Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kobe/LeBron Nike Puppet Commercials

I know these have popped up everywhere, but I'm sure I have some readers that have not seen these humorous commercials.

These puppet commercials by Nike featuring Kobe and LeBron really rubbed Dwight Howard the wrong way.

So far Kobe Bryant has held up his end of the campaign. Now the questions is, can this year's MVP LeBron James hold up his as he tries to drag his Cleveland Cavaliers over the line against the Orlando Magic?

MVP Rings


Chalk


Unstoppable

Friday, May 29, 2009

NBA Draft Combine ft Pat Mills & Joe Ingles

Not what you want to be on the back page for.

While I try to figure out what the future holds for me, I will not put you guys on hold. Here is the latest news, especially how the NBA Draft Combine is going for the Aussies.

- ABC Northern Grandstand radio commentator Zane Bojak was on top of all the issues happening in the far north over the past day. Click here to here the thoughts of Townsville Crocodiles CEO Ian Smythe, former teammate (again) Russell Hinder and myself on the day's events.

- DraftExpress.com - "Having already evaluated the other players here on multiple occasions, we were especially excited to see Joe Ingles, as he’s generating some pretty nice buzz these days. While there were a few interesting things to take away from this workout, the lack of competitive action seen here means we’ll probably have to wait until the Reebok Eurocamp in Treviso to get a real read on what type of player he is."

"The OT's" very own Joe Ingles is starting to get the attention of many scouts in the USA right now. Keep it up Joe, and all the best with the draft.

- NBA.com - "Austin Daye really stole the show amongst the small forwards. His shot barely touched the net on almost all attempts, and he looked ridiculously smooth in pretty much everything he did. Internationals Joe Ingles and Omri Casspi both shot the ball well. Tyler Smith and Damion James look like they'll be heading back to school, while Sam Young showed some serious athleticism."

Just a small snippet from the NBA Draft Combine.

- DraftExpress.com - Representatives of eight NBA teams spent their Memorial Day in Washington D.C. watching a workout featuring UConn freshman Ater Majok. The Sudanese big man competed alongside college seniors such as UAB’s Lawrence Kinnard and Chicago State’s Josh Mayo, in both individual skill-based drills and a two on two setting. The feedback we received seemed to be lukewarm at best and very poor at worst. Majok is apparently trying to showcase himself as some type of small forward prospect, and the reaction in the gym was not very positive. “He’s five years away from being five years away,” one high-level NBA executive told us. “He definitely needs to go back to school,” said another. Majok’s frame reportedly looked good, and he actually sports fairly nice shooting mechanics. The problem is that he looks like someone that has barely played any competitive basketball whatsoever in the last few years, which just happens to be exactly the case. He’s also not quite as athletic as you might think looking at him on first glance, as he appears to be “more long than he is athletic.” “It’s going to be very tough for him to get drafted this year,” the NBA executive opined. “By the time he’s ready to play, who knows where you’ll be. He needs to go back to UConn for at least another two years” Majok’s “advisors” are apparently exploring the option for him to play overseas next year, according to reports we’ve gotten from teams in Europe."

Sudanese born Australian Ater Majok has his feelers out there. It will be interesting to see if the kid heads to college or Europe?

- Day 1 Draft Combine notes.

- NBA teams are asking draft prospects if they have "friends with benefits" during the interview process.

- Andy Katz ESPN - "Pat Mills showed some Ty Lawson- and Darren Collison- like speed during point guard drills Thursday. Mills isn't a lock for the first round. "I'm doing everything to stay in," Mills said. "If the feedback is negative then I may come back." Mills, who broke his right hand during the season but came back for the West Coast conference tournament, said his right wrist is completely healed after an X-ray three weeks ago.
An Australian Olympian, Mills said he is also going to the Reebok Euro camp next week in Treviso, Italy. "I want to expose myself in these workouts to experience playing in games," said Mills. The NBA draft combine is limited to skill work. "Me being an international player allows me the chance to go over there as well." But he said he won't take a guaranteed contract in Europe over returning to Saint Mary's if he is a second-round NBA pick. He wants to play in the NBA, but he also wants to make sure he's in the first round."


- Yes, we have the Melbourne Tigers back in the mix but there is no cigar for the defending champion South Dragons. They are definitely staying home for at least this season.

- Chris Anstey's premature retirement is over. I'm guessing he is a Melbourne Tiger again.

- 2002 FIBA World Championship All-Star Five player Pero Cameron brings up game 300 in his native country of New Zealand. Congrats Pero..and set one of those illegal screens for old time sake.

- Gold Coast Blaze will announce the signing of Adam Gibson very soon, while captain James Harvey will take a good look at European options first.

- Cairns Taipans feel they will miss the boat on some players with the return of the Melbourne Tigers.

Joe Ingles Workout & Interview

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank You Townsville

Where to begin,…

In situations such as these, there are so many angles you can choose to take. The easiest trap to fall into would be to become emotional over what is, and always will be, a business. Please do not misunderstand the context of ‘emotion’ here.

The decision made by the Crocodiles to sever our professional relationship was a difficult one to hear. I will be honest,…I had every intention of playing my final year with the Crocodiles and moving on to the next chapter of my life after that.

The time my family and I have spent in Townsville will never be looked back upon as anything less than time building a home in a community that we grew to love. We loved the lifestyle and, more than anything, we met people that we will consider life-long friends. Thank you,…we will be in contact with you soon.

So, where to from here? What can I say except onward and upward? I will test the market to see if there is any interest in letting a heady veteran be part of making one last push for a title. If that is not meant to be, we set our best Plan B into motion.

