Warwick’s Michael McDaniel is captain of the Toowoomba Mountaineers for the 2011 season.
Warwick’s Michael McDaniel is captain of the Toowoomba Mountaineers for the 2011 season. Gerard Walsh

Side hungry for victory

DESPITE two straight years without a win, new Toowoomba Mountaineers captain Mike McDaniel says his team is a force to be reckoned with in the Queensland Basketball League.

These are strong words going into their first game of the season against the highly favoured Ipswich Force team at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre tomorrow.

But after stints with QBL teams Maroochydore, Brisbane, Ipswich and now Toowoomba, McDaniel knows what it takes to win at this level and is confident the Mountaineers will do more than make up the numbers.

“I think with the team, we’ve got all of the pieces of the puzzle, it’s just a matter of fine-tuning them,” McDaniel said.

And McDaniel says new coach Pop Dickerson is playing a big role in building the team into a competitive QBL outfit.

“Not to put down the coaches who have gone before but Pop is a tried coach and a proven champion... he’s a coach who knows how to win games,” he said.

While all the eyes tomorrow will be on American imports Rashad Chase and James Legan, McDaniel thinks another veteran player in Chris Hamill will be one of the buys of the year for the Mountaineers.

“He’s just blazing. That’s all the fruit from years of not being given the opportunities at this level and I know Pop Dickerson just loves him and how he plays,” McDaniel said.

The new captain is another player who knows all about not being given the opportunities to succeed at this level.

McDaniel and Ipswich parted ways in 2009 on less than favourable terms with McDaniel feeling his talents were not being utilised.

So there will no love lost when he takes to the court against his old team tomorrow.

For him, there would be no better team to break Toowoomba’s two-year losing streak against.

But McDaniel, 41, insists revenge is not on his mind, he’s too preoccupied with helping his team realise its potential.

“I think we can make the playoffs this year,” McDaniel said.

“I think I have the ability to play at this level for one or two more years.

"I’m determined to go out on a good note.

"Who knows? Maybe we can win the championship this year.”



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