Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Michael Cedar Knows What He's Talking About

TOWNSVILLE-born Crocodile Michael Cedar has credited his skipper John Rillie for a breakthrough year which rose to a new height in his MVP display against the Gold Coast yesterday, writes Josh Alston of the Townsville Bulletin.

And with retirement looming in the coming years for the 451 game veteran, Cedar hopes he can use what he has learned from Rillie to emulate his career.

Cedar was dominant from the first whistle against the Blaze, draining three triples in the opening two minutes on his way to 22 points for the game.
In the 2008/09 season he has lifted his average points-per-game to 9.83, compared to a career average of 5.76.

And once a bench specialist, he has gained favour in coach Trevor Gleeson's eyes and has emerged as a starter over the past month.

"I enjoy it, one of my goals at the start of the year when I sat down and spoke to Trev was that position I wanted to make mine," he said.

"He's given me the opportunity to do it and I don't want to let him down and I don't want to let myself down either."

Cedar has scored 27-points twice in 2008/09, his highest score in his four-year career.

As well as that his efforts on the defensive end have improved dramatically, feats he said came from training against former Boomer Rillie in every session.

"Practising against him everyday is great for me, I get better every day," Cedar said.

"Just some of the stuff that he can still do just amazes you at his age (37).

"I really look up to Johnnie ... he's had a great career."

And Cedar hopes that when Rillie eventually calls it a day, he can step into the breach to become the Crocs No.1 shooting guard option.

"I hope so, if I can do what John's done over his career I will be a very happy man at the end of the day," he said.

"I've just got to keep working every day, doing the little stuff.

"John works as hard as anyone I've seen so if I want to get to that level I've got to work just as hard as him."

Gleeson praised Cedar's efforts after the game against the Blaze and said he hoped he could produce those figures on a more consistent basis.

"We've seen what Mick can do, he's a talent," he said.

"It's just a consistency level that's the key for Mick at the moment, he's got to produce it everytime he steps over that white line and that's something he's growing into."

2007/08 championship winning coach Al Westover has long believed that Cedar is an Australian player of the future.

But while Blaze Mentor and Boomers assistant coach Brendan Joyce was impressed with Cedar's efforts yesterday, he said he would need to improve his all-round game to crack the squad.

"You never know, it's a matter of kids just working on their game," he said.

"He's a very good catch and shooter and obviously there's other facets of his game ... he's got to become a better defender.

"(He's) got to learn to dribble and pass as well."

"Shooting isn't the only thing that gets you into the Boomers, you've got to be multi-skilled."

You can read more about Cedar and the Crocs in the Townsville Bulletin.

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