'SINCE I became involved with TCS Chester Jets a few years ago, there is no doubt there has been a big improvement in the standard of basketball in the British League.
The relaxing of the rules to allow clubs to play foreign players has been largely responsible for that. Unfortunately, that has inevitably meant that the English players have been stifled.
But without the Americans we simply couldn't compete. Although having said that, the standard of basketball in the BBL is among the best in Europe.
Jets couldn't play in Europe because we don't have our own court and the costs would be prohibitive at the moment. And to play in Europe, a club has to put a predominantly European team on the court with only two work-permit players allowed.
I have no doubt that given time, English players could get to the standards required in the BBL. But it would almost certainly mean going to college in the USA and progressing through their highly successful system.
There are plenty of coaches in this country who can coach players up to the age of 18, like our own Mike Burton who has been highly successful with school-age players in the area.
After that, though, it requires a huge leap of faith by the individual to make the decision to go for it in the USA. We had a player on our roster at the start of the season, John Simpson, who did just that and returned a talented player. Unfortunately, John chose not to make a career out of the game.
I have no doubt there are some English coaches who have been tempted to try to make a name for themselves in the States. I am not one of them. I plan to spend the next 10 years or so with the Jets, because I am happy here and this is where my family is.
I still have ambitions to become a full-time coach, but I made the decision early in my career that it was too risky to go full-time in my first season.
It was tough at first juggling two jobs, but it is easier now, especially as we have started winning!
We were very disappointed to lose three games early on, but we are now second in the league and, after last night's game between Sheffield Sharks and Milton Keynes Lions, we have two games in hand over the Sharks.
We weren't great at Leicester in the BBL Trophy on Saturday but we played very well to beat Thames Valley Tigers, who had beaten us in Bracknell earlier this season.
We still have some way to go to be a championship-winning team, but I think we will get better after Christmas.
I have decided to allow the players to spend Christmas with their families in the USA and I am confident they will return mentally refreshed and ready to go.'