Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Back Baby, The OT

These ladies are happy to see "The OT" back.

With a Marv Albert, YESSSSS ringing through my head, I'm happy to say The OT is back.

This sites podcast has been on a hiatious for most of the off season due to some shenanigans, but I have mustered up the testosterone to give this whole process a crack myself.

My former partner in crime DJ Rod and myself have had to part ways (not our own doing) so I've jumper into the drivers seat and am learning the technical side of things on the fly.

Enough of the small talk.

On this week's episode of "The OT", I review Round 1 of the NBL as well as look forward to Round 2.

My special guest is Wollongong Hawk and dual Olympian Glen Saville. He talks about the Hawks surviving and what it meant to be able to play last Friday night at the Sandpit. Sav introduces dynomite point guard Ty McKee to the Aussie delicasy, the boiled spud.

Turn in and let me no what you think of the solo effort.

In other news, Mark Worthington and Ben Knight play Starsky and Hutch the night before their season tips off against the New Zealand Breakers, at The Cage. (Also can be viewed on Fox Sports at 7.30pm Wednesday)

On his own blog Worthington describes Knight and himself as Starsky and Hutch, but I think of this combo more as Columbo and Murdock from the A-Team.

Worthington tells us that, "We have had some trouble in my neighborhood with people opening mail, stealing credit cards (Benny Knight's) and leaving mail in different places. Tonight I found him. The thrill of the chase was on." (full story here)

I cannot wait for more on this story. so please keep us posted Wortho. I'm thinking Dukes of Hazzard style next time boys!

The Wollongong Hawks are at it again. Leading the way with "Most You Tube Footage", the Hawks Larry Davidson talks about getting "hammered", while dropping and giving Glen Saville five as he does the interview.

Already there have been whispers around the league wondering if the Hawks can be stayers. Same must be said about their "underground" journos.

All that said, I love your work Wollongong. Keep it going.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Team Of The Week

Not even the King could have stopped the red hot CJ Bruton in Round 1.

Since there is no Fox Sports magazine style show, I thought I better continue in the tradition of the sport, and hand out a team of the week.

Rules are simple. You need to be a winner during that week, unless you drop 50 and have 20 rebounds in a triple overtime thriller.

Point Guard: CJ Bruton - The New Zealand Breaker was nearly perfect in his season opener against the Cairns Taipans. 28 points on 10-11 shooting (8-9 from deep), no one could ask for a better offensive start to their season. He even jagged 5 rebounds and did not turnover the ball at all in his 26 minutes of playing time.

Shooting Guard: Tywain McKee - Every year there's an import that captures everyones attention early. This year the label squarely sits with this Butch Hays look-a-like. The Coppin St grad has the Hawks firing early and the Perth Wildcats got a taste first hand on Friday night.

McKee finished with 22 points to go along with 7 assists. The only real blemish was a late game turnover that led to a potential game winner for the Wildcats.

The shot missed so for now McKee is the hero of the new NBL.

Small Forward: Kirk Penney - Mr New Zealand basketball has started the season on a tear. Last year's MVP is cooking on all cylinders from the start.

Penney finished the game with a Round 1 high of 32 points on 11-17 shooting and 4 assists.

The only question I will ask of Penney is, can he maintain his current pace for the whole season? He was involved in a huge off season with his national team, so will petrol become a concern late in the year.

I only see burnout being the only thing that stops Penney this season.

Power Forward: Cameron Tragardh - Tragardh registered the first 20-10 game for the season. This also saw him reach 500 rebounds for his career.

"Tragargamel" has been on fire all preseason. Can this ABA juggernaut lose that title with a huge NBL season?

Centre: Rolan Roberts - The Townsville Crocodile import has had a rough preseason. Battling foul trouble and fitness to date, Roberts posted a double double (11pts, 12rebs) in the season opener.

Roberts needs to play smart and save his fouls for late in the game. The Crocs need his defensive athletic presence around the basket.

This week will test this philosophy as he takes on the Twin Towers (Luke Schenscher & Paul Rogers) from Perth.

