginning, especially from American Unique McClain and Canadian Christian Roliher, while Anders Nelson will have some time to adapt in his first season outside the United States.

Despite the importance of these players, Heinrichs does not grant them any privileges: “For me, there are no special roles or preferences. “They know they are important, but they also know that we expect a lot from them.”

Starting against neon

At the start of the season, the Starwings will welcome direct rivals Nyon to Beresfelden on October 1. “Neon is not one of the best teams ever, but it is at our level,” says Heinrich. In particular, it is difficult to estimate the level of foreign players before the start of the season. “I expect we can gain an advantage with our size,” says Heinrich, who wants to focus on his strengths.

Starwings has given away 150 free tickets to Basel students, and hopes the hall will be well filled. But Heinrich does not notice any tension in himself or in his team: “You only feel nervous if you are not well prepared. We are happy that we have started now after preparing well.”

Start of Starwings season

Swiss Basketball League/National League A

Match 1:
Starwings – BBC Neon, 1 October, 4pm, Beresfelden Sports Hall

Match 2:
Lugano Tigers-Starwings, Oct. 8, 4 p.m., EST. Elvetico

Match 3:
Poli Lausanne – Starwings, October 14, 5.30pm, Vallee Jeunes

Match 4:
Starwings – Spinelli Massagno, October 21, 5:30pm, Beresfelden Sports Hall

Match 5:
Lions de Genève – Starwings, October 24, 7:30pm, Pommier

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