Monday, February 2, 2009

Where To Now For Players

Will the Wildcats become interested in Cats instant offense?

The playoffs are just around the corner and we already know what six teams will make up the playoff picture. So, I thought it was time to breakdown the fate of the players who are on those rosters (Cairns, Sydney and Wollongong) that are 99.9% sure they will gone when the new league tips off sometime in October later this year.

I'll writing this as if there will be eight teams in the new competition.

Let's put the Cairns personnel under the microscope.

Guys that will not struggle to pick up a new contract.

Martin Cattilini has already stated that he will be pulling up stumps in the north and heading back home to the west. The question here is, will the Perth Wildcats want him?

I cannot see how they would not want him on their roster. I can see Catt coming of the bench and providing instant offence for the franchise that gave him his first dollar in pro sport.

Ian Crosswhite has been absolutely great for the Taipans (18pts and 11rebs)since their roster become depleted.

Crosswhite is a big body and there are not too many of them floating around at the moment. He is a lock for a contract, purely on size alone.

The situation will have to fit the team.

I will lump Darnell Mee, Aaron Grabau and Matt Smith into this group.

All these guys could add value to a roster but will they be happy moving to a new environment and possible role.

Mee and Grabau have been some of the better defenders in the league for their entire careers. There will be a team that will love the idea of adding a veteran defender to their playing group.

Just how many spots will be available will dictate how many of these guys get picked up.

Smith is rather intriguing for me. He is never flash but has the ability to be in the right spot at the right time. He always finds his way onto a roster. Can his knack of finding a roster spot continue?

The Youth

Kerry Williams has a bright future I believe. He has one of the best handles in the NBL and can get to the rim on anyone.

But, the kid needs to spend the off season working on his "J". Get into the gym and fire up 500 plus shots a day if you are serious kid.

Scott Cook and Dwayne Vale I feel are going to feel the pinch due to the reduced number of teams.

From my understanding both these guys work their butts off at practice and deserve all the court time they are getting rewarded with right now.

The harsh reality is, someone has to miss out.

As for Gary Boodnikoff, my understanding is he has numerous business opportunities happening around Cairns so I'm not sure if he's looking to move.

Sydney Spirit's turn under the microscope.

Guys that will not struggle to pick up a new contract.

Matt Knight has shown over the past ten games that he is a double-double guy. He has expressed interest in looking at Europe but Knight will have no problem finding a new home in Australia.

Jason Smith would get another contract but the question is, does he want to move his family around?

If Sydney gets a team Smith will remain put. Otherwise, I'm sure a team like the Dragons may become interested in the defensive minded veteran since he has shown no signs of his early season shoulder injury.

A question franchises will be asking themselves is, Smith or Grabau?

Damien Martin's phone will ring. Teams that are looking to improve would love to have this tough as nails guard on their roster.

Martin's stats are never going to blow you out of the water but this guy has a knack of coming up with the ball when it's most important. This skill will keep him on a roster for a number of years in the NBL.

These guys need to have a strong ABA season.

Former teammate Drew Williamson needs to go out and put up huge numbers with an ABA team if he is to convince someone to go with him. In truth Drew is a guy that does everything OK, but nothing great.

He needs to go and find a skill that separates him from the rest of the pack.

Greame Dann has all the natural talent under the sun but has not been able to take his game to a consistent level.

I'm sure coaches are starting to run out of patience (and hair).

Dann needs to learn to play with intensity all the time instead of when he wants. But is it too late?

The Rest

Everyone that has been a teammate of Tony Rampton says what a great guy he is. It seems that injury is catching up with the guy so I cannot see the Kiwi international in the league next year.

Clint Reed and David Gruber will become casualties of the new league.

Microscope time for the Wollongong Hawks.

Locks for a new deal.

Two time Olympian Glen Saville will have his suiters providing he wants to leave the sun and surf of the Gong.

I think Sav, like many other long serving players in the league, will have to decide whether they want to pack up and move teams or retire to the place where they want to live the rest of their life.

I'm guessing Sav would love to see a new Sydney team come into the competition.

The situation will have to fit the team.

Cameron Tragardh has shown over the last few seasons that he is more than capable of putting points on the board. He needs to find a team that requires this skill.

Anthony Petrie has been this year's big improver through my eyes. This hard working second year forward will have to pack his bags again if he wants to continue his pro career.

I see him becoming a Mika Vukona type with more offense in his repertoire.

Looking for a strong ABA season.

Rhys Martin and Lindsay Tait do not possess true point guard skills so they will need to produce something special in the offseason to catch a coach's eye.

Tait may fair ok if the Wellington franchise joins the new league as he is playing for them in the New Zealand NBL domestic league.

Tough times ahead.

Larry Davidson and Daniel Jackson will find it hard to go around again if the number of teams are reduced.

Davidson seems to be forever struggling with injury, while Jackson has not cashed in on his limited opportunities.

Caught between a rock and a hard place.

The mayor of Wollongong, Mat Campbell. "Soupy" has played his entire career with this club so you have to really feel for this guy in a time like this.

Campbell would help out a number of teams (see Smith and Grabau) but I'm guessing he does not want to pack his bags at this stage of his life.

Both imports, Dusty Rychart and Kavossy Franklin have served this league well but will probably get caught out in a numbers game.

I believe that Rychart is trying to get Australian citizenship. If his paperwork comes through it becomes a different ball game for him as the picture becomes a little more rosy.

This is one aspect of professional sport that is never good. A reduced number of teams means less jobs to go around.

Sometimes we all have to have a little reality check, the trouble is, it is getting close for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Smith or Grabau? Disturbs me that you think Grabau is even in the same league as Smith? My bet is Grabau doesn't even get picked up anywhere.

John Rillie said...


By no means am I comparing the two players entire careers.

But I'm sure teams will look at things such as age and injury when maybe looking for someone to fill a role within their team.

Smith is a potential Hall of Famer while Grabau has been a very good club man.

Plus I will be interested to see if both these guys are looking to change their post code.

Gaff said...

Nice article which shows that some tough calls need to be made by some long standing NBL players. It's a sad time for professional ballers and fans in this country.

Let's hope that some millionaires can come to the rescue and we have more than 8 teams in the NBL next year. In particular my mighty boom boom Bullets who in 95 produced the most over rated rookie of the year. :P

Anonymous said...

"millionaires can come to the rescue"


Dream On!.

My point of view is that John Rillie wont get a gig next year, and he will find it very hard to get a spot in an 8 team comp.

Greg said...

Anon #2 and here we find you taking the time to leave comments on his site.

Would you mind posting your work address and web site so that we may critique you publicly?? i will wait excitedly by the computer for your reply.

Have an opinion. Don't share it in a dickhead way.

Gaff said...

I know I'm dreaming. that's why I said let's HOPE.

It a shame that my beloved Bullets who won the comp 2 years ago, are now gone and there is no longer any professional hoops to be seen in this great city.

Anonymous - Are you for real that you believe JR won't get a run next year ?!?! Do you have any clue? Did you catch Rillie's last game? Did you notice that the Croc's are in the finals?

Anonymous said...

Great post! Will be interesting times next year. Have you any word of any possible new teams in the comp?