Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The night before the game

Many may ask, what do you do the night before a game. For me it's pretty simple, eat, watch television and then sleep. Tonight it was a little bit different.

We have had some trouble in my neighborhood with people opening mail, stealing credit cards (Benny Knight's) and leaving mail in different places. Tonight I found him. The thrill of the chase was on. Knighty (who is living with me) and I followed this suspicious guy on foot, creeping up our dark street and watching his every move. He was walking a lot faster than usual after he noticed us following his trail. He skipped a few houses and swooped around the corner. We crept up to the corner and noticed he was writing something down on his piece of paper. He then waltzed back around the corner as if nothing had happened only to be confronted by us. He was delivering catalogues supposedly but didn't manage to have any in his hand. He refused to answer the questions that we had asked and moved down the street quickly. Our next door neighbor came out and told us that she was going out to her car when she saw him fiddling in her letterbox and moved immediately when she opened the door. I decided to place a call to my cop mate to see if she could get someone out to the house, unfortunately something else had arisen and was a slightly bigger matter. So Knighty and I jumped in the car a in search of our letterbox thief and rolled around the streets like Starsky and Hutch. Unfortunately we couldn't find him again but our blood was pumping from the chase. Hopefully the same adrenaline will be pumping tomorrow night at the cage.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

College or Home Cooking

A lot of parents and young players come up and ask me what's better, going to college or staying in Australia. Honestly everyone is different. Joe Ingles and Brad Newley have proven that you don't have to go college to be successful, while Andrew Bogut and Pat Mills have undoubtedly proved there success from going to college. 

Personally I wouldn't have changed my four years in college for anything. One thing the college system does provide is an education and the time that you are away from your family you are forced to grow up and be a man. If you find the right coach he will always challenge you and get you ready for the NBA, NBL or Europe. However if you don't find the right coach your game can go backwards. 

I find a lot of kids think that Division 1 is everything. WRONG. Fact is there are great division 2 schools and those programs are capable of destroying lower to mid division 1 schools. Look at the NBL now that is infested with Division 2 players. Luke Kendall, Bo Westover, Cameron Tovey, Russell Hinder, Jesse Wagstaff, Drew Williamson and myself to name a few. 

At the end of the day parents have to be comfortable to place the trust of their son or daughters life into the hands of a coach overseas. It's also up to the individual not to stray off the right path. If you always remember why you went to college in the first place (to become a better basketballer) you will always come out a) a better hooper b) a better person c) with an education behind you. If schooling is not for you then you have to work your way up the ranks to become the best you can in Australia. 

At the end of the day there is no right or wrong answer. I encourage young hoopers to keep working hard on there game and follow whatever path best suits you. Either way it has proven to be successful.

Until next time have a beer for me

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don't Sleep on Sam

A lot of question marks hover over the Melbourne Tigers going into the 2009/10 season. One of the biggest questions is the health of Sammy Mac. Let me be the first to tell you that Sam has been our best player this preseason and looks to return to his MVP best that he displayed only 3 seasons ago. Many who watch Sam play knows he make things look easy what people don't realize is how deadly he becomes when he has a chip on his shoulder.

Things to look for from Sam in 09/10:

1) Slamming Sam is back. Look for Sammy to dunk in traffic and on people again.

2) Defense up the court. Sam was devastating at the Bullets with his up the court pressure and he looks to be an instigator for stops.

3) Ahead of the pack. Sam playing the 3 spot lets him get out in transition. If he gets the kick ahead pass and has someone one on one he won't be stopped.

4) Rebounding. With Knighty, DJ and I busy keeping opposition bigs off the board look for Mac to swoop on the boards with his abnormal athleticism. 

He's healthy, he is one of Australia's best and he's back. Opposition beware because captain grumpy has a chip on his shoulder.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Q & A with Ben Knight

I thought I would break the trend by interviewing the Tigers newest recruit Ben Knight. "Swooper" has been around the block and seen a lot of things so I thought I would ask him a quick 5 questions. Hopefully I'll get a few players to take apart of this throughout the year. 

MW: Welcome back to Melbourne "Swooper". You've played for nine teams now, which team has been your favorite and why?