Once again, thank you Townsville supporters. You have treated me and my family better than we could have ever hoped or expected and any expression of gratitude would not do justice to the gratitude we feel in our hearts.

Tigers On The Prowl, Again

If my mail is any good, look for the Melbourne Tigers to hold a press conference at 2pm today.

The announcement should be a positive one about them rejoining the league.

Hopefully new Basketbll Australia CEO Larry Sengstock will also be shedding some good news about the NBL very soon as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Joe Ingles & Nick Marvin Star On "The OT"


Episode 31 of "The OT" is ready for your listening pleasure.

First we catch up with Perth Wildcats CEO Nick Marvin. The man who is seeking $1 million for the Perth communities do tell us that the Wildcats have sent in their License Agreement to Basketball Australia.

Our second guest is Joe Ingles. Ingles is currently in the USA where he is preparing for the upcoming 2009 NBA Draft Combine. Only one of 52 players invited to this event Ingles also talks about his workouts with seven of the thirty NBA teams already.
Oh, and I make some NOYZ in the June 2009 edition of SLAM.

Enjoy the show!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something For Everyone

Could Florida guard Nick Calathes skip the NBA for Europe?

Episode 31 of "The OT" is in the books, so as soon as my partner in crime DJ Rod is finished in the chop shop, iTunes will experience a downloading epidemic.

In the meantime I'm sure you can find a link below to your liking.

- Oscar Robertson can see that LeBron James needs help if he wants to win a title. History shows there is merit in this argument. Julius "Dr J" Erving never won until Moses Malone showed up in Philadelphia.

- Respect is building momentum. Everyone is talking about a Kobe/LeBron Final. Spare a thought for the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets.

- If you are an ABA team in Australia and looking to add an import to the mix, one of these guys may just be the tonic to advance your team into the playoff picture.

My personal opinion is these guys would be of a good standard for our second tier league.

- Former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams is in trouble with the law again.

- WWE boss Vince McMahon has a dig at Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke.

- Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Candace Parker have this cyber thing down.

- You will find Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in court today.

- Former NBA great Dave Bing has been sworn in as Mayor of Detroit. Good luck with that Dave.

- NBA and tattoos, just something we have to get used to.

- I have found myself at this site a few times over the past week. The Ridiculous Upside takes a look back at the 2002 second round draft picks.

- Former Florida guard Nick Calathes seems destined to play in his homeland of Greece. There is a lot of speculation that the point guard has already signed with Europe powerhouse Panathinaikos.

- 730 foreign hoopers have applied to tryout for the 20 available import roster spots in the Korean Basketball League.

- Adelaide 36ers lodge their license agreement, but there are "conditions".

- Boti Nagy shows his feelings about Wednesday's press conference in Melbourne.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Latest For Crocs Fans

Townsville Crocodile fans, this is the latest. I hijacked this press release from the Crocs website from earlier today.


Townsville McDonald’s Crocodiles CEO Ian Smythe believes it is now time to roll up the sleeves, put the heads down and get on with the job of launching the new national men’s elite competition. ‘It has been a long negotiation, but we are ready to go. We have always been positive that the Crocs would be there for next season’ Smythe said “ and the time has come to get on with the job .”

Talks between Basketball Australia and the Townsville McDonald’s Crocodiles are currently taking place regarding the season draw and Smythe believes that it should be finalised and released in the coming weeks. He will also commence negotiations with players and expects to be making announcements early next week.

‘With the competition in the balance earlier in the month with the withdrawal of the two Melbourne clubs, negotiations with players regarding contracts for the upcoming season and beyond were not able to take place, Smythe said. I will however now commence the process over the weekend’ Smythe added and I should have good news in the coming week”

‘Although these past couple months have not been easy, I applaud Larry Sengstock and Basketball Australia for being decisive and getting the job done. It is a disappointment that some teams decided not to participate this season, but in the end I feel it can only benefit the competition as a whole. This season will show just how determined we are as an organisation.

The Crocs have worked hard to keep basketball alive and thriving at all levels in Australia’ he added. ‘All of the negotiating in the off season has been just the tonic the Men’s Elite Competition and Basketball Australia needed with the new season looking like it will finally achieve the level of management and discipline it requires ’ Smythe said. I can’t wait for it to start now, he added.

Other News

- The Ridiculous Upside blog has thrown their vote behind Pat Mills in this year's draft. While everyone is high on Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, this blog points out that Mills was not to shabby himself at the 2008 Olympics.

- Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard feel like they can represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals as they take a 2-1 lead over the LeBron Cavaliers.

- Chinese get involved with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

- Kobe and his wife are suing the housekeeper.

- A ripper Q&A with Steve Nash thanks to BDL and JE Skeets.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Aussies Draft Stock

Remeber this name - Ater Majok

The 2009 NBA Draft is just around the corner so I have tried to dig up as much available information on all Aussies that have a chance to be drafted.

My first stop when looking for draft info is ESPN and their draft expert Chad Ford.

Currently Ford has Pat Mills going to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 28th pick.

It will be interesting times for Mills over the next couple of weeks. Unless he gets a first round guarantee from a team, we may see Mills head back to St Mary's for his junior year in the West Coast Conference.

Mills has not yet hired an agent so he can still choose to go back to school.

Let's not forget this draft is very deep at the PG position and with Mills injuring his hand toward the end of the college season, it may be best to head back to Moraga for one more year.

Ford has yet to include a second round in his Mock Draft but he has Joe Ingles positioned at #38 on the depth chart.

Ingles is impressing with his workouts to date.

Also getting a birth in the top one hundred is Ater Majok at #80. The Sudanese born Aussie who is yet to play a game at UConn will surprise many if he remains in the Draft. He has not hired an agent so the Huskies should see him back on campus soon.

