kataja basket club / juttuja & kuvia / tarinanurkka
< Takaisin

Kataja Basket -lehti 29.3.2011

Jared Newson:

"My experience in Finland"

This is Jared Newson of the Kataja Basket Club. We are here trying to prepare ourselves for the 2011 playoffs and a chance to win this championship. Before I got to Finland I expected cold weather and for it to be me and another American or two to carry most of the load in order to be a competitive team and get some wins. Well, I misjudged a little bit too early.
Once I got to Finland and was able to meet my new teammates and coach, and play some preseason games with them, I instantly got attached to this great group of guys. From day one it was a mission to be the best team we can be and to work for a higher goal everyday, which was to win the championship at the end of the year. It was pretty surprising to me how soon we started to gel and for everyone to put their egos down in order to follow Coach Jukka Toijala’s system.
Everyone on this team could go to a different place in Finland and put up some great numbers, including myself. I’m positive that on a different team I could be top 5 in scoring, rebounding, etc... But with this great group of guys and a GREAT Coach like Toijala it was pretty easy to be able to work as a team instead of trying to be an individual.
Of course people would have their difference of opinion, especially the people who work hard to get players jobs each season, but I feel like if I needed to take more of a load I am totally capable of stepping into that roll, but we have twelve players here who all had to sacrifice also in order to raise that trophy at the end of the year.
I also want to talk about coach Toijala for a second. I’ve been around a lot of coaches of the highest levels and lowest levels and the ways he handles his players and coaching tactics really needs to be applauded. Before I signed here I had a terrible summer playing in the NBA summer league and also had a pretty bad injury to my left ankle. The injury took two and a half weeks for me to be able to start running and even when I got to Finland I couldn’t really jump. Coach Toijala obviously knew what type of player I was and had faith that once this injury gets better I could perform. We went through preseason and we won a lot of games even with me being injured. After preseason I tore my chest muscle lifting weights and we didn’t know how long I would have to sit. Coach Toijala instantly came to me and said he would keep his promise with me and keep me around no matter how long it takes. I probably should have let the injury heal a little longer but when you have a person like that in your corner and truly believe in you, you play through things like that and try to show that same appreciation back by playing hard for that person. On higher teams its not really much loyalty, especially for a new player who just came off an injury and his last showing as a basketball player prior to that team wasn’t too good. I commend coach Toijala for his honesty and the way he handles things as a coach. He is really a unique guy.
All season we have been a pretty consistent team. We lost some games we know we shouldn’t have because we beat ourselves at the end sometimes and we are constantly learning from these things. So far this has been one of my happiest seasons as a basketball player. I’ve gotten the chance to go into games and play a lot again, and with being on the floor a lot it’s easier to perform and show your talent.
We came together and won the Suomen Cup at Topo, which was big for the team and some players on our team. I’m having an decent year stat wise as a player so far some may say. Could I do better? Of course I can, but right now im focused on doing what I came here for and that’s to win a championship.
Overall, Finland has been a blessing for me. With it being so cold up here and snowing a lot, it has helped me to be more focused on basketball and the things that have gotten me this far in my career. Finland is definitely a competitive league and it will continue to get better especially with how the market is going. Better players will continue to come here every year. As far as my team, and me you can expect us to fight harder than ever in the playoffs, cause winning that Suomen Cup left a great taste in our mouths and we want that feeling again. To be continued...

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