BK: Sydney Kings, after traveling around the country side it was good to be home and win a championship in front of my friends and family. 

MW: Who is the best player you have played with?

BK: (Thinking) Tough one but Darnell Mee. Great leader and knew how to distribute the ball to the right spots and played defense so you knew he would put your team into position to win. At the end of the day he was a great competitor.

MW: Biggest changes you've seen since you've been in the NBL? 

BK: The non existent teams. I've played for the Kings, Magic, Bullets, Slingers who aren't around anymore. The talent that Australia keeps producing. Kids come in and are ready to play which is great for the league.

MW: Looking to the season ahead what are your expectations?

BK: Looking to lock up first place is the first step. Then onto a championship. The group of guys that we have will make it fun to do the grind with everyday to accomplish these goals. On a personal note I was a bit quite last year in adopting the role I took up. I look forward to stepping up this year and showing my value.
MW: Out of the existing clubs that you played for that are still going around, who would you like to beat most. (Wollongong, Townsville, Cairns, Perth)

BK: Wildcats, they didn't come to the party. 

Hopefully you guys enjoyed
Until next time have a beer for me 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Townsville All Time

Townsville crocodiles who were formerly the Townsville Suns made there debut back in 1993 but are still starved of there first NBL Championship even though being contenders for well over a decade. Featuring many star studded players that have graced the swamps court and dazzled "croc nation" over the years this starting 6 will always attract debate.

So here is my top 6

Point Guard: Derek Rucker

D Ruck made a living in Townsville like he did everywhere else in the league by scoring. He played 108 games for the crocs and is 2nd all time in scoring (2,980), assists (835) and steals (280). He averaged 30.3 points and 8.3 assists a game back in 1995 and had a high of 51 points in 1998. He was also a three time Kevin Sugars Medal winner (Club MVP).

Shooting Guard: Brad Newley

Not an easy choice but I'm going with Newley because he could score any way he wanted too. This athletic swing man was something that a young Australian hadn't possessed since a young Sammy Mac. His ability to rise above crowds and maneuver his way thru traffic to light up scoreboards. His career high was 46 back in 2006 and was eventually drafted in the 2nd round by the Houston Rockets.

Small Forward: Rob Rose (c)

This was the only certainty in this group as the mayor of Townsville was a lock. He is Townsville's all time leader in games (258), points (4,406), assists (1266), blocks (128), steals (364) and rebounds (1,600). He was MVP and All NBL First team in 2001 and renowned for getting the umpires whistle for kicking out his leg on the three point shot. Either way he was he was still "Big Shot Rob" and devastated teams with numerous game winning shots. He was also a four time Kevin Sugars Medal winner

Power Forward: Pat Reidy

Townsville's favorite wranga slots into the power forward and for good reason. 3rd All time in rebounds, fourth in games played and points and fifth in assists. A two time Kevin Sugars medal winner, Pat who is made out of the same mould as Tony Ronaldson always seemed to get the job done.

Center: Clarence Tyson

This 6'10 thick center knew how to rebound and had a solid back to the basket game. Averaging 14.7 rebounds in 1995 with a career best of 25 he terrorized teams on the boards. He was All NBL first team in 1997 and the 1996 Kevin Sugars Medal winner.

6th Man: John Rillie

Without looking at stats the last captain of the crocs gets the nod for 6th man. The sharp shooter and underrated rebounder who loves the game more than anyone in this world showed everyone with one of his potential last performances that he can still shooting it with 10 three pointers against the Wildcats. He won 3 Kevin Sugars Medals and a great blogger.

Honorable mentions: Ray Owes, Ricky Jones and Andrew Goodwin

Until next time when I feature the Gold Coast Blaze
Have a beer for me

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cairns All Time

The Taipans are entering into there 11th season in the league. Even though I can't find career stats on them I have a firm idea of who my greatest 6 are. Cairns head coaching position started with Rod Popovich followed by Guy Molloy, Alan Black, Mark Beecroft and now Aaron Fearne. Even though they struggled in the early years they gradually got better with a semi final appearance against the Kings in 2006. 