Utah Ute Aussie centre Luke Nevill cracks Ford's Top 100 list. At #88 I'm saying Ford is thinking Europe for the 7 foot Western Australian.

NBADraft.Net also has Pat Mills going to the Timberwolves but at #18. Either the Wolves are bluffing all journos or things are looking very good for Mills.

The Timberwolves have tried both Sebastian Telfair and Randy Foye at the point without much luck.

Mills speed in the open court is what has everyone salivating.

This website has Majok at #52, Ingles at #82 and Nevill at #85 on their Top 100 Big Board.

The DraftExpress has Pat Mills sneaking into the first round with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking him with the 30th pick.

More good news for the Aussies. This site has Joe Ingles going at pick 52 by the Indiana Pacers.

Here are a few YouTube clips. First, Andrew Bogut on PTI and then Ater Majok showing us his skills.

ESPN Australia - PTI with Bucks Andrew Bogut




Ater Majok footage - a little old

Saturday, May 23, 2009

LeBron Becoming Clutch & News

LeBron was King today as he sank the Orlando Magic in the dying seconds of Game 2. More importantly he saved his team from going down 0-2 on the Cavs home floor.

Before we get to LeBron James and his heroics today, let's take a look at what's making news.

- Penrith is a local Sydney association that gave us NBL products in Olympian Matt Nielsen and NBL journeyman Ben Knight. It is still going strong at the grassroots level but there is a fear it may suffer with no local team in a national competition.

Sydney used to host a great rivalry in the Kings vs the Razorbacks. Sadly, neither team is no longer a part of the professional landscape.

- "He's (Joe Ingles) a talented kid; I think he's definitely a strong second-round prospect," Bucks director of player personnel Dave Babcock said. "He can shoot it; he can really pass it. He needs to get stronger, but he's interesting." (courtesy of JSOnline)

Read the full article on Ingles here.

- The latest on Pat Mills, Atlanta Hawks may show some interest with pick 19.

- Utah Utes coach Jim Boylen loves to hug an Aussie, mainly Luke Nevill. (courtesy of the Desert News.)

Ute basketball coach Jim Boylen said last week that it took some love to bring out the best in Mountain West MVP Luke Nevill.
"I used to hug Luke every chance I got," said Boylen.


He said during his first year as coach, Nevill would just stand there, arms stiffly at his sides, looking awkward and uncomfortable when Boylen hugged him.

"My mom's a hugger and I'd hug Luke in the weight room after games and he'd just stand there ... but about the last eight months he's finally hugged me back. That says something. He didn't feel good about expressing that — and I know he loves me," said Boylen. "Sometimes you've got to force it on him."

- Next week (27-31 May) will see the NBA hold a Pre Draft Combine in Chicago. Only two Aussies made the list, Pat Mills and Joe Ingles.

- Fans riot during Greek League Final.

- The Townsville/Cairns rivalry sparks up again tonight. The two teams clash against each other in the QABL.

- Cairns Taipans will chase the top Victorian talent hard, for the upcoming season.

- Help needed. Launceston the winners of the 1981 NBL trophy are looking for some of their lost items.

- Chuck and Larry getting married? Read more from Boti Nagy on this.

LeBron was clutch today!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smashing Good Time

For the people that missed it, Orlando Magic centre Dwight Howard put a halt to today's Eastern Conference Final for a short period of time. Howard beasted the backboard on a dunk which resulted in the shot clock collapsing.

Check out Howard's work but I have dug up some old footage of other assaults on the glass.




Shaq shows Howard how to really do a number on the backboard.




I will always remember this Jerome Lane finish. It was 1988 and I would stay up late at night to catch Al Michael's and his Sports Machine Highlights.




And who could forget Chocolate Thunder, Darryl Dawkins.




This is no average high schooler folks. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Kevin Love smashes a backboard on a break away dunk.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Episode 30 - Is Paul Rees A Character?


"The OT" has reached Episode 30 and I believe we have our funniest interview of all time.

Former Australian (not Bulleen) Boomer Paul Rees joins us for our "blast from the past" segment, and entertained Rod and I as he pretty much interviewed himself.


The 1994 NBL Finals MVP has us in stitches from start to finish. Hope he does the same for you.

Mark Howard the media manager for Basketball Australia joins us as well. He will keep the listeners in the loop as to where we are with the new elite competition.

Please download and enjoy the episode and let us know what you thought of the Rees interview. Depending on the response, we may have to hear from the "Big Fella" a little more.

Boomers Squad Announced

Thanks to Twitter I found out why Mark Worthington was not included in the Boomers squad. Read below to find out more.

- Brett Brown has announced his first ever Boomers squad.

When first reading the names on the list I was left scratching my head. I understand and believe it is a great idea to have the likes of future stars Jason Cadee, Cody Ellis and Brock Motum attend the camp. I have no problem with youth at the camp.

But, I'm going to track Brett Brown down though before I comment on some of the other names on the list. There has to be some method in his madness as to why certain players appear on this National Team squad.

I fear that I will say something dumb before I do some homework on this topic, so I will get back to you with my thoughts soon.

So stay tuned for more, but please feel free to leave your comments about the squad.

Thanks to Twitter, here is why Mark Worthington's name does not appear on the Boomers list. "taking the offseason off to rest the body.....been going for 4 yrs non stop....brett was good about it."

- Andrew Vlahov has a great idea to paint the new competition "Green".

After reading the article, Basketball Australia would be mad not to take a look at this. Good to see Vlahov put his Stanford education to good use finally.

