Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Lips Are Still Sealed

Basketball Australia made a public statement late today regarding the future of the NBL, but my lips remain closed for now.

Here is what they released.

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock released the following statement with regard to the on-going Expression of Interest process for the new men’s elite national competition to replace the National Basketball League.

“The Board of Basketball Australia held a meeting last night during which the status of the Expression of Interest process was discussed in detail,” said Sengstock.

“Until the Board is able to clarify a number of outstanding issues they are simply not yet in a position to announce details of the outcome of the EOI process. The complexity of this process makes it necessary to take this additional time, as it is vital that we get it right.

“We do however hope to be in a position to make a full statement with regard to the new national men’s competition shortly. Until we are in a position to announce the ultimate outcome of the EOI, we cannot comment on the specifics of the applications of each of the individual respondents for commercial confidentiality reasons.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Aussie To USA College

Jordan Vandenberg is headed to NC State.

Who am I?

"I'm left-handed, but I can score with either hand in the paint," he said. "I also feel like I have good post moves and can score out to 10 feet. The things I do well are use both hands around the basket, and I am a good shot-blocker and can change shots." (Thanks WRAL sports fan.)

Give up? It is a Victorian kid by the name of Jordan Vandenberg who is heading to North Carolina State and the ultra competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.

The skinny seven footer chose the Wolfpack over the likes of USC, Utah Valley and Nevada.

Here is my scouting report on him.

He has attended the AIS, but my understanding is it was not the greatest experience for both parties.

Depending on who you ask, they may use phrases such as "checkered past and uncoachable", to describe the natural centre. But one thing everyone says is the kid has talent.

I recently attended the U/20 National Titles and got to see the lefty first hand.

There is no doubting the kid has talent the minute you see him take a few trips up and down the hardwood.

His strength right now will be at the defensive end. He was by far the best shotblocker at the championship. Not only can he get his hand to a lot of shots, he changes a few with his mere presences.

To become a better rounded defensive player though he is going to have to add some lower body strength. He is thin, so he will be susceptible to back downs. I also feel if he plays next season, foul trouble could become an issue because he is not use to playing against that quality of athlete on a consistent basis.

At the offensive end he has a nice touch around the hoop. I will leave it at that. He is a finishing around the bucket and put back guy right now.

Vandenberg needs to expand his offensive game if he is to become a complete player and be just as effective at the offensive end. A mid range game would really help this guy as he can get to the rim with one dribble.

Overall, if the Wolfpack can afford to take a risk on a guy, Vandenberg is worth it. Redshirting would be a good thing just so he can add strength, work on his offense and get used to the level of play.

Wolfpack fans please remember when fellow Aussie Luke Schenscher graced the Georgia Tech campus he could not walk and chew gum at the same time.

Vandenberg has him covered from that standpoint. I'm sure you guys would love for Vandenberg to finish his career just like the big red head did. The Final Four.

(Audio discussion on Vandenberg.)


- Boti Nagy voices his opinion on Shane Heal's appointment to the Boomers coaching staff.

- New Zealand Breakers put on hold.

- Lindsay Tait gets married and continues to play ball.

- Former Canberra Cannons and Cairns Taipan import Jayson Wells talks about all things basketball.

Boomers Assistants Named

New Zealand Breakers Head Coach Andrej Lemanis gets his chance on the international stage with the Boomers.

This article is courtesy of Sportal.

Three new assistant coaches have been named to help Brett Brown pilot Australia's men's basketball team through to the London Olympics in 2012.

Brown, who was named as the new Boomers coach last month, will be joined by Andrej Lemanis, Shane Heal and Marty Clarke and they will guide the Australian team through until at least 2012.

That means outgoing coach Brian Goorjian will have no role, while Brendan Joyce and Gordie McLeod also find themselves on the outer.

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Larry Sengstock was thrilled with the quality of the new assistant coaches and believes they will be able to help Brown guide the Boomers to an Olympic medal in 2012.

"We have entered a new era for the Boomers and I am excited and hopeful about what this coaching staff can deliver," Sengstock said.

In addition to the selection of Lemanis, Heal and Clarke, Bill Tomlinson has also been drafted in as a network coach to assist in the development and preparation of players on an individual basis.

That means Brown will have four experienced people to call on for advice when required and this should help the Boomers in their quest for an Olympic medal.

Brown, who is currently in the United States working as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA playoffs, was extremely happy with the selections of his assistants.

"They are a competitive, astute group and together we are excited to embrace the difficult challenge of securing Australian men's basketball's first medal in senior men's competition," Brown said.

"Marty has a terrific record with the junior program and knows the playing group well from their time together at the Institute; as a four-time Olympian and former Boomers captain Shane is an untapped resource of great value and an inspirational leader; Andrej has an outstanding knowledge of the game and has done very good things with the New Zealand Breakers; and Billy has been one of the top coaches in Australia for the past 25 years."

Let me know what you think about these selections.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More On The 36ers Saga

Scott Ninnis has plenty of time on his hands right now. He must love reminiscing about his playing days with his daughter!