Anyways here is my top 6

Point Guard: Aaron Trahair

Azza showed glimpses of his best while he was at Cairns with multiple 40 point games back in 2005. His effortless jump shot and his crafty moves that he possessed with the junior national team resurfaced and lead the team the Taipans to best season at the time.

Shooting Guard: Anthony Stewart

Mister Potato Head captained the Taipans after coming over from the Perth Wildacts. He quickly became the number 1 man in Cairns and was the first guy to sell his body for advertising when he donned the Parkridge airbrush tattoo while playing. His long bombs became a usual trait at the Cairns convention center and his passion always fired up the crowd. 

Small Forward: Martin Cattalini

Cat returned from Europe and signed with the Taipans and also became the captain. He had a great season back in 2007 when he was All NBL First team and had a 50 point game against the Brisbane Bullets. He played every possession like it was his last and the Cairns crowd loved it. An absolute scoring machine with a deadly three point and one dribble pull up jumper mastered over the years he is still one of the most dangerous players in the league to date.

Power Forward: Ben Knight

The big swooper has been a journey man around the league but really found his niche in Cairns. Coming in after Cairns had a 2 win season Benny showed his hustle and hard work which warranted extended time on the court that he previously didn't get. He gave Cairns toughness that they previously lacked and is the ultimate teammate that everyone loves playing with.

Center: Nathan Jawai

Showed everyone that he was more than hype when he came into the league and dunked on everyone. He was NBL rookie of the year and MVP of the All Star game. The NBL hadn't seen much of a person of his height, speed and power and probably more remember for his alley oops that he threw down off a Stephen Black pass. His last season was good enough to get him a gig in the NBA.

6th Man: Aaron Grabau

Hard to leave out the guy how has been there every year and is the only Taipans player to have his jersey retired. Known as one of the best defenders in the league and can knock down the open three if left open. Again one of the great guys in the NBL and I'm sure the Taipans are proud to have someone of his magnitude representing there organization. 

Honorable Mentions: Stephen Black, Darnell Mee, Chris Burgess

Until next time when we look at Townsville
Have a beer for me

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To my readers

I've been away for a few days but I will have the Taipans team up soon. I appreciate all the comments I'm getting as well. Cheers guys. I will answer all your questions as soon as I get a chance. I'm glad your enjoying the site and I'm enjoying writing and learning about the history of this great league. Please keep visiting and tell all your basketball mates about the site. Thanks again.

Until next time 
Have a beer for me

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breakers All Time

Even though the New Zealand Breakers are still young only coming alive in 2003 it has been a hard decision who to put in this 6. Last year saw them have the most success that the club has had but look to go better this season. The Breakers have only seen three coaches at the helm. Jeff Green who was let go after 12 games. He was succeeded by Frank Arsego until the start of the 05-06 season when Andrej Lemanis took over the black and carolina blue. 

Without further or do I present my top 6......

Point Guard: CJ Bruton

Cj just completed his first year with the Breakers. A multi championship winner at Sydney and Brisbane was nabbed by the kiwi's to bring leadership and help Kirk Penney and the New Zealand offense flow. He undoubtedly did that and capped it off by getting Kirk the MVP while also being named All First Team. Will he bring them a championship next? Time will tell.

Shooting Guard: Kirk Penney (c)

As previously stated Kirk was MVP of the league last year and proved to be an absolute scoring machine all season long. He messed with defenders by draining the contested three time and time again or splitting double teams and getting to the rack. He is a 2 time All First Team Member and a dual Olympian with the Tall Blacks. His goal though is to take a championship out of Australia.

Small Forward: Aaron Olson

Aaron played 130 games for New Zealand and is there all time scoring leader at the club. He has hit the most three's at the club as well and is second in games, steals and assists. He was a great scorer and created a lot of his own shots. Became a niggling defender at the end of his career. He recorded a career high of 40 points against Townsville. Unfortunately he left the game during his peak due to a lack of interest in the sport.

Power Forward: Carlos Powell

Another Breakers player another scoring machine. Carlos was one of the toughest guys I've played on in this league. He lead the league in scoring back in 2007 averaging 28.2 points a game. He was also named in the All First Team that year. 