- The Perth Wildcats get paid $100k to play a game in Darwin.

While talking about the Wildcats finances, things are looking up.

Via Twitter, CEO Nick Marvin said,"Signs of support emerge for the Wildcats as first white knight steps up."

All is looking good for the league as the Sandgropers start showing their financial support for their Wildcats.

Who is this mystery White Knight though?

- The Wollongong Hawks have named Gordie McLeod as their coach for the upcoming season.

It is the old "local boy returns home" story but this is a great appointment by the new Hawks front office.

Whatever roster the Hawks put together, the fans will know McLeod will get the best out of them. He has proven this at both West Sydney and Singapore.

- Q & A with Andrew Bogut.

If you are a fan of Bogut's and wish to get up close and personal with him, he has retooled his web address to http://www.andrewbogut.com/

Monday, May 18, 2009

NBL On E-Bay

This piece of Scott Ninnis history can be yours for 10c.

As I pondered as to what to blog about today, it came to me to surf E-Bay to see what quality NBL merchandise is available at a respectable price. Here is what I found. Happy bidding.

First up is a Andrew Gaze signed and framed photo. Asking price - $149.99 + $20 for shipping.

There is no doubting you can argue he has been the country's best product in the sport, but even the great man himself may have a little chuckle at this asking price.

Different story if the photo was of him at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics when he was the flag bearer in Sydney. But it is a "generic" Aussie uniform he is in during the action shot.

I'll be watching this item closely and if it does reach the asking price, I will be donning some of my Aussie gear and getting the missus to take some happy snaps.

The next item's current bid stands at $10. For just a little more a worn Canberra Cannons training jersey could be yours. This is great buying if you ask me. A true piece of NBL history.

I'm trying to find out if it is a Willie Simmons jersey so I can get the goggles thrown in.

Next item is two Sydney Kings signed balls (insert own joke). It is being promoted as "too many names to mention", but I can tell you Mark Dalton, Steve Whitehead, Matt Nielsen and Scott MacGregor are just a few of the names on the balls.

Bidding starts at $29.99. My question would be, can the balls be pumped up or are they flat just like the franchise?

The "best" buy has to be this Scott Ninnis NBL Futera 1995 card. Bidding starts at 10 cents. Yes ten cents, but postage will sting you for a dollar. (I cannot wait for Ninnis to read this.)

Last but not least is twenty one One On One magazines.

Right now you can purchase these mags for a total of 99 cents. Not a bad buy if you ask me because it was a good read every month plus you can reminisce about the good times.

Well I hope you enjoyed my shopping list. It is time for me to go bidding and 10c is way too much for Ninnis.

Is Hoops & Soccer In The Same Boat?

I hate to compare the NBL to A-League but it is amazing how they almost mirror each other.

I came across this article by Gary Lord of FourFourTwo. An interesting read which I'm sure will spark some debate.

I USED to play a bit of basketball, way back in the day. It's a great game - fast and athletic, but (warning to kids) it does take a toll on your knees.

I played for the old City Of Sydney club, which later became the Sydney Supersonics. The Sonics then became the much-vaunted Sydney Kings, in a big blaze of publicity. But the Kings failed to win the league year after year after year, until finally the Sydney public simply lost interest.

The purple-clad Kings were dubbed "the Violet Crumbles" because of the way they shattered under pressure. Despite a dazzling lineup of stars and big-time investors, it took them 15 years to win a championship.By 2007, when Tim "Firepower" Johnston bought the club for $2 million, the marketing momentum of the "new" sport in Sydney was already dead in the water. A few years later, the club's licence was revoked, with around $265,000 in unpaid players' wages, and the disgraced owner fled into hiding (journos tracked him down in London two years later).

Of course, the Sydney Kings were not the only basketball team beset by perennial financial troubles, and now the economic chickens have come home to roost. This week the National Basketball League (NBL) announced a 2009/10 competition that did not feature a single team from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Most insiders agree the new seven team model is unsustainable. Legendary player and coach Phil Smyth has questioned whether basketball can even survive as a full-time professional sport in Australia.

Basketball officials are now seeking a new model for their sport, and looking to the A-League for inspiration But the A-League, as we all know, is having a few troubles of its own. Brisbane and Adelaide have both required FFA financial rescue packages, and the Jets also seem to be floundering. So is the A-League doomed to follow the NBL's downward arc?

Not if you believe Ben Buckley. The FFA chief insists that the Roar and the Reds are just having a few temporary difficulties, the A-League is in great shape, and everything will soon be apples again.But is that the gospel truth, or just a timely bit of spin?

I guess it all depends on how bad you think the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is going to get. Our bankers and politicians are always speaking about "glimmers of hope", corners being turned, and brighter days just over the horizon. But they would say that, wouldn't they?

The people who will really decide when this crisis ends are the big investors, the guys who pony up their cold hard cash to keep the merry-go-round spinning. And right now they all seem to be hurting.

The latest list of Australia's 40 richest people doesn't even mention Clive Palmer, whose wealth is locked under the Pilbara and in an unlisted private company. But fellow mining magnate Andrew Forrest lost $5 billion, and the number of billionaires in Australia fell by half, so you can bet the pain is being shared all round. Even Frank Lowy has taken a big loss, with his estimated wealth falling from $US4.4 billion to $US2.9 billion.

Football fans, players, and club officials in Australia and around the world simply have to deal with this harsh new economic reality. But there's no reason to panic. At least, not just yet.

