Andrew Bogut was head and shoulders above anyone else today.
Tonight CJ Bruton hit a three point shot with 0.2 seconds remaining to give the Australian Boomers a 81-78 win over African champions Angola.
Bruton was the hero but NBA star Andrew Bogut was the difference maker in this game. Bogut finished with a game high 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Although it was good to see Bogut heavily involved tonight, the Aussies cannot expect this to become the norm. we need more contributors if we are to advance in Beijing.
This was a close game from start to finish. The Boomers went into half time with a seven point lead thanks to a controversial three, but the Africans had it all squared away by three quarter time.
All tied up with 12 seconds to go, Bruton used a high on ball screen from Bogut with about 6 seconds remaining. Cool as the other side of your pillow Bruton launched the three and "bingo". The Boomers sneak out the victory.
The Angolans were a good hit out for the Boomers because of their quickness and ability to shoot the ball. Although one of the smaller teams going to the Olympics, they possess a few players that are multi talented.
A small centre Eduardo Mingas, power forward Joaquim Gomes and small forward Olimpia Cipriano will keep all teams honest in Beijing let alone the Aussies.
These three guys combined for 60 of the 78 points their team scored.
Another solid win by the Boomers who will now play Argentina for the championship of the Diamond Ball. This game is on the 1st of August (Friday) at 9.30pm EST. Check out www.justin.tv/antileech to catch the action live on the net.
Interesting note, that in tonight's game and against China, Goorjian has gone with Bruton, Bogut, Matt Nielsen, Brad Newley and Mark Worthington down the stretch.
Also, as the Boomers work closer to the opening game of the Olympic Games, Goorijan will look to tighten his rotations. I will keep an eye on this to see who will be the guys that fill the bench role of Tony Ronaldson, Martin Cattalini, Paul Rogers and myself at the last Olympics.
Other International Results
Argentina beats Serbia 75-60.
USA beats Turkey 114-82.
Chris Anstey interview from China
Jason Castro will remain with Slingers.
Slingers controlled their own destiny.
Melbourne Tigers chasing Julius Hodge.
Blaze boss prepared to roll with the good and bad times.
"A lesser known player involved in this trade is Nathan Jawai, whose draft rights the Raptors acquired. The Raptors do not have a true center and the addition of this 6-10, 280 pound big man will help their inside presence. He has been working out with O'Neal at Joe Abunassar's Impact Basketball and posted 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds during summer league play. After winning two NBL titles back home, Jawai is eager to help the Raptors in their title quest." - Courtesy of Hoopsworld.com
A positive write up for the former Cairns Taipan, Nathan Jawai. Considering it was his rookie year last year, it is interesting that he has won two NBL titles though.
Chris Anstey extends contract for another two years with the Melbourne Tigers.
Aleks Maric set to play in Spain for the next two years.
Steve Nash/Baron Davis Movie - funny stuff (I'm stealing DJ Leon Smith's material, sorry!)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Andrew Bogut was head and shoulders above anyone else today.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Yi is not giving his coach the thumbs up.
The Australian Boomers started the FIBA Diamond Ball for Men with a solid 67-55 win over hosts China.
The Boomers displayed trademark Brian Goorjian defense which disrupted the soft Chinese all too easily. China's 24 turnovers did not allow them to get into any offensive rhythm all game.
The Boomers on the other hand had a very balanced team effort. Chris Anstey was the leading scorer with 11, while David Andersen was the only other Aussie player to reach double figures with ten.
Freshly cashed up Andrew Bogut was very solid for the Boomers. His 9 points and team leading 8 rebounds do not tell the whole story. He battled Houston Rocket centre Yao Ming on all possessions and made it a long night for Yao.
Yao lead China in scoring with 14 but Bogut's constant pressure created a team high 5 turnovers from the Chinese centre.
After watching this game (http://www.justin.tv/) I feel Yao needs to get in the weightroom and shoulder press his night away. The Chinese team is expecting their NBA All Star to create a miracle on every possession. Sure it is great to have every play ran for you (ask Andrew Gaze) but you need help to ease the pressure a little. He cannot carry this team on his shoulders alone.
Yao had no help out there tonight.
That leads me to newly acquired New Jersey Net power forward, Yi Jianlian. Yi had zero points tonight on 0/3 shooting. There is no other way to sugarcoat this, he was plain miserable.
Word is, he and head coach Jonas Kazlauskas are not seeing eye to eye. This little tiff apparently started the night before in their game against Angola (maybe due to Yi being abused in the post by Angola's Olimpio Cipriano) and obviously carried over into tonight's game.
Could this be a case of a NBA player coming home and thinking he is better than what he is? I'm betting on this being the case.
He is too good a talent to have zero effect on a game and Yao needs someone to ride shotgun with him. Point guard Liu Wei is no Robin to Yao's Batman.
Enough of the Chinese. This is a solid win for the Boomers but lets not get carried away as I don't think China will advance on their side of the draw in Beijing.
Tomorrow (Thursday) at 6pm EST will see the Aussies take on Angola. This game will be a good test as the team from Africa is a very free flowing style of team. They have the ability to put a lot of points on the board in a hurry.
This game will test our perimeter defense as the Angolans are happy to penetrate and pitch for the three.
Check out www.justin.tv/antileech for a live feed of the game.
On the women's side of things, the Australian Opals defeated the Brazilian national team for the second straight game.