Thanks to the Adelaide Advertiser, the 36ers franchise is still in the hunt to live on.

POTENTIAL consortium of business people keen to save the Adelaide 36ers and who might shift the club to the Entertainment Centre met last night at a secret location in the city.

The group of "interested persons" includes at least three prominent local identities with the desire and ability to rescue the 36ers. Last night's meeting was held to discuss a joint bid to keep a national league franchise in Adelaide.

A spokesperson for the group who did not want to be identified yesterday confirmed a meeting had been set up for last night and that the group did not want any involvement with current 36ers owner Mal Hemmerling.

"Mal has had his chance and we would want to go it alone," the spokeperson said.

Hemmerling on Thursday in The Advertiser said his bid for a licence in Basketball Australia's new elite men's competition did not meet all of the criteria, specifically the $1m bank guarantee.

Hemmerling said unless BA relented from its hard-line stance on the criteria, he could not field a team and the club would fold.

"We believe the (state) government might be prepared to come to the party considering it is only a bank guarantee," the spokesperson said.

"There's a state election next year and no-one really wants a national league without an Adelaide presence in it."

The spokesperson said the preferred option would be to keep the 36ers playing at the Distinctive Homes Dome, owned by Hemmerling's partner, embattled former childcare magnate Eddy Groves.

But there is a growing feeling a shift to the entertainment centre might garner government support for the club, giving it a permanent tenant for the 10,000 capacity venue.

"It would be a shame to have a venue such as the Dome - the best stadium in Australia and a purpose-built facility - lying idle," the spokesperson said.

"Playing at the Dome would be ideal but we won't know whether that's possible until we consult with Jeff Van Groningen."

Van Groningen was Groves' chief executive officer with the Brisbane Bullets' NBL franchise before Groves' ABC Learning Centres business was beset with financial difficulties.

Last week Hemmerling called Van Groningen in from Brisbane "for advice and to check out his options" on where to go with the 36ers' situation.

Hemmerling is now on holidays for five weeks and Van Groningen back in Brisbane but he will return to Adelaide later this week, keen to talk with any parties interested in taking over the 36ers' licence.

He also gave an assurance that while Groves is keen to sell the Dome, he would prefer to sell it to basketball interests and would not sell at just any price.

"He is keen to keep the 36ers in the Dome as the main tenants," Van Groningen said.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Does Eddie Own The 36ers?

It might not be as easy as "A, B, C", for the Adelaide 36ers. Does Eddie groves own the team as well?

This article will raise a few questions over the next few days. Article courtesy of Fox Sports.

New Basketball Australia chief executive officer Larry Sengstock says the revamped elite men's league "desperately" needs an Adelaide presence.

And Jeff Van Groningen, enlisted by 36ers owner-in-absentia Mal Hemmerling to help find a "solution" for the club, also is adamant the current crisis can be averted. Late last week Hemmerling staggered the basketball community by revealing he could not deliver the $1 million bank guarantee in the new-NBL criteria and that his attempts to find investors had been hampered by BA's delays in announcing the composition of its new league.

He then said unless BA relented on the $1 million stipulation, he could not field an Adelaide team in the new competition. That said, on Saturday he went on a five-week holiday while his club teetered on the brink.

Hemmerling and former childcare magnate Eddy Groves jointly purchased the 36ers and the Distinctive Homes Dome from the state government for $3.95 million in July, 2006. Van Groningen, who ran the defunct Brisbane Bullets NBL club for Groves, was brought into town last week by Hemmerling.

With Hemmerling now holidaying, it left many wondering whether Groves in fact owned both properties, his lieutenant in town. "No, I'm not running the ship," Van Groningen insisted.

"I'm not in a defacto leadership position. I've got a specific brief in reviewing what options to push forward."

Asked whether he had been sent to Adelaide by Groves to wind up a sale of the Dome and the 36ers, he said: "I'm here to try to give Mal whatever advice I can.

"Eddy has an interest because he owns the venue and the 36ers are its tenant but I'm not employed by Eddy. While he's interested in selling the Dome, he won't offload it at any cost and it's his preference to have a tenant."

Pressed further on what the future held for Adelaide fans of NBL basketball, Van Groningen said: "I would find it hard to picture a league without the Adelaide 36ers."

In that he has an ally in incoming BA chief executive Sengstock, who starts in the challenging role. "The bottom line in my mind is we're attempting to and wanting to get teams in each of the major cities," he said last night.

"The Adelaide 36ers have been there for 27 years. "We would desperately like to see an Adelaide team in the (new) league. Of course time is of the essence. The time frame is getting shorter - no doubt about that."

BA had planned to reveal the new league and its content before Sengstock assumed the role vacated by Scott Derwin. But it has been held up sorting the many bids non-compliant with the criteria. Those bids include the one from Hemmerling on behalf of Adelaide.

"I'm not deep enough into yet," Sengstock said when asked what solution he could foresee. But if there is a way, he is likely to find it. His big problem appears to be that, in fact, most of the "expressions of interests" accompanied non-compliant bids.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

LA Lakers - Sasha Vujacic

I have not laughed so much at a You Tube video in some time.