Center: Ben Pepper

Ben has always been a no fuss, hard working big man. Pep is New Zealand's all time leader in block shots and rebounds while being second in scoring in his 96 games as a Breaker. Pep had a 20 rebound game in 06 and a 19 rebound game in 04. A great bloke with a line drive for a hook shot was definitely a force to reckoned with in the paint.

6 Man: Tony Ronaldson

The bear was looking like he was coming to the end of his career after leaving Perth. Down on confidence he found a new home with scorers that love to use him to get them open and personally finding his own touch again. The all time games record holder doesn't look like slowing down and with a healthy Ronaldson on the court helps the Breakers team fire.

Honorable Mentions: Pauli Henare, Mike Chappell, Phil Jones

Until next time when I feature the Cairns Taipans
Have a beer for me

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tigers All Time

The Melbourne Tigers is one of the most successful clubs in the NBL alongside Perth and Adelaide with 4 championships. They have been around the for 25 years and have a rich heritage that spans 16 finals appearance and 8 GF appearances.

After many successful years spent in the Gaze era that saw Lindsay Gaze coach his son Andrew Gaze they were eventually replaced by long time assistant Al Westover and the return of Chris Anstey. Without further or do the Tigers greatest 6.

Point Guard: Darryl McDonald

Even though D-Mac came to the Tigers at the end of his 14 seasons as a professional he was a genetic freak that retired at the age of 44. Playing against him first hand he was the master of changing speed, feeding the open man and getting a deflection on any pass in his area. 

Shooting Guard: Andrew Gaze (c)

Do I really have to explain this one? Rookie of the year in 1984, 7 time MVP, 15 time All First Team. Played 612 games and amassed a whopping 18,908 points which is undoubtedly a record that will never be broken. He averaged 44.1 points a game in 1987 and had a individual high of 60 points in a single game. He recorded 4 triple doubles in his career his best a 44 pt, 12 ass and 12 reb game against Sydney in 1986. Out of all of his accomplishments I would say that his 2 NBL Championships and his 5 Olympic appearances would of been his highlights. Either way he will go down in history as one of the greatest.

Small Forward: Lanard Copeland

Lanard played 448 games for the Tigers and accumulated 9,843 points. Remembered for being on the other end of the half court alley oops from Andrew Gaze and able to walk the walk after talking the talk his number 21 was retired in front of the Tigers faithful. Copes is second all time in games, points, assists and steals. He is also third in block shots and 5th in rebounds. He played bigger than his frame should of allowed him to and was a true entertainer, he was also the 1997 GF MVP.

Power Forward: Chris Anstey

Putting Anstey in the power forward roll allows him to shoot the three in this team. He is a three time NBL Championship winner, 2 time MVP winner (2006, 2008), a 4 time All First Team member and the 2008 NBL Best Defensive Player. He is currently the best big man in the competition with his ability to dominate inside, rebound over everyone and dishearten teams with his deadly touch all over the half court. To top it off he has represented our country twice at the Olympics.

Center: Mark Bradtke

This mountain of a man played 375 games for the Tigers and was the enforcer in the Gaze era. His ability to score and rebound also made him the 2002 MVP. Hogey is a three time NBL championship winner, two with the Tigers. He is also a 4 time Olympian and is the Tigers all time leader in blocks and rebounds. Overall even though his presence was intimidating on the court this gentle giant is a great guy off the court.

6th Man: David Simmons

Dave played 240 games for the Tigers and was almost the fourth Beatle surrounded by Gaze, Copeland and Bradtke. He netted 4,266 points in his career and sits second all time at the Tigers in blocks, third in steals and rebounds and fourth in points. 

Honorable Mentions: Dave Thomas, Marcus Timmons and Brian Goorjian

Until next time when we I feature the New Zealand Breakers
Have a beer for me

Wollongong All Time

They started way back in 1979 in a place called the snake pit as the Illawara Hawks. Fast track 30 years later and they play at the sandpit as the Wollongong Hawks. The Hawks epitomises the Australian blue collar working class team. They have made the finals 14 times and won a championship in 2001.