Strained Calf For "Homicide"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All Things NBL

A couple months ago it seemed it was going to be a stretch for the NBL, but last weekend saw the NBL kick off it's 32nd season.

Although there has been some complaining amongst NBL fans regarding the overall coverage that has been given to the opening week, here is everything that I can dig up regarding the start of the 2009/10 NBL season.

- Melbourne Tigers coach Al Westover is confident Olympian Mark Worthington will be ready for the Tigers season opener on Wednesday night against the New Zealand Breakers (1-0).

- Adelaide 36ers lose on opening night in Cairns. Despite a near triple double by John Gilchrist (20,10 & 6) the 36ers had a scoring drought during the fourth quarter. Former 36 and now Tiapan, Dusty Rychart closed in on a triple double (10,14 & 6) as he helped the northerners to a 86-75 home win.

- As always, Andrew Gaze is upbeat.

- NBL trying to put a little Aussie into their game night presentation.

- Tywain McKee is the new sheriff in Wollongong.

- New Zealand Breaker CJ Bruton is to become a better shooter after off season surgery on his elbow. CJ, expect to hear from a few players over the coming season, requesting the doctor's name.

- Have you taken Boti Nagy's NBL quiz?

- Al Westover believes the NBL should be a 12 team competition.

- Perth Wildcat captain Shawn Redhage has 10 reasons why his Wildcats will win the NBL title this year. Personally I thought #5 should have been higher on the list.

- Wildcats Head (Ranga) Coach Rob Beveridge is looking to build a dynasty out west. Last Ranga to build a pretty good dynasty was a guy by the name of Ronald (MacDonald). Now those are some big shoes to fill Robert.

- For all of Round 1's boxscores, click here.

- West Aussie journo Shayne Hope actually thinks I read his stuff?

- And a little self promotion to end this edition.

Wollongong Hawks/Perth Wildcats Highlights

Finally Get To Hear From Hawks Import Tywain McKee

It seems that I'm plugging a lot of Wollongong Hawks stuff of late. Easy fixed, if any NBL team sends me an e-mail and links, I will have no problem in putting your story into the cyber world.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Which NBL Player Was Nearly On Suicide Watch?

Wollongong Hawk's rebounding machine Cameron Tragardh tells us that his new teammate Ty McKee is a "top five player" in the NBL.

Tragardh Talks Pre Game

Man of the moment Cameron Tragardh talks pre game before his Wollongong Hawks take on the Perth Wildcats in their season opener at the Sandpit.

He believes, "8 is the new 10".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Please Explain

Can anyone explain to me what Townsville Crocodile Head Coach Trevor Gleeson means by "putting the bikkies on the table"?

I know I have led a sheltered life, so can someone please explain!

Are The Blaze Ready To Ignite?

Will Peter Crawford getting the starting role over Michael Cedar tonight?

One of tonight's NBL clashes sees a Queensland Derby take place on the Gold Coast. The home side Blaze take on last year's semi finalist's the Townsville Crocodiles.

For me this is a tough one to call because both teams have shown some inconsistent form during the preseason. Trust me, I'm not one to read into preseason results but I'm sure both teams would have preferred to have all hands on deck during the preseason.

For the Crocs captain Russell Hinder has been restricted in practice due to a calf injury, while Brad Williamson continues to battle a dodgy wheel. Both these guys would have been penciled in as starters at the being of the year.

Throw in "new" recruit Peter Crawford's nation team commitments, the starting two guard has had a disruptive preseason on his return to the north.

At the end of the day though the Crocs play will be heavily dictated by Corey "Homicide" Williams. The NBL's king showman will have to get used to a lot of trapping and double teaming because I'm confident to say teams will be wanting to get the ball out of his hands and make someone beat them.

Crocs coach Trevor Gleeson has been tight lipped about who will start for his team, so I will be interested to see if there are any surprises come tipoff.

Now to the Blaze. Here is a franchise that recruited heavily in the off season but to me, their balance is a little off.