All thanks to Lakers-Fan blog, this is classic stuff. I would not do it justice by commenting on Vujacic's recap of the Lakers Game 1 vs the Utah Jazz. Please just watch.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Join JR From The Sidelines

I'm at it again tonight as the North Queensland Cowboys take on the red hot Manly Sea Eagles in Round 7 of the NRL.

I will be patrolling the Dairy Farmers Stadium sidelines (expert comments) for the official Cowboys call team, 4TO.

Click on the logo above to hear the call from 7pm tonight.

I have to keep it short and sweet as I need to do my research. Let me know how you fell I went.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Lips Are Sealed

This piece of 36ers merchandise may soon become a collectors item.

For those of you that have listened to the latest episode of "The OT" would have heard that I have put a media ban on myself regarding comment on the NBL.

I'm staying true my word so here are plenty of links to fill you in on what is happening.

- The NBL's kickoff date is still in question.

- The Adelaide 36ers may become the next extinct basketball team.

- Cairns Taipan Aaron Grabau talks about the current NBL situation for players.

Cal Bruton - The Black Pearl

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Episode 28 of "The OT"

A rare action shot of Brett Brown in his playing days for Boston University. The new Boomers coach joins us on "The OT" for a chat.

"The OT" has come up with the big interviews this week.

The new Australian National Team (Boomers) coach Brett Brown takes time out of his San Antonio Spurs playoff schedule to discuss the Boomers.

He mentions how Andrew Bogut, David Andersen and Matt Nielsen are the "Big 3" with Brad Newley knocking on the door.

Also our "blast from the past" is a former teammate of mine, Derek Rucker.

Rucker a former Davidson College Wildcat standout touches on all topics that include Tina Arena and her lyrics, Seamus McPeake, Pat Mills vs Stephon Curry and my weightroom habits under tough nut fitness guru Billy Johnstone.

To complete the program, Rod and I discuss the NBA playoffs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Young Aussie Talent

Rhys Murphy and Angus Brandt are joining the Beavers!

Today's entry I take a look at what some of the Aussie NBA prospects are up to and update you on where some of young talent will be attending college next season.

- 8. "Luke Nevill, 7-1, 250, Utah: Reigning Mountain West Player of the Year has nice touch and decent skills, but lacks athleticism." Courtesy of Pro Basketball News

Utah Utes centre Luke Nevill is currently ranked eighth in the Pro Basketball News depth charts at his position.

The Utes all time leading shot block passed up an opportunity to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Neville averaged 17pts and 9rebs per game which saw him awarded the Mountain West Player of the Year.

It is not unusual for a player to skip this tournament if they are confident they have done enough to get drafted. Playing at Portsmouth will only hurt their chances.

- 9. "Aron Baynes, 6-10, 270, Washington State: Australia native had great career to help aid the Cougs' resurgence, but is in the same boat as his countryman Nevill, a smart player lacking athleticism. He lacks Nevill's height, too.10. Goran Suton, Michigan State 6-10, 250: He's not the prototype, but you can't argue with the results he's helped garner, not to mention how intelligent his game is. Will make a living with the mid-range jumper... more than likely in Europe." Courtesy of Pro Basketball News

Unlike Nevill, Baynes felt he needed to play at the Portsmouth Tournament.

Baynes did what was expected, rebound and shoot a good percentage. He averaged almost 13 pts, 8rebs and 1.3blks a game, while shooting 57% from the field.

Any scout that was at the game would have known Baynes can do this.

Click here for complete player stats from the PIT.

- 6 "Patrick Mills, 6-0, 180, St. Mary's: At the very least, he's a tempo-changer off the bench who will thrive at pushing the pace and dribbling around opposing guards like traffic cones. The dimunitive Aussie got to improve his shooting stroke and will be a defensive liability over extended minutes, but if he learns to mask his lack of size, he'll be a difference-maker." Courtesy of Pro Basketball News.

Mills is ranked sixth at the PG position. More on Mills in the coming week.

- Brock Motum has decided to go with his original choice and stay at Pac-10 school Washington State.

WSU has had a coaching change from Tony Bennett to Ken Bone over the past few weeks. Bone and assistant coach Ben Johnson made a mad dash to Australia to meet with the young lefty. He was happy with what he heard and remained true with his commitment to the Cougars.

- Angus Brandt has committed to Oregon State Beavers.

Brandt left the Blue Mountains, NSW last year and caught the attention of many as soon as he landed in the USA.

After some fierce recruiting Brandt has chosen the Beaver over many others. He has been honing his skills at the high school level at Lake Forest (Ill) Academy. He averaged 14 pts and 10rebs per game.

It seemed inevitable the Brandt would land in the North West as OSU and the Academy have close ties.

- Little known Aussie Rhys Murphy has also committed to the Beavers.

Murphy has also been playing high school ball in the States (Maine). He is an athletic wing player who is still very much developing.

My eyes in the USA have commented on how this kid is a real sleeper. Time will tell.