Four coaches that have had multiple years at the club are Dave Lindstrom(7 years), Alan Black(3), Eric Cooks (2) and Brendon "Choc" Joyce(12). Choc being the first and only coach to win a championship with the franchise. Anyways here are my top 6

Point Guard: Gordie McLeod

Gordie(Current Hawks coach) was the general and captain of the Hawks for 8 years. The 215 gamer is second all time at the hawks in assists and third all time in steals. In 1985 he averaged 10.2 assists a game. He also represented Australia in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He also racked up 18 assists in a single game twice.

Shooting Guard: Mike Jones

Mike Jones was the 1981 NBL MVP in which he averaged 30.5 points a game. In 1983 he averaged 32.7 points a game.  He had a career high 46 points in 1983.

Small Forward: Glen Saville (c)

Sav pretty much leads the hawks in every single major category there is. Points, Assists, Rebounds, Steals and Block shots. His hawks career that expanded over 395 games has been topped off with the GF MVP after there win in 2001. He's a two time Olympian, musician and one of Wollongong's favorite sons.

Power Forward: Melvin Thomas

This smooth moving lefty that made basketball look effortless was All NBL First Team in 1993. He played 235 games at the hawks and is sitting second all time in steals, blocks and rebounds, third all time in points and fourth all time in assists. He dragged down 21 rebounds in a single game and has recorded 7 blocks in a single game twice.

Center: Norman Taylor

Norman was a three time club MVP. Back in 1989 he averaged 29.9 points a game and 11.7 rebounds a game for the season. He had 54 points, the most points ever by a hawks player in a single game. He also had a 49 point game as well.

6th Man: Doug Overton

Doug Overton was drafted 40th in the 1991 NBA Draft. He soon after came to Australia where he was All NBL First Team in 1992. He went on to play 499 games over 11 seasons in the NBA after his success in Australia.

Honorable mention: Mat Campbell, Chuck Harmison and Damon Lowery (Clutch, Clutch FT's)
Tune in next time when I feature the Melbourne Tigers
Until next time
Have a beer for me 

Adelaide All Time

I decided to do the Adelaide 36ers second in my All time team selection in remembrance of the "Doomsday Double Road Trip" (Perth one night Adelaide the next). The city of churches has had a lot of success and seen great players represent the blue, red and yellow and wasn't the easiest to decided my top 6. 

They were even represented by some great coaches. Phil Smyth brought the 36ers three championships, Mike Dunlap started a decorated coaching career in Adelaide and Ken Cole gave the franchise there first ever championship. Without further or do here is my top 6.
Point Guard: Brett Maher (c)

Captain from 1997 til 2009 Brett became Adelaide's favorite son. Possessing a sweet shot and continually knocking down long range trey's especially in clutch times Mahersy skippered his team to three championships. He was All NBL First Team in 2000 and 2003, GF MVP in 1999 and 2003 and a 3 time Olympian. Last year the court at Adelaide was renamed to the Brett Maher court. You have your own court, your all time. Simply Mahervellous. 

Shooting Guard: Darryl Pearce

This 258 gamer is third all time on the 36ers scoring list with 4,863 points. He is second only to Brett Maher for three points made and assists and 5th all time in steals. He had 48 points in a single game connecting on 11 3pts. He also managed 15 assists in a single game. Inducted into the NBL Hall of Fame in 2002 and represented Australia at the 1988 Olympics.

Small Forward: Al Green  

Al was All NBL First Team in 1995 after coming to the sixers after the death of the West Adelaide Bearcats. Known for his potent scoring, Al averaged 31 points a game in the 1985 season. He was also a thief in the night, recording 595 steals in 164 games. He recorded 2 triple doubles. 33, 10 and 10 against Hobart and 23, 10 and 10 against Canberra. 

Power Forward: Dan Clausen

Back in 1984 there was a man lighting up Apollo Stadium. He only managed to play a single season in the NBL having to cut his career short due to bad knees. This 201cm, University of North Dakota Hall of Famer was quite simply unstoppable. He averaged 30.5 points, 18 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a game. He manged to pull down 31 rebounds in a single game but somehow couldn't win MVP off Leroy Loggins that year. We was All NBL First Team however and would of been someone I would of loved to watch.

