Drew Sullivan knows that Leicester will learn from their BBL Play-off final defeat, and says the club is ahead of schedule in its development.
The Riders enjoyed the best league campaign in their 25 years in the BBL, winning 22 of 30 games to finish second in the table, behind Newcastle, who won a clean sweep of trophies this year.
It represented a marked improvement from last season’s 8th place finish, and also their fourth successive appearance in the play-offs, but they were unable to pick up the last piece of silverware in Birmingham on Saturday.
Sullivan, who enjoyed play-off final success with Mersey Tigers last season and also won it twice with Newcastle, was upbeat about the club’s future despite the defeat.
He said: “We came here on form, we felt we had a really good chance of winning, but you’ve got to give Newcastle credit, they had a bit too much for us.
“To be honest, we’re ahead of schedule. I talked to the GM about where he’d like to be, and he never thought we’d be here.
“Of course, this is why he puts the team on the court every year, but for it to happen so quickly is just a testament to the hard work Russ (Levenston) and Rob (Paternostro) have put in.
“We’ve got to learn from it. The Eagles haven’t been winning everything since time began, they only really started in 2004. They slowly built their franchise up, and that’s what Leicester are trying to do, and they want to do it properly.”
Sullivan, set to captain Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, top-scored for the Riders with 18 points, but completes a BBL season trophyless for the first time since his maiden season with London Towers in 1995/96.
His first BBL silverware came in the 2004/05 play-offs, and he has since picked up another two play-off winners medals, together with three BBL Championships, one BBL Cup and three BBL Trophy successes.