- "The disagreement follows a separate stoush last week over BA's requirement that every club provide a $1 million bank guarantee as a condition of entry into the new league, which led to the resignation of Melbourne Tigers' co-owner Seamus McPeake from the BA board."

Full article courtesy of The Age.

- Boti Nagy tells his side of the story as well.

Cavs Proposal

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

News and Links

Hi 5 to Kellie Crawford for showing the NBL how to repackage a product.

- Boti Nagy tells us the New NBL will be full of the same old same old.

My question to Boti, "who else did he think was going to emerge as a new franchise in this "new" comp?"

To me it seems that the top will be the same but hopefully we will be able to help promote our sport through the associations. Where else are we going to find our next Bogut, Mills or Newley?

We need quality players to keep the sport ticking over well and truly into the future.

- Ian Crosswhite yet to find his touch in the Big V competition. Part time Melbourne Tiger Adrien Sturt has his touch going though. He lit Crosswhite up for 31pts and 18rebs.

- South Dragon guard Adam Gibson was back home (Tassie, we will keep that quiet Adam!) to launch a schools basketball program. Great to see Adam.

- One time Cairns Taipan Deba George looks set to return to the Cairns Marlins ABA side this weekend.

- Cleveland Cavs head coach Mike Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year.

- One of the best playoff games of all time. Boston Celtics vs Chicago Bulls, Game 2. Series tied at 1-1.

- Tony Parker drops 38 as Spurs even their series against the Mavs at 1-1.

- Yao Ming ready to take his Houston rockets to the next round.

- Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio declares for the draft.

Celtics/Bulls Game 2

Basketball Has Found Its Summit?

This was just e-mailed to me as is so I cannot give anyone credit for the publication. Sorry.


A summit meeting of basketball’s key stakeholders hosted by Basketball Australia (BA) in Sydney on Saturday has helped identify some key areas for change as part of the sport’s on-going reform process.

The Basketball Summit was the first meeting of the new BA members and was attended by the Board of Basketball Australia , the sport’s State and Territory Presidents and Chief Executive Officers, and the owners of existing National Basketball League teams.

Led by Basketball Australia Board Chairman David Thodey, the participants discussed a broad range of topics including ways to increase grass roots participation, ideas and strategies for realising the commercial opportunities for basketball and potential competition structures that showcase basketball, expand the appeal of the sport and provide development pathways for young players.

In addition, BA presented its business plan for the next four years, which included the sport’s major priorities going forward as well as setting achievable and measureable goals for basketball and its governing body.

“Our stated goal is to grow grass roots participation in the sport and aspire to the model where the elite levels of the sport create opportunities which in concert with the community allow us to invest in the development of our junior athletes,” said Thodey. “The Summit held on the weekend helped us address some of the critical issues that could have stood in the way of achieving that goal, as well as identifying some tactics to allow us to capitalise on our sport’s strengths.”

“There was some very fruitful discussion in particular regarding community engagement, which is an absolutely critical issue for basketball,” Thodey added. “We have over 230,000 registered participants and hundreds of thousands more who play casually, so it’s vital we find ways to engage them across all levels of our sport. However, we still have a number of issues to work through to make sure that the NBL achieves its full potential and we operate as one sport. The NBL is a critical part of our sport.

“Basketball really is the ultimate family game, as reflected in our new branding of ‘Basketball – Everyone’s Game’, and that essential truth is a vital part of how we will position ourselves going forward.”

Thodey said the Summit fostered a new spirit of unity.

“Quite clearly, everyone at the Summit was united by their mutual wish to see the sport of basketball flourish. That common ground should help guide us through the months ahead as we set about revitalising our sport. There have been a lot of important days for our sport in recent months, but the Summit was absolutely imperative to the long-term welfare of basketball.”


POW To Finish Regular Season - NBA

Sunday, April 19, 2009

NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs kicked off today and I was glued to my TV due to the lack of coverage in the early rounds. I have to make the most of every opportunity. Enough complaining because there were some good games and series that began today.

Boston vs Chicago (Bulls lead 1-0) boxscore

Enough will be written elsewhere about this game and Derrick Rose's rookie breaking game so I'm dedicating little to it.

One thing I will say though, Rose is a big time performer. The bigger the occasion, the bigger he plays. Cast your mind back twelve months ago and the then freshman Rose led the Memphis Tigers to within inches (thanks to Mario Chalmers) of a National Championship.

My question though. Can Rose do this for a entire series against the defending champs?

My Prediction: 4-2 Celtics

Cleveland vs Detroit (Cavs lead 1-0) boxscore

No surprises here. MVP in waiting LeBron James was huge and Detroit's interesting season is only three games away from ending.

The LBJ's (Cavs) should be able to get some rest before they get entrenched in a meaningful series.

My Prediction: 4-0 Cavs

San Antonio vs Dallas (Mavs lead 1-0) boxscore

There is no way the Mavs can continue to get solid contributes from as many people as they did today.

