The 2011-12 National League season gets underway this weekend with reigning Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague champions 11890 Killester hosting Belfast Star on Saturday.
Killester have a new man at the helm in the shape of Darren O’Neill, who replaced Mark Keenan in the summer, and he is set to face his old charges, Belfast Star, on Saturday.
O’Neill won’t have the experience of Paddy Kelly, last season’s player of the year, at his disposal to count on after the Dubliner opted to take a year out. Issac Westbrooks and Michael Goj have left for the Dublin Business School and their basketball side Dublin Thunder and John Behan is also taking a year out.
However, he still boasts the likes of Robbie Clarke, Jermaine Turner and Peder Madsen in his ranks.
"I am looking forward to coaching against my former club, who I have a great deal of time for," said O’Neill.
"I have had a pretty good record against Star during my coaching stints with Marian and Queens so hopefully that will continue this weekend.”
Belfast Star’s hopes for honours this season have been boosted by the signing of Tyson Johnson (University of Wyoming). Johnson is a 6'6" Power Forward who averaged 13 points and eight rebounds in his senior year at D1 University of Wyoming. Johnson played for Dortmund in Germany last season.
National Cup champions UCD Marian travel to Dublin rivals DCU Saints on Sunday and UCC Demons host Galway side Moycullen.
Nivea have outlined their support for basketball by confirming they will also partner the Women’s SuperLeague for the coming season.
The opening weekend of the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague sees holders UL welcome Meteors to the UL Arena on Sunday, while National Cup champions DCU Mercy host Waterford Wildcats.
A day earlier, newcomers Liffey Celtics clash with Singleton’s Super Valu Brunell, while fellow top flight debutants Ulster Rockets are set for a tricky assignment away to Killester.
Also on Saturday, a new look Team Montenotte Hotel face a potentially stiff challenge against Oblate Dynamos.