Center: Mark Davis    

The chairman of the boards was one of the most physically intimidating figures in the league. In his 481 games he was the 1987 MVP, 1986 GF MVP and All NBL First Team in 1987-89 and 1991. He is Adelaides all time points, rebounds and block shots leader, second all time in games and steals and third all time in assists. He amassed a whooping 8,752 points and 5,200 rebounds in his 16 seasons which averages 18.2 points and 10.8 rebounds a game. He also managed to get 46 points in a single game. The man was awesome.

 6th Man: Kevin Brooks

"KB" will be remember for his silky smoothness, knee high socks and NBA swagger he brought to the NBL. Combining with Nuggets teammate Darnell Mee "KB" came to Australia with a bang. He was GF MVP in 1998 and continued his great form to be All NBL First Team in 1999. Still involved in basketball in Australia, he gave sixer fans many great memories and championships.

Honorable mentions: Reg Biddings, Mike McKay, Butch Hayes and Darnell Mee

Tune in next time when I feature the Wollongong Hawks
Til next time
Have a beer for me

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perth All Time

Noticed that Chris Webber was going through every NBA team and choosing each teams Best 5 in every position and a 6 man off the bench.

Growing up in Western Australia I use to love driving the two hours up to the Perth Entertainment Centre to see the Wildcats play. So I'm starting with Perth and who I believe is there all time best 6.

Point Guard: Ricky Grace

Hands down Perth's greatest point guard. Had an amazing ability to keep going to the well and the well being that running left hand baby hook down the lane. 
Helped Perth to win there first championship by being named GF MVP in 1990. Was also GF MVP in 1993 in a losing effort against the Melbourne Tigers. He was a 4 time All NBL First Team member and always lived up to his nickname "Amazing".      


Shooting Guard: Todd Licthi

If you never got to see Todd Licthi play you missed one of the most talented guys to come to the NBL. He didn't win any awards, he didn't speak a whole lot but he was skilled and the total team player that the Wildcats needed. Whether it was shooting with his opposite hand to grabbing big rebounds and setting teammates up he was one the smoothest players ever to put on the Wildcats uniform. He was one of my favorite players ever.

Small Forward: Andrew Vlahov (c)

Arguably the toughest guy ever to play in the NBL. Captained the Wildcats from 1993 - 2002. Played 347 NBL games. 1991 ROY, 1995 GF MVP, All NBL First Team Member 1992 and 1995 and to top it off a 4 time Olympian. Basically the guy got the job done and was the heart and soul that the Wildcat fans embraced for many years. 

Power Forward: Scott Fisher

"The Fish" came to the Perth Wildcats after stellar career at the North Melbourne Giants. Playing 417 NBL games the fish won 3 championships in 1995, 1999/2000. Known for his trademark baseline jumper that rarely missed and his penguin chest slides after the games, the fish became a cult hero for the wildcat fans as a player and later as a coach. He was one of the true characters of the game.

Centre: Paul Rogers

This was a hard one. Do you go with the Alabama Slama or his successor in Paul Rogers. I went with Rogey because the dude was an MVP. Conversation over. Came to Perth in 1999 and left in 2002 only to return in 2006 to current. He was MVP in 2000 and was All First Team member in 2000 and 2002. Known as one of the all time good guys and the baseline bandit, he really was the stability in the middle after Crawford. 

6th Man: Shawn Redhage

One man's trash is another man's treasure. After being thrown on the trash heap by the NZ Breakers the man known as the scoring machine went to Perth with a point to prove and wore his heart on his sleeve.  Being named captain for this up coming season this Olympian will be looking to take Perth to the Championship that Jack Bendat craves.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Ellis, Cal Bruton, James Crawford

That wraps up Perth. Next blog we will focus on the Adelaide 36'ers. 

Til next time
Have a beer for me

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kings and Dragons

With the use of my own blog I can openly talk about my last two teams that have vanished from our league. It's also a chance to communicate with fans on what has really happened over the last two years with the Kings and Dragons. 