Whether it was JJ Barea (please don't let him turn the corner on a pick and roll) penetrating and scoring, Brendon Bass being in the right spot or Erick Dampier crashing the "O" glass and playing Tim Duncan straight up on "D", the Mavs had all the right answers today.

The Spurs minus Manu Ginobili really struggled to get anything from anyone not named Duncan or Longoria.

I believe that Mavs centre Dampier is the key to this series. While the Mavs allow Dampier to play Duncan straight up, it will be difficult for Spurs like Matt Bonner and Michael Finley to get clean perimeter looks.

Once Dampier gets into foul trouble (it will happen) and the Mavs are forced to double the low post play of Duncan, look for those above mentioned to have an impact on this series.

I'll back the Spurs until Dampier shows he can play back to back good games.

My Prediction: 4-3 Spurs

Portland vs Houston (Rockets lead 1-0) boxscore

If there is a series that I can see being won by the lower seed, than this is it. (Sorry Mookie.)

Playoffs are about experience and the Rockets have more than the youthful Trailblazers.

Yao Ming will show us all why he is a handful and the best centre in the game, while Shane Battier and Ron Artest will wear Brandon Roy down over the series.

Rockets have more at stake in this series to boot. They will be wanting to get themselves out of the first round for the first time in Yao's NBA career while Portland will be gaining valuable experience for years to come.

I do feel a little sorry for Tracey McGrady if the Rockets do advance to the second round. T-Mac himself has never made it out of the first round so I'm sure he will cop a little flack if they win without him.

My Prediction: 4-1 Rockets

Now to tomorrow's games.

LA Lakers vs Utah

I'm a Kobe Bryant fan, so I'm expecting a Lakers win but the Jazz do have me a little nervous.

They have players (Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur) who can get the job done.

Lamar Odom is the key guy for me if the Lakers are to coast through this series. Odom needs to be aggressive so he makes himself a handful for Boozer to defend which will take away from his offensive efficiency.

Kobe will be Kobe and Fisher will make life tough for Williams and Pau Gasol will win the European battle at the centre position. This is why Odum becomes key for the Lakers in this particular match up.

If the Jazz are to put a fair dinkum scare into the Lakers, Andrei Kirilenko needs to come up big. He is the type of player that can have an impact both offensively and defensively for the Jazz.

If Kirilenko is on his game, I can see an upset on the horizon.

My Prediction: 4-1 Lakers

Philadelphia vs Orlando

Andre Miller will run his 76ers ball club with precision but I just cannot buy into the Phila squad due to their lack of consistency.

Although the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are getting over late season injuries, I just feel their depth and experience will be too much.

Don't forget, there is some pressure on Magic pair, All Star Dwight Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy to advance.

My Prediction: 4-2 Magic

Wow, clear the floor and let Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade go one on one for seven games.

If I'm a Heat fan that's what I'm asking for because Johnson has a few more helpers within his team.

Flip Murray seems to be comfortable in his Hawks jersey and his play reflects this. If Murray can continue with his bench productivity, this will be a huge factor in the Hawks advancing.

This series could remind us of the 80's. High scoring from wire to wire. If only I had access to all the games.

This one is going the distance.

My Prediction: 4-3 Hawks

Denver vs New Orleans

This is about point guards, Chris Paul (Hornets) and Chauncey Billups (Nuggets).

Can the Nuggets control Paul in the open court and pick and roll situations? If they do, the Hornets have very little sting in their offense to compete with the high scoring Nuggets.

If the Hornets can upset Billups' tempo, they give themselves a very good chance at making this a long series. Trouble here is, Billups has been around the block before and he is the one that controls the situation on most occasions.

My money is on Mr Big Shot and the Nuggets. It is time the Nuggets did some damage in the playoffs. Billups is just the guy for this squad to make some noise.

My Prediction: 4-1 Nuggets

This gets the blood pumping for a new season, let alone the NBA Playoffs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mills Declares For Draft - No Agent Hire Yet

Pat Mills to the NBA?

Thanks to AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa, we find out that Aussie point guard Pat Mills has entered his name into this year's NBA Draft.

The St Mary's College student has not hired an agent so he is still eligible to return to the Gaels.

BRISBANE, Australia (AP)—Saint Mary’s star guard Patty Mills will make himself available for the NBA draft in June, possibly giving up the final two years of his college basketball eligibility in the United States.

Mills, a member of the Australian national team, concluded his second season with the Gaels, averaging career highs of 18.7 points, 4.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Saint Mary’s lost in the quarterfinals of the NIT college tournament.

On Friday, he told a teleconference initiated by Basketball Australia from Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., that he would not sign with an agent ahead of the June 25 draft at Madison Square Garden, allowing him to return to school if he is not selected.

“It’s a win-win situation for me,” Mills said. “If I don’t get all the feedback that I want or need, I come back for my third year.”

Players who declare their availability for the NBA draft can also pull their name beforehand to retain their college eligibility as long as they haven’t employed an agent.

The 30 players chosen in the first round of the draft are guaranteed three-year contracts.
“It was a tough decision to come across … sitting down with my family and coach,” Mills said. “I really need to push myself and challenge myself to the next level, test the waters and get the feedback.”

