Renfrew Rocks’ head coach Johnathan McLeod has dedicated the club’s title success to basketball legend Robert Taft.

McLeod hailed Taft, who died in February, after the Rocks secured the Division 2 crown in the Scottish Basketball Championship.

Taft helped to form the club and also served as a player and coach.

He was widely respected in Scottish basketball, having had spells with Team Glasgow, Falkirk, Clydebank and Cumnock too.

Taft also helped to coach Scotland’s Junior Men and Senior Men teams, alongside close friend Tom Campbell.

And, during his 10-year stint as a coach at St Mirren, he delivered their first Under-18 Scottish title and was named Scottish Basketball Coach of the Year

McLeod believes the success enjoyed by the undefeated Rocks this season is a fitting tribute to Taft.

He told Gazette Sport: “For me, as a young head coach, it is an honour to guide the club to its first National League title, building on the strong foundations set by the late, great Bob Taft.

“Without him, a lot of us are not here celebrating this now.

“Losing Bob during the season was tough for everyone at the club. He had such a big impact on many of the boys.

“He was a friend and a leader and really provided the foundation for the club’s success. The guys all decided to dedicate the season, the league title, to him.”

McLeod also heaped praise on his players.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride,” he said. “Most of us were new to each other, myself included.

“We had a handful of guys who had played alongside each other before but this was my first year working with almost everyone on the team.”

The Rocks secured the title with a 78-58 victory over the North Lanarkshire Chiefs in front of a crowd of more than 100 people at the Lagoon Arena, in Paisley.

McLeod believes the home town audience played a huge part on the night and is optimistic about what the future holds for his players after they also reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

He added: “It was fantastic to close the season out in front of such a big crowd and show that we, as a club, and Scottish basketball in general can garner big spectator numbers.

“I definitely think the crowd cheering us on and celebrating every basket with the guys made a difference.

“It has been a long season and, sometimes, you just need that extra energy to help push you over the line through the tougher spells in the game.

“I am proud of the guys. We have proved that we belong at the top level. Competing with some of the top Scottish clubs in our first year together is a clear sign for the future.

“This is just the start for Renfrew Rocks and I look forward to continuing our successful relationship together in the future.”