For Polazac Basket Dordogne, this challenging season in Pro B is a ‘fantastic lesson’

After being “too scared,” according to CEO Laurent Ceres, the Peregord club saved his skin among the pros. What should relax you? Nothing to brag about. BBD ends with a victory over Tor, penultimate and House. The fourth goal shown at the start of the season is five successes. So the season is a failure. Everything was wrong from the start.

1 Badly planned project

At the end of the 2020-2021 Jeep Elite, Polazak landed four wins to 30 losses. The shock was deep. In order to bring it back to Pro B, BBD put the cart before the horse. “At least in Pro B, we’re going to win matches,” we heard around the club. To know the division, its peculiarities and difficulties is very bad. He was showing a lot of self-confidence, not writing tyranny.

“The Pro B caliber required a different blend than what we had”

By posting an ambitious Top 4, or even the title of champion, Laurent Serres made a mistake. The chairman of the board immediately put his entire organization under pressure. We needed results right away. On condition of anonymity, a coach, an expert in the division, explained at the end of the season that Polazak “should have dealt with this trauma. We had to land quietly before anything was announced. »

The best example remains Nancy. It took the new champion of Pro B, the French basketball stronghold, five years to return to the elite. Chalons-sur-Saone, who has a track record other than BBD, has also struggled with his claim of wanting to immediately return to the top level – even if the Burgundians are in the playoffs. Pro B is difficult. Getting off the elite doesn’t guarantee anything.

Instead of seeing himself more handsome than he was, Polzac should have taken the time to readjust. The sports project was not the right one. Building on two or three years with players we want to develop until they explode in Betclic Elite, it’s beautiful on paper. But when it comes to going to Aix-Maurienne, Saint-Quentin or Blois, it’s a different story.

Next, admits Laurent Serres, “It’s a great lesson. Money doesn’t qualify for play-offs. It leads you to have ambitions. And it’s legit. After such a difficult season, he’s understood the club, and he wants to focus his future on humility,” a term I share more now. , escapes from Ceres. We wanted to build something solid. The Pro B caliber required a different blend than what we had. »

2 Unsuitable coach

At the beginning of each season, the press meets the coach and asks him what he expects from each player, why he recruited him, etc. Surprisingly this year, Nicolas Antiques hit the majority of his flock, insisting especially on their mistakes. It was funny to say the least. Obviously, with such a start, mayonnaise did not take.


Nicolas Antiques paid the price for the strict management of Polzac’s workforce.

Michael Fore’s archive

Very quickly, everything became complicated. Marquis Wright, the American captain, was reprimanded in front of the entire Agora during a preparatory match against JSA Purdue. Wright crushed, quickly leaving the Hulk. Defeats followed, the first goal, winning the Pro B Leaders Cup, quickly flew away. “We took a turn and then left, that wasn’t acceptable,” Laurent Ceres admits. He revived the arrival of Nick Moore Polzac. With the new playmaker, BBD had a great finish to 2021 (six wins in seven games). Only, even after a solid success, Antique never got a word of appeasement, insisting on the fragility of the building. “Were the kidnapping victories not traps, which gave us hope? There were signs we should have heard,” Ceres pleads.

Tensions escalated. For example with Nicholas de Jong. In the club’s press release to formalize the hub’s arrival, Antic said he was delighted with the recruit. He later claimed, “He’s not a lifesaver. According to several secrets, the coach did not want the pivot that was offered to him at the start of the season by the recruitment unit. It was finally imposed by the management in November.

The Antic style ended up breaking everything. Ceres draws his limits. “I expect from Alexander [NDLR : Ménard, le successeur d’Antic] To be in real exchange, not to talk to each other, to think that we understand each other and that everyone does what he wants on their part. »

Tired of their coach’s tyrannical style, the players gave up. Going to training became an ordeal. The start of 2022, completely lost, was just a consequence. Until the break, on March 17, two days after the stampede against Saint Quentin.

Should he be fired early? Jacques Uzo, the head of the supervisory board, had received complaints from the executives and deemed it necessary to separate from Antique at the end of the calendar year. Ceres did not follow. In his defense, we must remember the law of the Andrieux case. In 2020-2021, the coach remained until the end. There, why did he fire Antique at Christmas when the club was winning? Even at the beginning of 2022, the team managed to win a game here and there, delaying the decision. “The momentum was never good. Every time there was a victory it made us hold back.”

3 Recruitment is still wobbly

Of course, there is Nick Moore. But the tree, as it were, does not hide the forest. Once again, BBD failed to hire her. “We used the 16 contracts, and that probably indicates that there is discontent with some players,” says Jeremy Sarr, sporting director. Mentally, flaws and weaknesses appeared. The group, with outstanding players, was too weak to resist the ambitions of the start of the season and the coach’s management.

To be in Pro B, you need a strong leader – wing – axle. Polzac did not have it. At number one, Wright was quickly disqualified. BBD was lacking in wing strikes. Chris Ippo-Ndo left without anyone really understanding why, and Evan Gullit was walking around in this situation and interior. And in the feud, Olivier Courtal and Nana Voland often looked like losers.

“There were signs we should hear.”

What about the beginners during the season? Again, it’s almost a public failure, with the exception of Moore. Alex Campbell was cute and important in the dressing room according to the club, but who remembers his performance? After a trial period, he signed the contract before leaving. Strange management. He was replaced by Vytenis Cyzauskas. It immediately seemed that the Lithuanian was too non-physical to really bring up. There was better at the end of the season. Finally, Jamar Wilson has arrived. At the age of 38, he had to bring experience. The problem is that he was injured quickly.

Alex Campbell is one of the rookies of the season.


Alex Campbell is one of the rookies of the season.

Stephen Klein / Southwest

“It’s not easy to join a team during the season,” says Sarri. The problem is that these failed recruitments are regular in Polazac. For years, drafted players haven’t done the job, either at the start or during the season. The list is long. Since the Jeep Elite debut, for the 2017-2018 season, let’s think of Cameron Wells, Edgar Sosa, MJ Rhett, Muhammed Fay, Tyler Larson, Kyle Gibson, Sean Jones, Patrick Miller, Ryan Pearson, Ndodi Ibe, Darnell Jackson, Quincy Diggs, Sean James or Dustin Weir…

Here again, Laurent Serres begins a change of direction. “If the message has to be changed, it will not fall from the sky. We want to preserve its essence if the players have put in their hearts the efforts they made to get out of it. Resigning from the contract just to resign from the contract is not the goal. It will remain to judge the documents next season.

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