The Opals ran out winners by the score of 85-62, even without the world's best women's player Lauren Jackson. Jackson sat out due to and ankle injury but should be ready in time for the FIBA Diamond Ball for Women.
Suzy Batkovic led the scoring for the Opals with 17, while series MVP Belinda Snell added 13 for the home side.
All players contributed to the end total besides defensive juggernaut Tully Bevilaqua.
The Opals will begin action in the Diamond Ball later this week.
In other Pre Olympic action, you can catch Team USA play Turkey on Thursday night on ESPN from 10pm. This will be live coverage.
Gold Coast Blaze get a major sponsor.
Brian Goorjian and his most talented team, EVER!
Spirit debate still going on. Check out the Sydney Spirit website. If I'm Bendigo this is my argument. How serious are they about their name chance? Not to serious if it is still the "The Official Website Of The West Sydney Razorbacks". I will give them some credit. Punch in http://www.sydneyspirit.com.au/ and you get re-directed back to the Pigs website.
Ron Artest has been traded to the Houston Rockets. Bobby Jackson back to the Kings.
Ex-ref gets 15 months jail.
$71 million will see Deng stay in Chicago.
NBA teams to play Euro power clubs in preseason.
Emeka Okafor will stay with Bobcats.
Something a Little Different - Former PM John Howard Rolling His Arm Over
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
These guys will no longer be part of the NBL.
Although some whispers had started to circulate it is now official. The Singapore Slingers are no longer part of the NBL.
I can tell you that it is true that all player contracts will be honoured and the talk about the Slingers joining an Asian league is true to some degree.
Where the hitch in this master plan is, what league do they play in? Great question because I'm not sure if any league that is currently operating in Asia would open their arms and welcome in the Singapore Slingers. What do the Slingers offer as far as improving the current status of any league? I'm not sure, but I don't think much considering their roster is full of Aussies.
If any of you readers have read any of the newspaper articles, they have made comment about Bob Turner trying to start up a league over there. This is true but where will he get teams from to fill a league?
A factor that may hinder this process is time. How quickly can a league starting from scratch be up and running and also become viable? Once again I have never setup a professional league, but I'm guessing this will not happen over night. I will guess a timeline of about 12-18 months would be needed to set up something viable and long lasting.
Once again, I will keep you posted on this topic as it will be interesting to see what becomes of the Singapore Slingers. There is a small chance that Ben Knight could become a household name in Asian basketball. A status level he never reached in his own country.
Continuing with my individual breakdown of the Boomers roster, lets take a look at point guard CJ Bruton.
strengths: Bruton is entering his second Olympic campaign and is the veteran floor general this time round. Leading a rather inexperienced backcourt Bruton needs to perform at a high level for the whole two weeks of the Olympics if the Boomers are to advance to the medal round.
This is something he is capable of doing, the question is, does he want it!
CJ's offensive repertoire allows him to win games on his own. When he starts "feeling it" just sit back and enjoy the show.
Over the years Bruton has become a good quarterback in knowing when to pick his spots in a game. I just hope his radar is switched on in Beijing because how CJ goes, so do the Boomers.
weaknesses: Sometimes it seems CJ is just cruising through a game. Happy to keep everyone involved he can sometimes become too pass happy. This type of attitude from Bruton is going to be detrimental to the Boomers success.
If Bruton is happy to take a backseat and watch the youth of Australian basketball gain experience, there will be no medal chance for the Aussies.
overall: Easy said. How CJ goes, so do the Boomers.
Articles from pre Olympic games
"FIBA: It’s interesting to hear you say that you’ve got the most talented team that you have ever had. In saying this, aren’t you raising expectations?
Brian Goorjian: I’m just stating the truth. We’re underprepared and a bit disorganized, but the country hasn’t had David Andersen, Matt Nielsen and Andrew Bogut (all together) before. And we’ve added a lot of length on the perimeter since I’ve been here in Dave Barlow, (Brad) Newley, Joe Ingles. You’ve got 6ft 7in, 6ft 8in in those perimeter spots. We’ve been 6ft 2in, 6ft 3in and most of the guys in those spots were one dimensional where these guys can shoot it and put it on the floor. I know this - it’s a brighter future ahead than four years ago when we brought a lot of guys who were 29, 30 years old that had never played in Olympic Games, never played in the World Games, never played in the Commonwealth Games, due to the fact that that group to seven to eight guys had represented Australia in Three straight Olympics." - FIBA.COM
For the rest of this Q & A with Goorjian click here.
Good to see Goorj supporting his current players. I will argue his statement though. I will take an experienced Brett Maher, Jason Smith and myself over a young and inexperienced Pat Mills, Brad Newley and David Barlow.
In fact, when Smith is healthy again we would take them in a three on three contest.
In a few years time that might be a great statement by Goorj.
Australian Opals defeat Brazil ,easily. boxscore
Good news for Boomers, Russian centre struggling to be fit in time for Olympics.
Argentina slide by Iran by 10 in the FIBA Diamond Ball for Men. (boxscore)
China get win over Angola by 9 at Diamond Ball. (boxscore) Both China's NBA stars Yi Jianlian (11&6) and Yao Ming (21&5) played.
Ref to get jail time?
What is going on with free agency and who is the best that is still left?
Kwame Brown joins the Detroit Pistons on two year deal.
