AS they prepare for the biggest game of their season so far, the Cheshire Jets may find one of their tallest ever players has a pivotal role to play.
Irishman Jason Killeen has signed for the Jets to bolster their squad and the 6ft 11ins centre is raring to go after a disappointing spell in Malaysia with the Kuala Lumpur Dragons.
Killeen only arrived in Chester last Saturday, 24 hours before the first-leg of the Jets’ BBL Cup semi-final against Sheffield Sharks.
And after just one training session, he was kitted up and ready to chip in with the Jets tough contest against Sheffield Sharks.
He managed seven minutes on-court, carefully managed by Jets head coach Paul Smith, and after a full week of training he is likely to play a larger role in tomorrow’s crucial second leg as the Jets try to overcome a 22-point deficit.
“I’m just going to try to do what the team needs me to do,” he said.
“If they want me to play defence and rebounding I’ll play defence and rebounding.”
Smith said he is confident that with a week of the Jets’ high intensity training, Killeen will be up to speed. But he refused to allow the new recruit to carry the burden of responsibility for the second leg.
“Jason will give us a bit more with a week’s practice but it’s up the guys who have been here a bit longer to perform for us,” said Smith.
Killeen was signed up by KL Dragons for their Asean League squad after playing alongside current Jet Gareth Murray against the Dragons in this summer’s Malaysian NBL final for losing side Perak Farmcochem.
But he was recently released, making him a free agent.
“It was tough, a bitter pill to swallow, but I kind of saw it coming,” said the 25-year-old from Limerick.
But after Murray and Colin O’Reilly, who played alongside Killeen for Ireland, recommended the big man, Paul Smith was soon on the phone to try to sort out a deal.
“I was very excited about the prospect of playing for the Jets,” said Killeen. “To come back and play with Gareth and Colin is exciting.
“It’s much easier knowing two players. It’s always hard to come to a team you don’t know, especially mid-season when they have a chemistry built.
“But already knowing a couple of players makes a huge difference.”