Star American basketball import returns for Rockets
CHEHALES Tapscott has returned to back-to-back Queensland Basketball League champions, the McDonald's Rockhampton Rockets.
The American power forward was integral to their second QBL championship last season, and spent the off-season playing 52 games for Nara Bambitious in the Japan-BJ League.
Tapscott shone in 2014 and became the club's first MVP leading the QBL scoring with an average 13 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Despite the opportunity to earn more cash in Europe, Tapscott said his fondness for Rockhampton, the club and its fans was the big drawcard.
"I love playing in front of a home crowd at Hegvold and I really like Rockhampton and the people who live here," Tapscott said.
It's a long way from Boston, where Tapscott was drafted to the NBA Development League's, the Maine Red Claws.
But the 24-year-old is already up to speed on what awaits him in his second season with the Rockets.
"I know it's a great team with a great fan-base that has won two championships in a row," Tapscott said.
"I think we can make it another one and repeat. I'm excited to be back here and get started."
In the meantime, Tapscott's self-assessment of his existing strengths gives Rockets fans plenty of hope for another dream season in 2015.
"I am willing to do anything... I love to win," Tapscott said.
"I love dunking and getting the crowd involved."
Rockets coach Neal Tweedy was glowing in his praise for Rockhampton's returning star and said Tapscott was every inch a team man.
"Chehales makes it easy for everyone. He is so humble, a real team guy. He loves a laugh and being with the boys," Tweedy said.
"He was the most dominant player in the league last year; it was good that we could keep him."
Heading into Friday night's first leg of the Rockets opening triple-header against Cairns, Gold Coast and Logan, Tweedy was riddled with doubt.
"It's a tough road trip for us first up without having played a game together as a team," he said.
"It's going to be hard especially if we aren't playing well, we'll have to try and adjust to changes.
"We already know defensively we need to get better but hopefully we can sneak some wins this weekend."
QBL ROUND 2
ROCKETS: Jared Blanchard, Dominic Cheek, Michael Kingma, Brodie Munson, Peni Nasalo, Mitch Philp (c), Chehales Tapscott, Rhys Taylor, Brent Wallace, Brad Williamson