Mills, 20, said he has no particular NBA team in mind.

“I will come across them in the next few weeks,” he said. “We’ll sit down and sort out the teams. Right now, I have to work on my conditioning, my basketball. These are the things I am worrying about at this point.”

First up, though, are his remaining classes this school year.

“I still have another semester left and I am doing the best I can to finish them off,” Mills said. “I have never been in this situation, I’m new to it all … learning how to handle the off-court distractions as well as my work on court."

Friday, April 17, 2009

NBL Announcement Postponed Again

All current NBL players or budding ones who got up this morning expecting to hear some news on your future, go back to bed and there is no need to wake up until next week.

Once again the NBL has put off their announcement of the "new" league until next week.

If your not believing what I'm selling, see if Adelaide journalist Boti Nagy can get your attention.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shaq Has Teammates Support In Prank Battle

Larry Sengstock Talks On "The OT"

After a few weeks break "The OT" is back.

The new saviour of basketball here in Australia joins us. Yes, Larry Sengstock saw this program as a great spot to start spreading the new message. More importantly though, Larry talks about how he actually wanted the position.

Also, we start our off season "blast from the past" segment. Former Newcastle Falcon Marty McLean joins us.

If you cannot remember the shooting guard being part of the Falcon's franchise for seven seasons, don't worry you won't be the only one.

I had never had a conversation with this bloke in my life, but he had us in stitches. A real character and entrepreneur.

Listen to find out more about McLean and why he feels he couldn't play in the NBL these days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shaq Gets Pranked

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Overseas Aussies Win Awards

"The OT" is returning very soon.

While it has become a little quiet on the hoops news front here in Australia, a few of our fellow countrymen are achieving elsewhere in the world.

- Pat Mills has been named to the All-Bay Area team. This is the San Fransisco Bay area team. Other Division 1 schools that come into consideration besides St Mary's are, San Fransisco, California, Stanford and Santa Clara.

Although Mills missed a portion of the season due to a hand injury, he was in line for the MVP of this team.

- Mills is not done with his award collecting as he was joined by Utah Ute centre Luke Nevill on the high-major All-America 1st team.

- While Andrew Bogut will not get any awards for his play this year (due to injury) he should be congratulated on the great job he did recently in raising $50k for the Bushfire victims in Victoria. Read all about the event right here.

- This may be old news to some but Matt Nielsen has been named to the All-Eurocup second team.

Nielsen's Spanish team Pamesa Valencia lost in the quarter finals of the Euro Cup to Russian team BC Khimki.

- David Andersen will get another chance to play for a European title in the upcoming weeks.

His team Barcelona will be joined by CSKA Moscow (his old team), Greek power Olympiacos and the Greek "Green Machine", Panathinaikos.

The Euroleague Final Four will be held in Berlin from May 1st through 3rd.

- As the Greek League is heading towards the playoffs, Brad Newley has continued to build on his very solid season. His last performance of 21pts and 8 rebs highlights what a great year he is having.

Look for Newley to impress with the Houston Rockets in the NBA Summer Leagues this off season.

- While on award winners...A fellow Aussie blogger A Stern Warning has asked for some good old Aussie support. His blog banner has been nominated in a contest (a Basketblog Header Playoff) and he needs our support.

Click on the above link and vote for his banner.

I find it interesting that two Portland fans would be put head to head in such a contest.

Andrew Bogut & The Bushfire Appeal

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter - The Calm Before The Storm

I'm sensing that after the Easter Weekend is done the NBL will turn the throttle up a little. The new league is pencilled in to begin in October so time is a ticking, especially when franchises haven't even been announced yet.

In the meantime, there are a few things happening in the sport so here they are.

- Thanks to Perth Now for providing this article on the Perth Wildcats and Rob Beveridge talking about their relationship becoming a marriage.

There are a few things in the article that I will elaborate on.

- "Marvin (Nick) remained defiant over the decision to sack him (Connor Henry) one year into his two-year contract, saying "sometimes greatness calls for tough decisions."

Marvin is Nick Marvin the CEO of the Perth Wildcats and also creator of this Facebook page dedicated to John Wooden and his philosophies. I wonder if he found these words from the great UCLA coach's manual?

Also..."Speaking from the US, where he (Rob Beveridge) is currently coaching children, Beveridge said the Perth job "definitely interested" him."

Check this out to see what type of children Beveridge is coaching. Pretty impressive list of children I might add.

The Nike Hoop Summit game is in the books and Beveridge has only helped his coaching credentials further by leading the World All-Stars over the USA team, 97-89. This snaps a seven game winning streak the US team has had on this annual event.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tune In Baby

Catch me on 4TO from 7pm as I join the call team as the Cowboys take on the Gold Coast Titans.

In about 4 hours time (7pm QLD) my NRL commentating careers begins and hopefully blossoms from there.

I've been lucky enough to snag the sideline comments gig for 4TO FM radio up here in Townsville for the Cowboys home games and it looks like I'm going to be tested straight off the bat.