Money is basically just a big illusion, a shared fantasy that is underscored by trust. If I say that this piece of paper is worth two donkeys and you agree, then we have a working monetary system. If we can get our whole village to agree on the paper system, then we can all stop carrying donkeys around. But once people stop trusting the paper and demand to see real donkeys again, things go back to square one. The GFC is basically just a huge crisis of confidence. Trust has fallen through the floor. Everyone is demanding to see donkeys again, and a lot of worthless paper is being tossed on the bonfire.

But Ben Buckley is right when he says that Australian football is in a (relatively) good position. We have a huge registered player base across the nation, our clubs were all "stress-tested" for financial viability before they joined the league, we have contracts in place for players, stadiums and TV coverage, and so forth. Lots of donkeys out on the pitch, folks! LOL

Australia's football future should be fine, unless a global famine sets in and people start slaughtering donkeys for food. If that happens, a few professional players might need to go and get "real" jobs, and the FFA could just possibly end up like the NBL. The parallels between the Brisbane Roar and the Sydney Kings (also called the "Cardiac Kings" because of their penchant for exciting finishes, never mind the results) bear consideration.

For those of us who remember the old days, it's all kind of ironic. Before the NBL came along, the idea that anyone in Australia would ever make a living playing basketball was just laughable.

Sure, there were big stars like Doctor J and Larry Bird making millions in the USA, but there was no way an Aussie kid was ever going to make it over there - at least until they did. And there was no way our kids could make a living playing basketball in Australia - until they could.

I'm sure a lot of old Aussie footballers can relate to that sentiment. Even back in the 1980s, when Craig Johnston was playing on the wing for Liverpool, the idea that we would have a flourishing professional league in Australia seemed fanciful. Now it seems hard to imagine that it could disappear. But then again, it's hard to imagine Clive Palmer as a skinny, unemployed youngster lacking confidence and self-belief. Times change!

They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Let's all make sure we enjoy the coming season!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

China Has 5 More Yao's

- "I haven't had a full salary since November last year," former Sydney Spirit coach Rob Beveridge said. (Courtesy of the SMH.)

It seems that former Spirit coach Rob Beveridge is looking overseas to secure his future. He had just signed a three year deal with the Perth Wildcats but the club has allowed players and coaches to look at other options while the NBL finalises everything for the upcoming 2009/10 season.

- "It's on the brink of fading into oblivion and I would have thought whoever was in charge at the time, when the club is going through such a crisis, that they would be here to face that," said former Adelaide 36ers captain Brett Maher. (Courtesy of the Adelaide Advertiser.)

Brett Maher did not have a controversial comment through his whole 18 year playing career. (OK, except when he had a cheeky backhander about Barry Barnes and his lack of PT at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.) Now retired, he did not miss when he was discussing 36ers owner Mal Hemmerling absence (due to a holiday) during tough times for this very proud club.

- Kiwi journo Peter Williams scribes a nice article about how new CEO Larry Sengstock will get the sport pumping again.

- Former NBL imports Jerome Beasley and Larry Abney are finding it hard to keep up with Orien Greene.

The three imports are playing in the Dutch Finals.

Game 1 boxscore

- Italian basketball (Serie A) is taking a serious look at changing their import rules.

- Yao Ming is done for the season but the Chinese National Team feels like the future at Ming's centre position is bright. The Chinese feel they have five potential candidates at this position. You would think at least on of them will work out!

- If your looking for a good NBA read, head over to NBAMate to catch up on the latest around the Association. (Great Chauncey Billups article to be found.)

- Daryl Corletto is a POM. The former Melbourne Tiger guard is heading to the Motherland to play some hoops domestically as well as join the National Team.. He will be joined by Chicago Bull teammates Ben Gordon and Luol Deng on the National Team.

RIP Wayman Tisdale

Friday, May 15, 2009

Links, Links & More Links

I've been a little slack over the past few days. Just been a little busy trying to get my life in order.

For now, enjoy all the links provided below.

- Perth Wildcats CEO Nick Marvin has told his players and coaches "to accept opportunities to continue their careers elsewhere".

- From the wild west - the latest from Basketball Australia and how the NBL will/won't survive.

- This opinion comes from the website "The Roar".

- "Basketball Australia couldn't run a chook raffle", said Horsham basketball legend Owen Hughan. (The Wimmera Times-Mail)

- Former NBL player Blair Smith weighs in on the situation.

- Q & A with 4 time Olympian Andrew Vlahov.

- The Wollongong Hawks are getting ready to announce some staff members.

- Where will a team come from in Melbourne?

- Son of former Chairman ready to take over the Adelaide 36ers.

- Former NBL 6th Man of the Year Brad Newley voices his opinion on the NBL's situation.

- A second franchise in New Zealand (Wellington) gets told, thanks but no thanks.

It's All In A Name

Thanks to Rod Benson (of Yahoo Sports, Ball Don't Lie) for providing one of the most entertaining reads I've experienced in a while. Amazing what a Cal grad can come up with.

I can't say the same for everyone, but I've really enjoyed this years NBA playoffs. It seems that every game there's something more interesting than the game before. If the Lakers lose by 30 one night, they come back and win by 40 the next night. If the Hawks lose by 10 one night, they come back and lose by 20 the next night. The Bulls and Celts went to the wire and the Spurs got knocked out early — both surprising results.

For me, the playoffs changed when Antoine Wright failed to successfully foul 'Melo in Game 3. He then started a media frenzy when he asked the media if he was supposed to "Derek Fisher" 'Melo to prevent the shot attempt. Whether he was right or wrong, or the quote was good or bad, it changed the way I look at every player and every play in the playoffs.

Remember the days when a fade-away jumper was called a "Jordan"? A shot off the glass used to be called a "Duncan"? At least that's what we called them where I played. Antoine Wright(notes) opened up a whole new way of naming plays on the court that I had never thought of before.