Ricky Davis joins the Los Angles Clippers.
Nenad Krstic bolts for Russia.
More Vintage NBL - 1999 Highlights - Thanks NBLBBALL
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Slingers had a two year roar in the NBL.
I'm not sure when this story grew legs but it is happening. The Singapore Slingers will not play in the NBL in season 2008/09.
What I'm hearing though is all player contracts will be honoured and the club is trying to play 15 exhibition games in Singapore in the upcoming months.
I'm not sure what playing exhibition games will do for a franchise without a league but I do not know the Singapore market at all.
This concept is interesting but knowing Bob Turner he must have something in the pipeline. Maybe the Slingers will join an Asian league? Would the Chinese CBA look at a team from Singapore?
I'm sure there is more to this story to come out over the next few days. I will do my best to keep you guys in the loop as it happens.
From now and until the Olympics roll around I'm going to give my scouting report on each member of the Boomers.David Andersen
Performing in his second Olympics Andersen will be looking to have a massive Games. He has proved himself in Europe and the NBA would not shell out enough to get his services, so Andersen will be looking to prove that he is worth every penny he is paid.
strengths: May have the most well rounded offensive game of any of our interior players. Andersen will go close to leading the team in scoring. He can score his points by banging down low and going to his turn around "J" or stepping out to about fifteen feet.
He is also quite comfortable trailing the play or stepping out to three and knocking it down. Hopefully this option does not become a steady diet but his ability to stretch the defense should help create space down low for Andrew Bogut to operate.
Maybe Andersen's biggest strength is his offensive rebounding ability. He truly has a nose for the ball and gets himself easy second chance points or extra possessions for his team. This stat can really help get a team over the line in a tight game.
weakness: If he has to chase a perimeter orientated four around, this is not his game. Andersen can play some solid low post defense and helps and talks it up great on on-ball screens. He and Bogut need to "eat glass" for the Boomers to reach the medal rounds, so Andersen needs to hit the D glass with the venom he does at the offensive end.
overall: Andersen needs to have a monster Olympics for the Aussies to do well. He has an offensive game to match the best in the world at his position. How he and Bogut work together will be key.
If Andersen has a huge Games, the Boomers could play themselves into a medal game while the NBA will be begging for him to come and play.
Mills a boon for Boomers.
"It's a good feeling, it's cool, it's a new step for me," Low said yesterday afternoon, just hours after landing in Honolulu on a flight from Salt Lake City. "I made a good decision. I'm excited to go." Words from Derrick Low, the Sydney Spirits new import. Courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser.
Geelong Supercats need to create history to win title.
The Spirit show the kids of Armidale some skills but forget to tell the newspaper they are not the Razorbacks anymore.
Spain get by Argentina, again.
Latvian and Warriors centre Andris Biedrins set to sign a six year extension.
Australian Opals belt Brazil, 99-62 (boxscore coming), in Wollongong tonight.
Check out this latest Corey "Homicide" Williams video.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Don't forget to catch the Opals in action at home against Brazil.
Andrew Gaze thinks A-League style is not for the NBL.
Wollongong Hawks have new slogan.
Tassie is producing some good hoopers all thanks to David Munns.
Mills happy to play conductor.
Spain beat Lithuania in friendly.
A full schedule of the upcoming Diamond Ball Tournament from the 29th. The Boomers play China in their first game on the 30th.
Click here for all details about the Diamond Ball.
Matt Nielsen dips into his own pockets to get to Beijing.
Check out fellow blogger A Stern Warning's preview of the Boomers. Worth a read.
Team USA take care of Canada, easily, 120-65.
Warriors undrafted Anthony Morrow is MVP of Rocky Mountain Revue.
Scoop Jackson' Q & A with Carmelo Anthony.
Sasha Vujacic gets $15 million from Lakers.
Monta Ellis inks deal with Warriors worth $67 million.
Josh Childress leaves Hawks for Greece.
Bill Bradley's ride from Euro to USA.
Early look at what might happen this year in the NBA.
Bogut's Bucks might show signs of life, soon.
LeBron James predicts gold for Team USA. (video)
Jason Kidd to look at Europe?
The Rookie - Mike Beasley, Episode 6
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Sonny Bill has turned his back on the Bulldogs. (Find out more below)
The major dilemma facing the NRL at present revolves around how to keep the top tier players from chasing big money overseas.
Every armchair fan, past player, and local hero weighs in on the topic and puts their two cents about how to solve the problem into the ring. But let’s get real. There is never going to be one magic solution that keeps everyone on home soil. There will always be something somewhere that will draw players to other competitions or codes in the world. The pot is never going to be big enough to accommodate everyone.
Obviously it is disappointing to lose world class players like Mark Gasnier and, a little closer to home, Jonathon Thurston (as he has admitted to being approached about his future when his current Cowboys contract runs out). Their vacancy, however, leaves the door wide open for the next ‘big talent’ in line.
Take, for example the playing career of Jonathan Thurston. The guy could not get a regular start with the Bulldogs, but his move to the Cowboys has allowed him to grow into a player that is widely regarded as the best footballer in the world.
There are future Thurstons and Gasniers out there. They just need their day in the sun to prove it.
I can remember people saying it hurts the NRL when a player like Trent Barrett leaves for England. I personally do not think the game has suffered from Barrett’s departure and little fanfare has taken place about his return to our domestic competition next season.
