Life's good for Cairns Taipan Alex Loughton
IN November, there will be a new Loughton and Alex can officially call himself a local.
Not that he doesn’t already, but having a child in the Far North is certainly a sure way to proper validation.
The little one on the way will join wife Michelle, daughter Georgia (4) and son Liam (2) as their dad begins a crucial season with the Taipans.
"I certainly fell like I’m a local," Loughton said this week.
"Having a little one born in Cairns is going to be great."
Since graduating as a college standout from Old Dominion University in Virginia, the 29-year-old has played two years in Spain, two years for the Perth Wildcats and is now in his third with the Taipans.
"I’m happy to be here and I’ll stay here as long as possible," he said.
His third child will not be the only new beginning for Loughton, considering his frustrating run of injuries since moving to the Far North.
Osteitis pubis plagued his first season and last year’s finals dreams were not helped when his achilles played up and he missed the final two games.
"I was putting out fires all season. I was plugging one leak and another one would spring up somewhere else," he said, motioning with his fingers.
"But I’m in a good way right now; I’m feeling fit and I’ve lost lots of body fat to try and avoid injury and inflammation."
In fact, Loughton will play about 3kg lighter this season, thanks to fitness guru Scott Callaghan’s work in the off season.
"He looked right into it and we’ve been doing a lot of kettle bell stuff, Olympic lifts and dynamic things to replicate all the banging and moving we do on court," Loughton said.
"It has been a frustrating time, because although I’ve usually been able to play injured, I haven’t been able to give as much as I wanted."
That should change this year.
A fit Loughton will have some new and able front-court partners to help him out and some more familiar guys pulling the strings at the back.
"This will be a great season for us," Loughton said with confidence.
"Having our floor generals Jamar Wilson and Kerry Williams returning is big and with Cameron Tragardh and Shane Edwards we’ve got two confident point contributors."
But points scoring, Loughton warned, would not be the issue.
"Defence is where we’ll have to buy in. Defence will be our culture again and the new boys are slowly starting to realise that," he said.
"That means it may take a while for us to peak, but that’s what we want."
The word defence in Cairns has been synonymous with Ian Crosswhite.
He is the big omission this season, having headed home to the Sydney Kings.
But Loughton was non-plussed about his departure.
"I’ve got no problems with Crossy, but every team has their moody players that can bring the energy down," Loughton said.
"With or without him, we have our sights set on big things and we just had to move on."
And they will move on with a selfless attitude, according to the forward.
"I’m not saying there are any egos here, but they have to be left at the door. We have seven guys who could potentially start, but they can’t worry about that, we need to do whatever is needed to win games of basketball.
"The team’s good, my family’s good and the body’s good. We’re ready for championship success."
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Back to best: A leaner, fitter Alex Loughton is predicting a big season for the Taipans.