For example, an extremely hard intentional foul is now a "Derek Fisher." No matter what, it's a term coined forever. Now, if someone tries to "Derek Fisher" you and still hit a game winner, then you pulled a "'Melo." If you pull a "'Melo" without the "Fisher," then it's just a "Big Baby." If you hit a three in somebody's face, then you "Eddie Housed" him. But beware, repeatedly "Eddie Housing" somebody will definitely result in that person "Rafer Alstoning" you right back.

Take off your headband first, please.

Are you starting to see how my mind has been working since Wright didn't wrap 'Melo up?

The thing is that some guys' names already have meaning. Like no matter Paul Pierce(notes) does, pulling a "Pierce" in the playoffs means that you have to get hurt so badly that you can't even walk, and then come back and play like you've never played before.

Pulling a "Kobe" has so many meanings I can't even begin to count.

When I watched Ron Artest(notes) get ejected against the Lakers twice, I would have called an ejection a "Ron Artest." I would have considered cutting a Rockets logo into your hair to be a "Ron Artest." I would have even said that if people call you "Kobenator," that you must have pulled a "Ron Artest," but anybody who has watched the NBA for years knows that pulling a "Ron Artest" involves a cup of beer, a scorer's table, and a melee brawl.

It's all so confusing.

I'm loving these playoffs for a number of reasons — "The Name Game" just happens to be my favorite right now. Thanks, Antoine. I guess the NBA playoffs are where "making a name for yourself happens."

Does someone else's name "mean" something? Let me know.

World Uni Games Teams Named

Basketball Australia (BA) can announce the athletes selected to represent Australia in basketball at the 2009 World Uni Games in July.

The World University Summer Games (WUSG) are held every two years under the banner of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and in 2009 will be held in Belgrade, Serbia from July 1-12.

The women's team contains eight athletes and three coaches from the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) while the men's team contains two athletes from the National Basketball League (NBL), with the remaining Australian players sourced from American universities.



The most represented university is St. Mary's College of California, the current residence of Australian Boomer Patty Mills, with three athletes followed by America's Nicholls State University and Victoria's Monash University with two athletes apiece.


The women's team will be coached by Townsville Fire Head Coach Peter Buckle while the men's team will be coached by former Sydney Kings Assistant Coach and current Australian Boomers Network Coach Bill Tomlinson.

Australia is the reigning WUSG Gold Medallist in the women's competition, having defeated Russia in the final of the 2007 event when coached by now-Opals coach Carrie Graf, while the men's team finished the 2007 event in seventeenth place.

The women's team will undergo a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) from May 18-20 while the men's team will join the Australian Boomers at a training camp at the same venue from June 20-24 prior to departure for Europe.


Australian Universities Women's Basketball Team:

Sarah GRAHAM, Monash University (VIC), WNBL: Logan Thunder Emma LANGFORD, University of Wyoming (USA) Amy LEWIS, University of Ballarat (VIC), WNBL: Townsville Fire Lauren MANSFIELD, Midland Junior College Texas (USA) Mia NEWLEY, Flinders University (SA), WNBL: Adelaide Lightning Elyse PENALUNA, Box Hill Tafe (VIC), WNBL: Bulleen Boomers Chantella PERERA, Deakin University (VIC), WNBL: Canberra Capitals Sally POTOCKI, Southern Cross University (NSW), WNBL: Sydney Uni Flames Alyce SHEARING, Troy University (USA) Kiera SHIELS, University of Sydney (NSW), WNBL: Sydney Uni Flames Marianna TOLO, University of Canberra (ACT), WNBL: Canberra Capitals Louella TOMLINSON, St. Marys College of California (USA)

Head Coach: Peter BUCKLE, WNBL: Townsville Fire Head Coach Asst. Coach: Chris LUCAS, WNBL: Canberra Capitals Assistant Coach Manager: Kirstie DENCH, WNBL: Bulleen Boomers Assistant Coach

Australian Universities Men's Basketball Team: Benjamin ALLEN, St. Marys College of California (USA)Ryan BATHIE, Nicholls State University (USA) Anatoly BOSE, Nicholls State University (USA) Benjamin CONGIUSTA, University of Tennessee at Martin (USA) Andrew HARMS, Monash University (VIC), SEABL: Frankston Bears Carlin HUGHES, St. Marys College of California (USA) Ben MADGEN, Augusta State University (USA) Nate TOMLINSON, University of Colorado (USA) Cameron TOVEY, Curtin University of Technology (QLD), NBL: Townsville Crocs Gregory VANDERJAGT, Central Qld. University (QLD), NBL: Gold Coast Blaze Jesse WAGSTAFF, Metropolitan State College (USA) Cameron WITT, Valparaiso University (USA)

Head coach: Bill TOMLINSON (formerly with NBL, Sydney Kings) Asst. Coach: Brett COXSEDGE (formerly with NBL, Sydney Spirit) Manager: Greg WARNECKE

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vics Are Back In


In some great news for basketball it seems that Victoria is back on the map for the "new" league that will be kicking off in October.

It was hard for me to imagine the "home" of basketball not to have a presence at the highest level.
This article is courtesy of AAP.

BASKETBALL Australia says it will now attempt to have eight teams in the new men's National Basketball League, including a representative fromVictoria.

BA chief executive Larry Sengstock said a meeting of the seven clubs which have submitted expressions of interest for the new competition to replace the former NBL decided it would proceed with plans for a league starting later this year.

But despite the withdrawal of the Melbourne Tigers and the South Dragons from the planned league, BA and the other seven clubs have decided they will find a Victorian representative to add to their ranks.