Football is not the lone sport battling to keep their best players at home. I’ll use basketball as another example. We are losing players to Europe and the NBA at a rapid rate.
So I would say that the best way to combat the problem would be to spend resources developing our sports at grass roots so that we have the talent to fill the vacancies left by the inevitable departure of high level talent. It allows our sport to sustain itself without being so dependent on a small group of individuals.
Promote yourself to the kids the right way and spend money and time on doing so. They, in turn, will want to be involved in the sport. The more players you develop, the more players you have to fill your talent pool. The deeper your talent pool, the more able you are to sustain and survive the loss of players.
I would also like to suggest that I think it is a good sign when other countries are willing to pay our players the big money to join their overseas club. It’s a reflection of a product that has been made in our backyard and has been sought after worldwide. What business would not see that as a good thing?
It does become an emotional issue, when your favourite player decides that it is time to chase the cash away from home, but maybe critics should ask themselves, “What would I have done?”.
I think anyone who is honest with themselves would have to, at the very least, consider answering the question the same way Gasnier did. Playing in France for a million a season sounds pretty easy to handle.
You can read my article every Saturday in the Townsville Bulletin.
In other NRL news Sonny Bill Williams has left the Bulldogs for France.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Early on this week the NBL thanks to Ian Stacker conducted a camp for possible and future NBL players. The concept has been deemed a success and should only get better as it hopefully becomes a regular on the basketball calender.
Here is a report on who went well:
Top 10 Best of the Best at The NBL Prospects Camp.
1. Matt Sutton (Guard) - Forestville Eagles - Central ABL (194, 90) Averaging 12 points, 6 assists and 5 reb
Finds himself dumped from the 36ers after the introduction of the YAP (Young Australian Player). Can see he has had the experience at the next level. Steady all week and kept the large contingent of hopeful guards at bay. Is smart in crunch time and will get to the rack to draw contact. Physically ready to step in should a roster spot become available mid season. Can improve perimeter game, but was the best of the guards defensively.
2. Maalo Hicks (Power Forward)- Darebin Giants - Big V Division 2 (200cm, 95kg) Averaging 19 ppg and 17 rpg
A real diamond in the rough. A solid body who competes hard for the ball on the glass. Can elevate quickly in the paint and in transition. Needs to improve his touch from outside the paint. Must get serious about his basketball and move into a better team or league to accelerate his learning.
3. PJ Isaacson (Shooting Guard) - Apollon - Greece A2
I have kept a close eye on this guys career. He contacted me years ago to chat about my college experience in the USA.
A flat out scoring guard. Loves the dribble pull up jump shot and will knock down the open three. Works hard at both ends of the floor and is basketball savvy. Interesting body shape but still can compete with the athletic player because of his hustle. Strong in the legs and lower body. Can only applaud his attitude and modeling his game on me.
4. Nathan Crombie (Centre) - Brisbane Capitals – QABL (212cm, 98kg) – averaging 10.5 ppg
Best of the big men in terms of long term potential in the YAP role. Long, but way too lean to make an instant impact in the NBL and must get into gym to improve his strength. Back to basket soft touches, but perimeter game needs attention. Worth the investment possibly in 12 months should he continue his rate of improvement.
5. Ricky Henderson (Shooting Guard) – Ballarat, SEABL (183cm, 90kg) – Averaging 15 ppg and 7 Rpg
Had an outstanding three days. Will shoot the three ball and likes to get to the middle to draw contact. Physically not ready to make the NBL level, but work rate indicates that he has the motivation to make the grade. Must continue to work on perimeter game and fundamental footwork to make the next step.
6. Cameron McCallum (Forward) – Diamond Valley- Big V Youth League (200 cm, 96 kg)- Averaging 12 ppg and 12 rpg
Has a knack of finding himself in the right place at the right time. Was one of the leading scorers in the team’s 5 on 5 competitions and would have gone close to leading all rebounders. Does all the little things quietly. Unassuming and hard working. Once again, committing to the physical development will make the difference.
7. Tiri Masunda (Point Guard) – Hobart Charges, SEABL (184cm, 80kg)– Averaging 3.3 ppg and 1.6 rpg
Took the more experienced Victorian guards on every-time and won. Just still too light for a PG position at NBL level immediately, but does have the foot speed and tools to guard the best players his age. Not brilliant from the perimeter, but as a PG can get to the basket and make positive decisions with the ball.
8. Harry Harvey (Point Guard) – Forrestville – Central, SA – (180cm, 75kg) – Averaging 4 ppg and 1 rpg
At 19, this whippet has some real basketball IQ and one of the quickest first steps at the camp. Has a good perimeter stroke, sharp handles and a competitive streak unmatched only by PJ Issacson. Greatest concern for his development will be his physical size long term.
9. Anthony Olah (Forward) - Gold Coast – QABL (195cm, 90kg) averaging 7 ppg and 4 Reb in QABL
Had a consistent camp. Knows how to compete. Showed some nice tools getting to the basket. Has played most of his juniors as a big man, but at just 18 years of age has plenty of time on his side to develop his outside game further. Physical development a priority if he wishes to develop further into a sound NBL player.