The weather conditions are not favourable here at the moment. Windy with scattered showers and drizzle. I guess that is inspiration enough to do a good job so I can make it up to the cozy booth upstairs, one day.

So, if you have nothing else to do tonight and would like to give me some good old honest feedback, you can listen to the broadcast (Cowboys vs Titans) on the net here. ( Just click on Listen Now! when you arrive at the home page.)

Honestly it is like game for me right now. Instead of preparing for the opposition and thinking of how I can light them up, I'm researching like a mother to provide the listens with all the insightful stuff.

I'm looking forward to making the most of this opportunity, I just hope I remember to turn on my mike.
- Although Larry Sengstock officially begins on April 27, I'm sure he will be pushing buttons before then. The time is now.
- Andrew Gaze seems to believe that Brisbane will not be a part of the new league.
- Miles Pearce is kissing people in New Zealand NBL. I don't want to see that!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It Is All Beginning To Happen

Larry Sengstock (7) will have to trade in his tight shorts for running a tight ship if the NBL is to get back on course.

I jump on a plane in Los Angles and I arrive in Brisbane and the NBL has started to make some progress in the direction of the New NBL.

First, Basketball Australia announced that Larry Sengstock will take the reins of the New NBL.

From a distance I believe that this is a great hiring. Sengstock and basketball needs no explanation. He has one of the country's best resumes, both domestically and internationally.

The thing that impresses me the most and gives the sport hope is Sengstock has been entrenched in business since he hung up his Puma Luffs.

This is what the sport has been missing. Someone that knows and loves our game while also having the business acumen to woo potential sponsors to the great sport of basketball.

I know it is easier said than done, but I believe we (basketball) have given ourselves every chance to get ourselves out of this rut we have put ourselves in over the past decade.

Sengstock has all the oncourt championship experience that the league named the Finals MVP Award after him. Imagine if he succeeds in the boardroom what basketball will do for this man.

All the best Larry, you have my support.


- The NBL coaching carousel is beginning to heat up. The Perth Wildcats have dumped first year coach Connor Henry half way through his deal. The dust has settled and Henry speaks on the Wildcats decision and his aspirations to remain in Australia. (Was it some 48 yer old that cost him his job?)

It is expected that former Sydney Spirit head coach Rob Beveridge will be the new coach.

Also in the coaching ranks, Joey Wright is the hot mail to take over from Brendon Joyce at the Gold Coast. Some dust just needs to settle between the Blaze and Joyce before anything will become official.

My understanding was that both Wright and Beveridge were in contention for both the Wildcats and Blaze positions. Must feel good to be wanted!

- Sam Harris looking to get career going in Europe.

- Cairns Taipans have seemed to be able to do what the Wollongong Hawks have done. Meet the criteria set by the New NBL.

- Aussies Luke Nevill and Aron Baynes played in the NABC All-Star Senior Game over the Final Four Weekend. (Click on the above link to get the boxscore.)

This is where the sport needs to get back to.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heading Home

The Rillie Family is heading home today from it's USA vacation. Although it has been great to catch up with family and friends, I think we are looking forward to crashing in our own beds.

The only thing is, we are departing on Monday night (USA time) which is the final of the NCAA Tournament. I will have to have a word to my travel guide next time round about our scheduling.

Once I hit home soil I will have lots to catch up on in the world of blogging as I have been consumed by all the live TV action here.

Talk to you when I get to the other side of the Pacific.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuesday Is Looking Like "D" Day

According to Nick Sheridan of The Age newspaper, we all should know more come Tuesday about the New NBL. I cannot wait for this to finally occur.

BASKETBALL Australia is considering a number of rule changes, including shortening quarters to 10 minutes, as part of its forthcoming reform of the National Basketball League.
If introduced, the new rules would bring the NBL in line with the International Federation of Basketball — FIBA — regulations that are set to be formalised at the end of the year.

Ten-minute quarters are currently used in international competition, and are the FIBA standard, although the NBA still plays 12-minute terms.

The other proposed changes include extending the length of the three-point line, so that it will be about 45 centimetres back from the top of the free-throw circle, as opposed to now where it is only six centimetres back, to make three-point shooting a much more specialised area of the game.

There is also discussion about introducing a "no-charge zone" under the basket, to discourage the attacking team's tall players from standing under the ring attempting to draw the foul, thus freeing that space up for players to drive to the ring in the hope of encouraging a more free-flowing game.

The final change would be to straighten the lines on either side of the key, so that it is the same shape as the keys used in the NBA.

The rule changes are being considered as Basketball Australia conducts its comprehensive reform of the national league ahead of next season, which is set to begin in October.
The national basketball body is also set to announce a comprehensive rebranding of all its operations on Tuesday at Federation Square.

The rebranding will cover every aspect of Basketball Australia's operations, from BA itself through to the state and local basketball associations.

BA will also use Tuesday's event to announce its new chief executive, who will replace current boss Scott Derwin, who announced his intention to stand aside last December.