Cairns, Townsville, Wollongong, Adelaide, Perth, New Zealand and Gold Coast have all agreed to be part of the new league.

Sengstock said discussions were under way with several interested parties to be Victoria's representative in the new competition.
Sengstock said BA would proceed with plans for a 28-match home-and-awayseason - each of the eight teams playing the other four times a year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The OT" - Episode 29


Food For Thought

Mark Worthington and Chris Anstey - perfect rebel league candidates.

It is amazing what thoughts you have when you have spare time during the day. Yesterday my good friend Isaac over at Hoops.com.au forum and I got into a little discussion on Twitter about players and a rebel league.

Below in black is his list while the red ink is my reply.

I understand that this is old news and will not happen due to the recent announcements, but I will play along just so I fire a few players up with my comments.

While I don't think that it's that likely that it would come about, I was wondering which players a rogue league might attract.

John Rillie thinks you'd get enough players interested in a rogue super league, but I'm not convinced that the standard would be all that much better than a budget interim league. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but players (and refs? Not sure about coaches) who suited in an unsanctioned BA/FIBA league would be ineligible for international play (for a particular period? Anyone know?).

Any player likely to make a national team or even squad now or in the future would probably avoid falling afoul of that.That'd leave imports (bar Ere and maybe Thomas if he still wanted to play for CA?), veterans unlikely to be considered for the Boomers (Rillie, McGregor, and potentially guys like Harvey and Black?), and others (Dowdell, Reed, etc).

Going on last season's rosters, here's who I think would avoid a rogue league (add or subtract from the list if you think I'm wrong). Remember, I'm including anyone who might make a Boomers squad in the next 1-3 years, including some that might scrape in if the top players are unavailable for minor tournaments and trials.

Perth: Weigh (work needs to be done if he has aspirations for the National Team), Crawford (may get invited to camp but it will end there), Rogers (will my college teammate play again?), Robbins (camp fodder), Loughton (has Boomer potential), Redhage (will go where the money is)

NZ: Penney (I agree), Bruton (he would have a tough decision to make), Forman See Peter Crawford), Abercrombie , Webster, Daniel, Boucher, Henare (comment for all these Kiwis, my seven year old son is asking for a Kiwi passport because he could make their team right now.)

Melbourne: Ere (Would look for a new country to play in), Kendall (Should call Brett Brown to see where he fits), Greer (undersized for international ball), Thomas (Dicky Knee), Anstey (He is a rebel), Barlow (fair call), Crosswell (Too late in his career for this)

Gold Coast: Cameron (Pero will roll with whoever has the best family restaurant sponsor), Vanderjagt (Boomers are deep up front right now)

Cairns: Crosswhite (see Vanderjagt), Williams maybe (he needs to buy my jumpshot, then he has a chance)

Adelaide: Bruce (if interested in Boomers) (or if Boomers are interested in him)Winitana (see fellow Kiwi report above), Hill (green and gold are not his colours), Schenscher (Brett Brown will have him around), Holmes (No longer going to happen for Jacob)

South: Gibson (he has a chance), Ingles (I'm tipping Brett Brown will love this guy), Worthington (this guy would become the poster boy for this league), Vukona (yes, the kiwis are bad), Horvath (a seppo, sheep shagger..no room for him in a rebel league), Burston (not in the same league as Bogut, Nielsen and Andersen)

Sydney: Khazzouh (he will stay in Europe), Smith maybe (maybe? a certainty), Knight (he would have to think about it), Rush (no green and gold here), Martin (see Robbins and Williams)

Townsville: Hinder (his Commonwealth Games Gold Medal is safe from being scratched by any other medals..his time is done), maybe a Cedar (a young two guard for training bait), Tovey might give up basketball soon? (just don't make it a free throw comp)

Wollongong: Tait (how many kiwis are here?), Davidson (no chance for Boomers) , Tragardh (if it was Australian ABA team, he would be the first one selected) , Saville (retired from international basketball) (stick a fork in him), Petrie (the Tenterfield saddler is a rebel, thru and thru)

That's a lot of pretty decent players.

As you can see, I disagree with Isaac considerably. If it ever got to a rebel league stage, I don't see too many guys having to make the tough decision.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Love To Google Myself - We All Do It

Click to enlarge.

Here is the full article regarding my pants being down.


I Have My Say On It All

This piece may seem a little outdated due to yesterday's events, but I'm rolling with it anyway.

I shot the video footage on Sunday night but due to my lack of technical skills it only became available now.

It is just an honest appraisal of what I was feeling at the time, and it has not changed at all as I have had no contact with anyone from my club or NBL enlightening me on he situation.

Just like the rest of you, players are sitting around waiting for a decision.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interviews Galore

This was Andrew Gaze and Mark Worthington earlier today.

Melbourne radio station SEN has been very busy today promoting the sport of basketball. Some very interesting interviews have come of this extra coverage dedicated to the sport.

- First up was South Dragon captain Mark Worthington. During the interview Andrew Gaze calls into the show to correct Worthington on a few matters. Once Gaze starts it becomes a gloves off affair between the pair.

Great stuff boys, I love it.

- Next up is Melbourne Tigers part owner Seamus McPeake. He drops the bombshell that the Tigers will not be part of any type of basketball season right now. An interesting comment to come out of this for me was, it was the first time in five years that the club did not make a profit.

- Later in the day dual Olympian Jason Smith voices his opinion on all the issues affecting basketball at this point.

- Perth Wildcat CEO Nick Marvin tries to pump up the faithful out west.


Melbourne Tigers Are Done

This is hot of the Melbourne Tigers website.