10. BJ Radcliffe (Shooting Guard) – Hobart Charges, Tasmania – SEABL (190cm, 82kg) averaging 4.5 ppg and 1.5 rpg
Grew in self confidence as the week progressed. His perimeter game shows potential and he knows how to score off the one dribble pull up. Must become a better defender to advance to the next level and improve strength levels.
Nemanja Kovacina (Forward) - Parramatta Wildcats - Waratah
A real smokey for the camp. Has excellent physical size for a 3/4 in the NBL, but must work on becoming a better perimeter player to make the step. Always played in the 4 or 5 as a junior so his tools are mostly around the bucket. Is slightly right hand dominated, but handles the ball well.
Greg Hire (Forward) – Wanneroo – WASL – Averaging 17 ppg and 9 rpg
A strong frame and willing to throw himself around the key. Will need to work on his finishing and footwork around the key area. But the physical tools are there should he lift his work rate and continue to advance his perimeter game.
Zane Reeves (Forward) – Central Lions – Central ABL (195cm, 89kg) – Averaging 12 ppg and 5 rpg
A crafty small forward who has a nice penetration game. Must continue to work on his perimeter shot to be able to add another dimension to his game. Competes well on the glass.
So there you have it. Time will tell if any of these guys go back and keep working on their games to get to the next level.
Good luck boys and good luck to Ian Stacker and the NBL with this camp.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I didn't agree with this at the time and still don't, but the Pigs are dead.
"The Spirit are a relatively new team to the NBL and they have had some success; however, they have never won the grand final. Being a new member to the team; what do you think needs to be done to win a championship and how are you going to help achieve that?" A question asked by Nick Thomas of http://www.nbl.com.au/ when interviewing import David Gruber.
This question has been eating away at me all day for some reason so I will be interested to see what you the reader thinks as well. (So post a comment if you wish.)
At first read I thought it was my lack of sleep over the past few days (I've been rising at 4.45am to co host a radio breakfast show. 4TO is the station if you wanted to know.) that was clouding my brain, but the more I think about it the more it eats at me.
Nick Thomas, the Sydney Spirit (and even that is questionable at the moment) are a brand new team and have absolutely no success to talk about. They have no history as a club, so how have they had success as a club?
Your right in saying they have never won a grand final but they have never been in one either, unlike the Pigs that played in two during their ten year existence.
The Razorbacks are dead and buried. The moment the Spirit was formed the history book on the Pigs was closed.
If I'm Gruber, I'm saying it is fantastic to be a foundation member of a new team and I hope the Sydney public support their team.
If you want to unite the Sydney people you cannot continue to refer back to the Razorback days. You need to move on and call it what it is.
Although I don't agree with this "merger" you have to call it a fresh start otherwise Kings fans will get sick and tired of hearing about the Pig days.
I could talk about this topic for hours but I would give you all a headache, including myself, so I will end this ranting and raving for now.
Mr Thomas and everyone else, the Pigs are dead, so we all need to move on!
Q & A with Adelaide 36ers Luke Schenscher.
The full Q & A with Sydney Spirit's David Gruber.
Hawaiian born Derrick Low is seriously looking at a contract with the Spirit. The Washington State grad would come in and run the point for the new franchise.
Scott MacGregor to be a catwalk model. I would love to see that. It is all for a good cause, the Jane McGrath Foundation.
Neil Mottram will study till Christmas, then hope a job comes up.
Matt Nielsen named captain for Beijing Games.
The (wild) cat is out of the bag. Andrew Vlahov is running the sport of basketball in Australia.
Tasmanian coach wins award.
NZNBL player admits to "blazing up".
Questions asked about Team USA.
George Hill - Spurs rookie guard ready to crack the Big Time.
RIP Sonics - Reign Man's Top 10 Dunks
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Barkley's golf swing will do this to anyone. Find out more below.
Brad Newley is learning what life is about as an import.
Before departing Greece about a month ago he felt that he was going to return to the club, Panionios, that he had just completed his first Greek season with.
After some water had passed under that bridge and no spot there, Newley has signed with a new Greek club, Panellinios.
When I last chatted with Brad he was disappointed in having to change clubs because his old team had just qualified for Euroleague next season. For people that don't know, Euroleague is the best competition outside of the NBA.
After getting over the original heartache, Brad is looking forward to his new team and the added responsibility he will have within the team.
Panellinios still has to qualify for ULEB. ULEB is the second best European competition, so he still would be playing against some strong international competition as well as the tough Greek domestic league.
Although Newley has to possibly wait another season to take his game to Euroleague, I'm sure another season in the Greek league will only improve his game. He will be asked to score more on a consistent basis with his new team, so Newley's game will only keep getting better.
I'm looking at his situation rather selfishly for Australian basketball's future. With his continued improvement, he will be one of the best international two guards by the time the 2012 Olympics come around.
I personally feel this will be the Olympics where the Boomers will really push for a major medal.
With Newley signing now instead of waiting till later to see what is available, his mind will be clear for a good performance in Beijing.
If he had waited to sign till after the Olympics, that would have created a lot of weight on his mind.
All the best to Brad for the Olympics and his continuing career in Europe.
Gold Coast Blaze have re-signed import Luke Whitehead for the upcoming NBL season. They have an excess of front court players now. Ben Melmeth, Pero Cameron, Scott MacGregor, Casey Frank, Juaquin Hawkins and Whitehead will all be fighting for minutes.
Basketball Australia is not sure how to approach marketing the Boomers. Andrew Vlahov knows how.