Tuesday's announcements will be accompanied by an attempt to set a world record for the number of people dribbling basketballs simultaneously. The record, set in the UK, stands at 1289. Tuesday's attempt will begin at Federation Square at 12.30pm.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Final Four Predictions

Watch for Stanley Robinson and his high wire act today against the Huskies.

The Final Four is here. While coaches around the nation have gathered in the Motor City (Detroit) over the past few days to mingle, the important stuff has arrived.

It is about six hours until tip off so let's take a look at who I feel has the goods to make their way into the championship game on Monday.

Home state team Michigan St (30-6) hosts Big East power Connecticut (31-4).

Although Ford Field will be very pro Spartans I think the Huskies will be too strong for the fast finishing Spartans.

UConn has depth everywhere. Scoring primary comes or is created through point guard AJ Price (15ppg, 5 apg). How he goes usually dictates how the Huskies offense goes.

A lot of there offense is created through their defense though, especially with 7'3 junior centre Hasheem Thabeet. The projected lottery pick contributes 10 plus rebounds a contest but more importantly 4.5 blocks a game as well as many other intimidating efforts.

While Thabeet intimidates around the hoop, rock solid power forward Jeff Adrien (13ppg, 10rpg) collects many of the oppositions misses to kick start the fastbreak.

Stanley Robinson has caught the attention of everyone during the first four games of the tourney. His high flying antics have allowed him to become a great weakside defensive helper.

Look for this trio to put their stamp on this game very early.

Now to the backcourt. Besides Price, the Huskies have a few other guys that can have an effect on the outcome of the game.

Freshman Kemba Walker (9ppg, 4apg) comes off the bench and adds to the Huskies fast pace. The New York native's open court play has helped UConn immensely this year.

Senior Craig Austrie could be the guy that makes the Huskies National Champs. This squad needs a consistent perimeter threat and he may just be the guy to provide this. Against a stingy Spartan defense, a few long bombs may just become the difference in a tight game.

Now to the Spartans.

It starts and stops with Kalin Lucas. The Big 10 Player of the Year is the heart and soul of this team, much like Price for the Huskies. Lucas leads them in scoring (almost 15) and assists (4.5). His match up against Price could be the difference between which team gets the victory.

The guy that has been big time for the Spartans during the tournament has been centre Goran Sutun. He has upped his season averages (10 & 8) immensely and is averaging a double double (14 & 11.5) in his last four games. He needs to give the Spartans a presence inside early so the UConn big men do not control the painted area all night.

Durrell Summers (8ppg, 3rpg, 1apg) is my difference maker for the Spartans. If he can continue his tournament form he will have an impact on the final result for the Spartans. He has added incentive to play and succeed as both his parents have lost their jobs in recent time.

Although the Spartans have surprised a lot of people throughout the their run to the Final Four I believe it will end today due to UConn's superior depth and experience.

Not even Tom Izzo's great tactical game will extend his team's run in this tournament.

I cannot wait to watch this game as I believe it will be the game of the day.

After I return from the park with my children I will give you my UNC/Nova preview.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Links Everywhere

Larry Abney won something in Holland or did he just buy a trophy with his Taipans money?

Sorry about the laziness over the past few days people, but I'm in San Diego just taking in the sights and sounds of sunny southern California with my family before I head home.

As there are many fine golf courses down here, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a links edition.

Although it is the lazy way out of blogging, there is plenty happening in the world of hoops that is holding my attention.

Hope the same can be said for you. Enjoy!

- A hot topic here in the USA over the past few days has been where will Mike Dunlap end up when his coaching merry-go-round stops. The wait is now over people. He has signed on as the assistant coach at Oregon for a lazy $400k.

I will go on record and say that the players of Oregon better get ready for the individual workouts they are about to become part of.

Dunlap is the best I have worked out for in this area. Players can do nothing but improve. He is that good I would send my own kids his way...just to see if he can break them down.

- Australian basketball will have a presence at the Final Four in Detroit this weekend. Both Aron Baynes of Washington St and Luke Nevill of Utah will play in the Hersey's College All-Star Game on Friday (Saturday Down Under).

- "The only thing that Shaq likes better than speaking his mind is giving nicknames to big guys who get dunked on. If Robin Lopez doesn’t push back, he could end up like “Ericka Dampier” or Andrew Bogut, who is “Ericka Dampier with a beard.” Maybe Lopez can be “Ericka Dampier with stupid looking hair.” Courtesy of Dime Mag.

Get to get the full story behind this Shaq quote chick here.

- This article is for all my Australian friends that think I'm a little one eyed towards Gonzaga and their success. Read for yourself, it is a great place to play.

- Former Canberra Cannon boss Ron Harvey honoured by the International Olympic Committee.

- Boti Nagy fills us in on what is going on around the traps.

- Boomers can be found in Vegas over the off season.

- Luke Schenscher is looking at overseas option.

- Julian Khazzouh loves to surf. Who would have thought?

- Former Kings import Jerome Beasley given second chance in Holland after setting fire to the wrong thing.

Just couldn't go past this footage!