The Melbourne Tigers Basketball Club has announced that the club will not be applying to be a part of the proposed 2009/10 National Basketball League season.
A meeting of the club’s Board of Directors held this morning confirmed the club’s position.


“The NBL model that has been presented for the 2009/10 season is clearly unsustainable and therefore can not be a part of the proposed structure for the best interest of the club,” Melbourne Tigers CEO Seamus McPeake said today.

“The Tigers have a rich heritage and strong business that will be continuing, and we believe there is a bright future for the club within the sport in Australia,”
“We are looking forward to the reform process being finalised in full and subsequently delivered in the best interest of all stakeholders.”


Further information will follow in due course.

- Check this link out as well. Former South Dragon's captain Mark Worthington calls basketball Australia OUT!

D-Day

According to Boti Nagy of the Adelaide Advertiser it is "D-Day" for professional basketball in this country as we know it.

As I have lifted my self imposed media ban, I tend to agree with Nagy and will expand on this soon.

It is time to make a decision people as we (players) need to know what is going on so life can move on.


ELITE level basketball in Australia is not dead yet but today is most definitely D-Day for the future with three clubs determining their commitment this morning.

Rarely if ever has Basketball Australia's stance in adopting reforms which divest private ownership of the major decision-making been more clearly vindicated than the events of the past three days.

Friday's stunning decision by management of reigning NBL champion South Dragons to go against the strong public stand of club chairman Mark Cowan and instead withdraw from a planned new league sent shockwaves across the sport.

Then on Saturday, former Melbourne Tigers director and minority shareholder Seamus McPeake announced his club also would withdraw leaving existing clubs and potential investors reconsidering their positions.

But McPeake, who quit a BA Board position and last week also quit the Tigers after teaming with Cowan to represent the owners to BA, is not empowered to speak on Melbourne's behalf.

The club's shareholders and board is holding a meeting today to determine whether they do, in fact, continue as they previously had indicated before McPeake's very public outburst.

In Townsville, the Crocodiles' board has scheduled a meeting after the Tigers' to consider its position, contingent on what comes out of Melbourne's meeting.

In Adelaide, a consortium hoping to take over the 36ers from owner-in-absentia Mal Hemmerling - currently on holidays - also will meet this morning to consider its position.
If the Tigers do not follow McPeake's recommendation, BA will have the eight teams it requires to launch a new competition.


But if they do withdraw, BA will re-think what shape its elite men's competition can take.
"There have been a lot of machinations within the Tigers' board," BA chief executive Larry Sengstock said.


"Seamus is a shareholder but resigned as a director last week and can't speak on behalf of the club. We have no confirmation and they have a meeting in the morning.

"Until they notify us formally, one way or the other, we can't make a call on it."

Sengstock said there was a place for private ownership in basketball but the latest crises also showed its pitfalls.

"Some of our owners have done everything they can and have the best interests of the players and game at heart," he said. "How private ownership is structured, that's what this is all about."

The Dragons' decision to quit the competition was revealed by co-owner Raphael Geminder and flew in the face of Cowan's confidence in the new comp and advocacy it had to go forward.


Geminder attacked the reforms process and BA administration, Sengstock having been in the post two weeks.

The attack also comes just days after BA chairman David Thodey was appointed chief executive officer of Telstra.

Article was courtesy of the Adelaide Advertiser.

I will get back to you later today when I find out more from what has transpired from all these meetings happening across the country.

In the meantime, I'm on the job hunt.

Words From the Dragons & Tigers

Here is a news clip that features the words of Melbourne Tigers part owner Seamus McPeake, South Dragons part owner Mark Cowan and Basketball Australia Board Member Andrew Gaze.

The real kick in the guts comes after this short news piece. You get a look at where the sport was at one time in this country.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

An Open Letter From The South Dragons

South Dragons owner Raphael Geminder has come out with an open letter explaining their situation. I appreciate the honesty he speaks with. I'm sure there are a lot of people thinking the same thing.

The letter is courtesy of the Dragons website.

To our sponsors, players, staff, members and supporters,

The 2009 championship team, the Crazy Johns South Dragons have always been about aspiration. Our vision is about an exciting professional league, connecting with a thriving grass roots basketball community and in turn delivering a new level of excitement, to a sport that has lost its way.

We have achieved great things in a short period of time, the highlight being an opportunity to reform our league. The Dragons have remained committed and at the forefront of that process, in an attempt to achieving a meaningful reform.

Reform is never an easy process, its charter was to deliver financial stability, broadcasting of all games, government funding, a new governance and leadership group, a viable budget to connect with community and market the game, adequate player salaries to attract the best talent and finally playing a different period in the year. Sadly this basketball reform has run out of time and failed to deliver on any of its promises.

The Dragons have delivered on our promise, we have paid all our players and staff, we have paid all our debts and we will continue with a sprit of generosity towards the basketball community. We have built the strongest team on and off the court, but unfortunately we cannot tolerate a reform that takes the sport backwards. The reform group have done a good job, with the enormous challenges they have had, but the process has failed to deliver a meaningful change, and regrettably the league needs more time.

We urge Basketball Australia and the teams contemplating participation in a league compromised by its lack of vision or genuine reform agenda to step back and draw breath and let us all work together for 12 months to create something truly inspirational and worthy of our sport.

Minor reform won't revive this sport, we need major structural change and unless the leadership team is prepared to make the tough decisions, the Dragons will have to make the ultimate sacrifice and part company with a board that doesn't share our vision of greatness!

Thank you once again for your continued support. The Dragons have made an enormous contribution to basketball and hopefully with a meaningful reform, they will continue to inspire.

Regards
Raphael Geminder
Co-Owner