Spirits not so high in Bendigo right now. They want Sydney's spirits dampened, for good.
Check out fellow blogger A Stern Warning. He has some great articles, especially the one about Atlanta Hawk, Josh Childress potentially walking away from the NBA. Seems like some top European teams are making a push for some credentialed NBA players. $20 million over three years will make most think twice. More on Childress.
TrueHoop's review the Vegas Summer League. A insightful recap of what happened over the week.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan takes a look at what Team USA has been up to.
Who's Hot and Who's Not in Utah's Summer League.
"I thought the way [the Nuggets] went about it was classless," he said. "I thought it could have gone down a whole lot better. I'll get over it once training camp begins when I'm around the guys. You never forget. I'm definitely looking forward to those couple games we play against Denver." - Marcus Camby (Associated Press)
"I've tried everything," Barkley says. "Tiger can't help me 'cause the hitch is there no matter what. I even tried getting hypnotized for 45 minutes and still woke up with the same crappy swing." And so it went the rest of the day: Barkley making people laugh and hug him, interrupted by these sporadic fits that made them look away in sympathy. "Hey, I know I suck," he yelled on the eighth hole, still lying two and not yet to the women's tees, "but I got nice equipment." - Charles Barkley. Check out my favourite sports author Rick Reilly's article on Sir Charles.
Long Live The Snakepit
Monday, July 21, 2008
Dirk finally gets to play at an Olympics. Dirk could lend Chris Kaman some of his wig though.
Germany has grabbed the final spot at for the Olympic Games. Dirk Nowitzki and his team defeated the Carlos Arroyoless Puerto Rico, 96-82.
I was a little naive in my thinking that Greece and Croatia would play off for the tournament title. Since both these teams qualified for the Olympics the previous day, no title game was necessary. That is just a little odd to me. Play a tournament and have no winner!
With the Games field finalized the draw is now available and the Aussies have drawn the European qualifying Croatia first up.
Having just come off three games against them (2-1 Croatia) the good news for the Aussies is they know what to expect when it comes tip off time in Beijing.
With Lithuania, Argentina, Iran and Russia in this pool as well, the Boomers first game result could determine whether they make it through to the next round.
The way it works is; you need to finish in the top 4 of your pool to advance to the next round. If you don't, you party hard for the remainder of the Olympics. I'm speaking from experience here.
So, the Aussies need to win 3 games to secure a spot in the next round. Win 2 and it could be determined by count back.
All teams in this pool have Iran marked as a "W". I feel as though Argentina is the number 1 team while the Lithos and Russians will battle for the next two spots, leaving the Boomers and the Croats to battle it out for the remaining spot.
There is no doubt that both Croatia and Australia can take games away from any of these teams, but I will play the percentages and say the Aussies need to win the first game to give themselves the best chance of reaching the medal round.
Aussie fans will get a better feel for how our team is progressing when they play in the Diamond Ball Tournament next week.
They follow this up with a game against the USA. Although knocking off the USA any time is a good thing, I think you need to keep that "one off" performance for the Olympics.
If Australia finishes with the 4th seed, there is a very good chance that they will meet the USA in the first cross over game.
Although Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has talked about the depth in this pool, I feel that the Boomers have a great chance of advancing to the final round of eight with Croatia in the pool.
Check out this ABC interview with Andrew Bogut talking about the Boomers chances.
Dusty Rychart has signed with the Wollongong Hawks.
The Hawks finally got Rychart to put pen to paper after the negotiating process taking some time.
The attraction for the Hawks with the USA born Rychart is, all things going well Rychart will play as a Aussie next year.
If my sources are worth their money, Rychart was trying to do the right thing by himself and only wanting to sign for one year, then renegotiate new year as an Aussie.
In the meantime the Hawks were trying their hardest to lock up the "Garbage Man" for three years.
Reading between the lines, both parties must have compromised and agreed to two years.
There is no doubting that Rychart has shown he has a great knack for accumulating points and rebounds in the NBL, without taking shots away from the "studs" on the roster.
In saying this, isn't that what the NBL's 2007/08 Most Improved Player Cam Tragardh does for them. I will be interested to see how these two coexist.
The NBL's Prospects Camp got underway in Melbourne today.
This camp allows 63 of Australia's best prospects to go and show their skills in front of an array of coaches from around the country.
This is a great concept and idea by Ian Stacker. It will only get better as time goes on and players on the fringe of the NBL realize this is a good forum to showcase their talent.
A reliable source of mine said that the best players from Day 1 were Adelaide's Matt Sutton and Gold Coast's Anthony Olah.
It will be interesting to see who shines during Day 2's action.
Perth Wildcat's rookie signing Stephen Weigh, talks up his QABL Rockhampton Rockets.
Portland TrailBlazers Rookie guard Jerryd Bayless is lighting up Vegas. For all other things happening at the Vegas Summer League, click here.
The Utah Jazz Summer League had a rest day.
Tully Bevilaqua will land in Brissy on Tuesday morning. This means that the World Champion Australian Opals will finally have their full squad together as they prepare to win their first gold medal at an Olympic Games.
Andrew Bogut is down to earth?
OZ97 - Australia vs Argentina (Check out the names in this game plus you will get goose bumps if you are an Aussie.)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Thought you were worthy of being an NBA cheerleader, click on the picture and dare to dream.
