Saturday, May 17, 2008

Timing Is Everything

Scott Prince did not get the thumbs up from the Queensland selectors.

State of Origin will be dominating the sporting headlines for a good portion of the next month. It has already gotten off to a flying start this week with debate about the exclusion of Scott Prince from the Queensland team.

Well, I’ll weigh in on the debate right now. Should Prince have made the team? I’m sure I’m not alone when I say our home and work place has mapped out every possible ‘what if’ situation already. The truth of what happened is simple: Sometimes players become victims of circumstance Prince is one of those players this time around.

As some wise person once said, “Timing is everything,” and Prince’s timing is just a little unfortunate, having to beat out the guy that most footy experts rate as the best footballer in the world, Jonathon Thurston.

The way the Gold Coast Titans have performed early this season, there is no doubt that if the Dally M Medal was given today, Prince would be a shoe in. It does seem unfair that a guy showing career best form and carving up the competition cannot get a start.

When you are second in line behind the best in the world, life is going to seem a little unfair more than once. Maybe Prince should commiserate with a guy like Stuart MacGill. This guy has the best strike rate of any modern day leg spinner, but had to try to topple the likes of Shane Warne in order to consistently play for Australia. Talk about an up hill battle!

Right now, I guess all a guy in this position can do is concentrate on what makes him successful week to week, in Prince’s case, it is leading the Titans forward. I also think mentally he needs to be ready for the possibility of a call up for game 2 and/or 3. If that opportunity presents itself, he better make the most of it.

The NBA draft is 40 days away and Australia has a few young players putting their hat in the ring. There is still plenty of time before the draft for these players to either do themselves and their dreams of playing in the NBA some good, or potentially even some damage. Here is a run down of the candidates:

Nathan Jawai: This Cairns Taipans product has started to make some NBA scouts take notice. Once considered a second round pick, it seems as though Nate could sneek into the first round. I look for Jawai to be drafted; the big question how high.

Joe Ingles: I look for this guy to take a similar path to Brad Newley. Ingles will use this time around in the lead up to the draft as a learning experience and will give it a real crack next year. He is currently rated anywhere from a second round pick to not being drafted at all this year.

Aleks Maric: This may not be a name that many Australians are familiar with, because this Sydney-sider has been working his game in the American college system for the last four years. His productivity at the University of Nebraska puts Maric as an outside chance of being drafted. Unfortunately for those fans of the NBL, I think Maric will pack his bags for Europe if the NBA does not have room for him.

It is exciting to see Australian born players in a position to make the NBA again. Not since 1997, when Crocs own Ben Pepper along with fellow NBL stars Chris Anstey, CJ Bruton and Paul Rogers put their names in for the NBA draft, has Australia had multiple players drafted in the same year.

Last but not least, Go the Maroons next Wednesday night.

You can check out my article every Saturday in the Townsville Bulletin.

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