Coach Trevor Gleeson says the Perth Wildcats allowed themselves to grow complacent last season, assuming a seventh championship would just fall in their laps.
The Wildcats will tomorrow begin the process to fill the two vacant spots on the club’s roster after today revealing Guam-born guard Earnest Ross would not be returning for season 2015-16.
Ross was recruited on a two-year deal last season but failed to live up to his potential due to struggles with his weight and a serious Achilles injury in January.
NBA-bound forward DeAndre Daniels is the only other player not returning.
The Wildcats have been in training for the past few weeks, returning a month ahead of their regular schedule due to last season’s condensed fixture.
Gleeson said the team would be using the extra time to add new dimensions to their game, admitting they were too comfortable last season coming off their 2013-14 championship.
He said the club was doing everything in its power to ensure the hunger returned.
“We really got complacent last year. We really thought that things would just happen,” he said.
“We dropped the ball.
“We know our window of opportunity is now.
“We’ve got some players in their peak time of their career and we don’t want to let that slip through our fingers again.
“We want to make sure that we’re paying attention to the details and doing the work required to win a championship.”
The start of the NBL’s free agency period tomorrow will see the Wildcats attempt to add depth at the guard position.
They will also be travelling to the US in July to scout another high-quality import, leveraging contacts at a host of NBA clubs.
Gleeson said the Cats learnt some lessons after Daniels’ stint with the club failed to have the desired impact.
“We have to be a little bit selfish and get the guy that we need and not necessarily a high-placed pick, but the guy that’s really going to complement our team,” he said.
Jermaine Beal joined his teammates at the Bendat Basketball Centre today after a stint in Saudi Arabia.
Last year’s club MVP is contracted, but says he would be open to talks if rival clubs wanted to activate a buy-out clause in his deal.
“I’m still under contract with the Wildcats so the only way I don’t come back is if somebody buys me out,” he said.
“As far as I know, I’m a Wildcat.
“Right now I just want to work on my game. I’m not really worried about where I end up.”