When you wake up from your weekend's adventures and head in to work Monday morning, the 12 teams competing at the Beijing Olympic Games will be finalized.
Yesterday, Greece defeated Puerto Rico 88-63 to advance to the final of the qualifying tournament, but more importantly the Greeks have punched their ticket to the Games.
Greece started the tournament as favourites so it is no surprise they coasted into the final of the FIBA tournament on home soil.
In the other semi final Croatia got the better of Germany despite Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki having a monster game. Nowitzki's 30 points and 13 rebounds was not enough to combat Croatia's team effort.
The final score was 76-70.
Croatia makes their return to the Olympics after missing out in Athens in 2004, while Greece will try and secure a medal after missing out four years ago.
With Greece and Croatia on their way to Beijing, I would love to be in Athens to see the Germans and the Puerto Ricians go at it for that final spot.
To me, this is actually the championship game of the tournament. There is so much on this one game.
I'm sure Dirk will be looking to have a big game and help his country get to the Olympics. This might help erase some of his recent NBA playoff disappointments.
I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and find out the result of this game. One team will leave Athens very, very disappointed, the other over the moon.
Onto the final. There has been a little speculation around this game, especially the result.
You win this game and you join the bracket of Lithuania, Argentina, Australia, Iran and Russia.
You lose, you play host China, the USA, Angola, Spain and the winner of the third place game of the FIBA tournament in your pool games at the Olympics.
A lot of the philosophies centre around when do you want to match up against the USA. Some countries want to play them in pool action so you do not have to cross over against them to reach the medal games.
Others will take their chances and hope they do not have to meet them until a medal game. Then they roll the dice and hope they have a good one against them.
Personally I believe you have to play to win every game and let the chips fall where they do. If you start trying to map your path, you will stuff up somewhere along the way. Whether it is you dropping a game you thought you would win, or some other team causing and upset you did not see coming.
At the Olympics, if you are playing good enough to win a medal, you will beat whoever is in your way.
Argentina was a great example of this in Athens. I watched nearly all the basketball games played (yes enter your own joke at my expense) and I could see that Argentina had an edge about their game.
It did not matter if it was the USA or New Zealand, they played the same way.
In the end you can say that this attitude paid off, they won the gold.
Lets get back on track, Germany or Puerto Rico? I will say the combination of NBA stars Nowitzki and Los Angles Clippers centre Chris Kaman will be too much for the guys from the Americas.
And the final. I'll stick with the home team, Greece. I feel they could be a medal contender next month in Beijing.
Let the Games begin!
"He’s the kind of thin that makes you think of pipe cleaners, Calista Flockhart and M.C. Hammer’s wallet. He’s as long as Lawrence of Arabia and as wide as a crack in the sidewalk. He’s as skinny as Pete Wentz’s jeans and as lean as Stouffer’s diet cuisine." - NBA.com's Dave McMenamin describing Golden State Warriors rookie Anthony Randolph.
Click here and read how Randolph is making people look past his build. You got a love a guy like this. Well, Leroy Loggins and I can.
Click here for all your Vegas Summer League news and scores.
Nathan Jawai finally got his Summer League and NBA career underway over the weekend. Big Nate opened his account against the Los Angles Lakers. Starting and playing 24 minutes Nate produced 8 points and 6 rebounds. Today Jawai backed up that performance with a 13 point, 5 rebounds game. (click on the above link to see boxscores and highlights)
Click here to get the latest scores and news from the Rocky Mountain Revue (Utah Jazz Summer League). Anyone who is interested, the Olympic bound Iranian team is playing in the Revue.
From the Torres News - Mills in, Jawai out
"And "Nude Nights" should be scheduled without warning. This Festival of Flesh would get everyone talking hoops. You know what they say about men with big feet. Once the public tried a night courtside, with everything hanging out, they would be hooked." - The Courier Mail and HG Nelson's take on what needs to happen for basketball to grab the headlines.
Nate Tomlinson (former King's assistant coach Bill Tomlinson's son) getting the wraps from Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik and other Aussies having an impact in college.
Stick a fork in the Tall Blacks. Their Olympic dream is over, thanks to the Greeks. The question now must be, when will they get their next Olympic berth? I cannot see them hosting the world's largest Games any time soon.
Matt Smith returns to the Snakes.
Ever Wonder What Happened To Brett Wheeler?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Tiny Hinder and his family created a standing room only atmosphere at the airport when he arrived in town.
The off season for the Crocodiles is nearly at an end so I thought now would be a good time to fill you in on how everyone has been going since last season.
Some of the current players have had a pretty busy off season actually.
Kelvin Robertson finally married his long time girlfriend Leigh (Myers) Robertson. Along with this achievement Kelvin has been spending some time working as a pharmacist. I’m wondering if it is really just to pay off the month long honeymoon.
Our other local product Michael Cedar has been improving his game with the Townsville Heat. Cedar is relishing under new coach Rob Rose and with the added responsibility of the captaincy, Mike is certainly developing as a player.
Daniel Egan spent his time here in the north supporting his partner Kirby Dalgleish as she has helped the Townsville Flames maintain their impressive unbeaten streak. Egan was also found on the golf course often or behind his bbq. I hear that he needs a few more off seasons of work in both areas before he can claim to be up to par.