Sydney Kings: I came into the Sydney Kings at the end of the three championship reign when they were owned by Mac Bank. It was professional and even though the success didn't relate to butts in seats it was organised and paid on time. As time went on we received a new owner in the form of Tim Johnson (Firepower). This scum piece of shit ruined lives. He threw out a lot of money and made the illusion that he was better than the monopoly guy. We all found out that he was like the monopoly guy and had fake money like him too. Lives ruined or put in financial jeopardy included, Rusty Hinder, Jason Smith, BJ Carter, Jerome Beasley, Glen Saville just to name a few. He treated our team and at that time possibly Australia's best known basketball franchise like a puppet and put it into the ground. And for what? A little media attention? Maybe to place a bigger bulls eye on his back than the one the Russian marfia has on him? That's right. The dude is wanted dead in Russia as well. He fucked over them as well as us in Australia. (Rabbitoh's, Western Force and Kings) oh wait thats only sporting franchises. Also failed to mention he fucked over our government and a lot of other people willing to invest into Firepower on the stock market. The facts are he pulled a lot of wool over a lot of peoples eye's. 

The thing was that year the team went 27-3 regular season and god knows why we didn't turn up to practice cause we never got paid on time, never got paid super at all while he was the owner,  and we were constantly worried that it was the last pay check. The writing was on the wall before the mid way mark of the season. We all knew. Some of us didn't want to admit that the club was screwed. Kings fans and ex players will never forgive Tim Johnson the scum of the earth.

South Dragons. The Dragons were never ever in financial trouble. Lets get one thing totally clear. The owners were fantastic for the one season I was there and we had a great year, obviously. The vision of the two owners are on a much larger scale to the current scale and model that the NBL is currently in. Whose fault? Hard to tell, and so much talk between owners and BA that it's hard to know what to believe. I'm glad that Larry Senstock has come in and showed his passion to keep basketball alive and start a slow and gradual build to the success that the NBL once had. Nobody should judge him after this year alone, he definitely needs his grace period to show everyone what direction he wants to take this league. His vision however didn't comply with the Dragons owners vision. I hope that one day that they come back but until then we will all see what direction the league goes in. I'll conclude with the sympathy towards both teams fans. I'm truly sorry you have lost your clubs but I sincerely hope that BA does everything in there power to bring back these two clubs sooner rather than later.

Til next time
Have a beer for me

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Expectations of NBL 2009

Less teams, less time, new faces in new places. Just a day away from the preseason tournament in Darwin and to kick off a new NBL season that has been through the spin cycle this off season. As usual there was the casualties from this off season and a few legends of our game have left us. Some to retirement, some to a YAP rule, some where just given the ass but all deserve recognition to there outstanding contribution to basketball in this country. 

I will start with Jason Smith, a great friend and a real inspiration to kids who don't quite have the talent but are willing to work hard. He will be the first to tell you that he has made a handsome career out of defense and hitting his shots. Maybe the worst ball handler the league has seen (that's right smithy) but has rose to the top of the NBL through sheer determination.

John (JR) Rillie. The best pure shooter the NBL has ever seen. If it is the last we have seen of JR I don't think anyone will forget in a hurry that 3 point shooting display that dismantled the Wildcats single handedly. He also could talk with the best of them as well, as I found out early in my career but you have to love the passion and commitment to basketball this self pro claimed basketball junky has provided us for many years.

Shane (Hammer) Heal. Hammer was and still is the best competitor I've come across. Results haven't favored him in the last 2 years but don't let that fool you. The man has a drive and look of intensity that I love. His voice and swagger announces immediately his leadership and drive and is the best point guard this country has had. (No disrespect to CJ at all here). 

Brett Maher. The quiet guy that always managed to get the job done. I remember in my younger days when he first debuted for Adelaide when Dunlap was at the helm and I was amazed at this young kid with a sling shot that didn't miss. When he retired his shot was still as deadly and you know that your a great when the club renames the court in your name. 

Last but not least, one of my favorites Brad (Rat Boy) Davidson. Rat is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet off court and definitely one of the feistiest guys on court. His ability to take it to the biggest guy on the court and constant biting of the heels of opposing point guards will be missed. Another victim of the YAP rule unfortunately.

We also had guys leave our comp for gig's in Europe. Knight, Barlow, Loughton, Khazzouh, Rush and Ingles that I can think of, will all be missed. There is no doubt about the amount of talent in that pool alone and hopefully for the NBL sake they will one day come back and apply there trade here again.