The quiet guy of the group, Brad Sheridan, has had his head buried in a textbook. He has been looking to secure life after basketball by studying to become a certified accountant. His former team the Sydney Kings would have wished he was qualified during his playing days there.
Rosell Ellis has been back in his native Seattle, Washington rehabilitating his ruptured pectoral muscle. A recent You Tube posting I ran across indicates Ellis has recovered nicely.
Then there’s Corey “Homicide” Williams, who has been promoting the release of his own shoe. The “187” can be found in both good (and bad) sports stores here in Australia. Sorry kids, a Mohawk is not included.
New signing Russell Hinder arrived in town earlier this week. Apparently there was standing room only at the airport upon Hinder’s arrival. Hinder who has been playing for the now defunct Sydney Kings did not know how to handle himself with a crowd of onlookers. Something new to any Sydney Kings player.
Rusty, get used to it, people actually come and watch us play here in Townsville.
Youngster Steven Broom looks like he has just walked in off the set of 90210 (Kids if you don’t know this bad 90’s show, Google it.). Sporting two cubic zirconium earrings I can see him playing the role of Luke Perry in the much talked about movie remake of the series. Oh by the way, basketball wise I can see him and me hooking up for some alley-oops.
Since you all hear enough about what I do in the off season, I will close with Brad Williamson, who rounds out this year’s roster. Although he could be confused with my former team mate Drew Williamson at a quick glance, I can assure you they are not the same guy. Brad comes to “the Ville” via Brisbane where he was a member of the now defunct Bullets.
Williamson possesses the ability to knock down the three ball in bunches. He proved this last year by knocking down a record seven three pointers in a quarter. That would be fun to see.
The off season fun is about to end but all the players are looking forward to the new season as I believe we are very comfortable with the group of players we have been assembled.
You can find my article in Saturday's Townsville Bulletin.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The debate over which team or teams will be able to use Spirit as their nickname continued today in Sydney.
The Bendigo Spirit who play in the Women's National Basketball League have always operated with this nickname.
Bendigo is fighting for their name as the (kind of) new franchise in the Men's National Basketball League, Sydney Spirit, is trying to swoop in on the nickname.
I like the passion that the people of Bendigo are approaching this matter with. I hope they get what they are fighting for.
Bendigo's GM Wendy James had this to say.
"We were given a good hearing and we stood up for our name and the reasons why we want it exclusively", she told the Bendigo Advertiser.
For the full article click here.
Anyone for Steak
"Jason was met at the airport by team owner Bob Turner and driven to his quarters before they proceeded to a downtown restaurant for a steak dinner. Danny said Jason was very impressed with his quarters and might ask a cousin based in Singapore to stay with him in his flat." - INQUIRER.Net
Good to see that all is going well for new Singapore Slinger Jason Castro. If all it takes to impress him is a steak dinner, look for more NBL clubs to recruit players from the Philippines.
"Probably not the NBL, though: people there couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery without losing their shirts. And pants. And then blaming it on a biased media and a dodgy bloke from Perth with miracle tablets." - Sydney Morning Herald
This is a great article by the SMH's Bernard Zuel. I'm sure when many front office big wigs read this article, they had their lackey put out a press release about something they had just done.
With the first round of games nearly complete at the FIBA Athens 2008 tournament, finally we are a step closer to finding out which three countries will get the remaining three Olympics spots.
The Kiwis lost to Germany today for the fifth consecutive time, while Greece continues to dominate in front of their home fans.
For all the latest news and results click here.
Vegas in Summer
Check out the latest and greatest scores from the Vegas Summer League.
South Dragons new import signing Ebi Ere has been putting up some solid numbers over the past two games for the Memphis Grizzles.
If he keeps playing well, he may have to take a pay cut to play in the NBA next season.
A Pocket Full of Posey
"You knew this was coming -- the inevitable overreaction to a role player on a championship team in free agency. Every year there's one guy whom teams can't stop fawning over, and this year it was James Posey. Sure, he was an integral part of championship teams for both Miami and Boston, but as with a lot of players who win rings it can be hard for us to look at him rationally." - ESPN's John Hollinger.
A good article explaining how timing is everything for a solid role player in the NBA. I'm a James Posey fan, but the New Orleans Hornets have just shelled out $25 million for the best role player in the recent NBA Finals series. Is he worth it? You decide.
"Entering to huge applause from the crowd in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Yao appeared rusty in scoring six points over seven minutes in the first half. Four of those came from free throws, helping China race to a 51-39 lead after the second quarter." - Associated Press
China's great basketballing Olympic hope Yao Ming returned to action today against Serbia.
Although it was reported he looked rusty, the confidence he brings out in the other players will see China become a much tougher opponent with him in the line up.
During my recent trip to China I was told that the other Chinese players on the squad respond positively to the presences of the big Houston Rocket centre.
Youngsters to Scrimmage Team USA
"We're looking for this select group to really compete and help prepare our senior team for Beijing," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "I'll also repeat something I said last year. Some of these players have represented USA Basketball in the past and there are others who will. This is an opportunity for them to get into the USA Basketball pipeline." - Associated Press.
To check out the full squad click here.
The future of Stephon Marbury with his hometown New York Knicks looks bleak. The Knicks signed Anthony Roberson to a two year deal. This signing seems like it could be the death of Marbury in New York.
A Little Ol Skool NBL - 1982 All Star Game