So, to the season ahead, there are 8 teams and 4 final spots to fill. Which teams are the real deal? It's too early to predict but here's what I like about each club.

Perth: Defence, Defence, Defence is what Bevo will be preaching. When you spear head that with the two point guards you can't go wrong. Damien Martin and Brad Robbins are undoubtably two of the toughest nuggets going around. Damo knows exactly what Bev likes and Bevo likes having Damo running his team. Redhage will be at his usual scoring best (The man's hard to guard) and add the scoring power of Cattalini next to him and you have two guys that can go. Lisch is the unknown import at the moment and word is that they are bringing in the big Schensher as well to back up Paul Rogers. With all that said nobody should sleep on Wagstaff and Weigh. Look for those two to give impact at unexpected times.

Blaze: Got out there brooms and swept out majority of last years team ala South Dragons (RIP) from a year ago. Talk of South Dragons they picked up two of them, Gibbo and Mika gives the Blaze automatic toughness. Gibbo has become the premiere point guard with CJ Bruton in the NBL and Vukona has obviously work on his jumper this off season as the boomers found out to add to his work horse effort on defense and the boards. James Harvey looks to be the beneficiary of this with Pero and Mika setting picks for him and Gibbo delivering. Ayinde Ubaka and Michael Joiner are the two imports and have hard man Petrie to bring the toughness and skill set that he showed last year in the gong.

Breakers: Hoping to go better on there franchise best season last year. MVP Kirk Penney is back alongside his cast of mates CJ, Oscar Forman, Rick Rickett and NBL legend Tony Ronaldson. They still maintained Henare and Boucher but bring in Pledger and Storey. Storey was a late call up after Dave Thomas pulled the pin and Pledger is coming off a great series against the Boomers where he showed he can really stoke the ball for a 7 footer.

Crocs: The Ville made some noise this off-season. Dumping JR and signing Pete Crawford, Rolan Roberts and sneaky Steven Hoare. One would imagine that Trevor Gleeson is trying tweak his club that got close to the GF last year. Homicide, Rusty Hinder and B-Rad Williamson will also be looking looking to go one better and hope M. Cedar produces a more consistant season to go with his endless shooting range. Tovey will also be more comfortable in the system and cause havoc and I hope Kelvin Robertson will be back to his best after knee ending surgery cut his season short.

36er's: Half of the team are ex-Dragon players from 07/08. Herbert, Burston, Groves, Hill and Holmes. Don't expect the same return however because Adam Ballinger is one serious player and with the help of John Gilchrist and the Dr. Darren Ng back in town this team can shoot lights out. I expect Cortez to come back with a vengeance showing why he was one of the great scorers in this league. Also Herbert and Burston coming off a championship season will be looking for continued success.  

Taipans: Cairns have brought in the sweet shooting of Phil Jones along with tough import Rich Melzer along side Dusty Rychart to help develop the progress of Kerry Willams as he steps up to a bigger point guard role this year. Big Bear Ian Crosswhite is back with lethal three point threat Boodnikoff and defensive stopper Grabau. They also bring in Skip Mills to apply his trade here in Australia for the first time.

Hawks: After surviving a long off season headed by Matt Campbell the Hawks are flying again under the tutelage of Gordie McLeod. Saville is back again alongside import Tywain McKee, Cam Tragardh. Look for Rhys Martin to have a bigger year and for the bigs to fight for minutes in Gruber, Davidson and Behrendorff. Like Cairns with the community based support I look to see many packed out games at these venues.

Tigers: Left the Tigers til last because it is my team this year. We are the first team in NBL history to start a season without an import. That been said I like a lot of the NBL are looking forward to the return of Sammy Mac. Has been the best player at training this off season and hoping all health issues are behind him. Kendall has had his best off season in years and Nathan Crosswell is like a whippet with boundless enegry. DJ Johnson, Corletto, O'hea all coming off a great Big V season and the big fella Anstey is slowly but surely winding up for the season ahead. 

Anyways I hope you enjoyed your preview of the season ahead. Til next time
Have a beer for me.