Guys like Mika Vukona, Anthony Petrie, Pero Cameron and new import Michael Joiner will all be battling for frontcourt minutes with sole centre Greg Vanderjagt.

In the backcourt you have combo guard import Ayinde Ubaka teaming with Boomer Adam Gibson and scoring machine James Harvey. The Blaze will get away with playing all three at one time so this will add in allowing the Blaze to play a style of game that Coach Joey Wright enjoys.

Either Chris Goulding or Tyson Demos need to step up this year and give their team some scoring punch off the bench. Very much in the same role as Michael Cedar for the Crocs.

As I've mentioned, form goes out the window in this one, but my call is Blaze by a few. The only reason I see it going this way is where the game is being played.

A few alternative ways of keeping score and getting a winner in this game.

- Let Corey Williams and James Harvey go one on one for the win. The crowd may be entertained with this concept.

- Last idea is count the number of dribbles Williams and Ubaka have. First to 250 losses.

The only other game tonight sees the Wollongong Hawks host the Perth Wildcats. The Sandpit will be rockin so I'm sticking with the home team in this one.

If you missed last night's game, the New Zealand Breakers handed the Cairns Taipans a twenty point loss, 95-75. boxscore.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yes, The NBL Starts Tonight

For those of you who were not sure when the 2009/10 NBL season kicks off, it is tonight over in Sheep Shagger (New Zealand) territory. That in itself is a mystery as to why you open the season in a foreign country of your own national competition.

The good news for fans is you can catch the action between the Kirk Penney, CJ Bruton led New Zealand Breakers and the Queensland Government sponsored Cairns Taipans. For those that have Fox Sports, you can fluff your couch pillows and get the popcorn ready for 5pm sharp so we can expand our vocab in Kiwi native tongue. (What will be the first word? My call is jump ball.)

To support my feelings that not many fans around the country would realise the NBL begins it's "new" season, I found this article by Matt Stevens from

Let me know what you think about the way the 2009/10 season has been promoted.

Oh, and a tip for the game, Breakers by 20+.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ron Ron Involves "Homicide"

Today I was sitting at work trying to get a deal done with a farmer in Horsham when I received a text message from none other than former teammate, Corey "Homicide" Williams.

Before checking what he send me, I went out on a limb thinking he realised it was only three more sleeps until he takes the floor in the Townsville Crocodiles season opener against the Gold Coast Blaze and he was going to ask me if he could borrow my jumpshot.

Not so, he wanted to direct my attention to the latest Ron Artest rap video.

A few text messages later and he had finally nailed down the two minute mark as where Ron Ron, via lyric, delivers "Homicide's" cameo performance.

Check it out. I'm sure there will be something in the video that will grab your attention.

If you have to wait for buffering of the video, that just means Corey is watching it again or maybe, he may just have it on loop.

Side note: Artest is sporting his Peak appeal (Chinese company) with style, the same company that outfits the Australian Boomers. It may be a stretch, but could we see Artest in Green and Gold Peak gear anytime soon?

Monday, September 21, 2009

David Barlow In Spain

Former NBL star David Barlow has had a fast start with Spanish team CAI Zaragoza.

In his last game Barlow had an MVP game on the back of 24pts. If your quick you will see a few highlights from Barlow.

In another recent game Barlow dominated once again with 27 pts.

And I think this guy is pumping up Barlow's tyres.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Classic Q&A

Over the past few weeks there have been a few bloggers/journos contact me for the traditional Q&A.

My man Mookie over at A Stern Warning has tried to go out on a limb and ask a few curly questions.

Have a read and see how I handle the hard hitting topics!

"The name John Rillie has become ubiquitous in Australian basketball online media. After bursting onto the scene in the National Basketball League as a shaved-headed Rookie of the Year with the Brisbane Bullets, he went on to play for the Adelaide 36ers, West Sydney Razorbacks and ultimately the Townsville Crocodiles. All the way, "The Real Deal" was regarded as one of the most feared shooters in NBL history -- willing and ready to drop a dagger from deep at any moment.

During his time in Townsville, JR set up his blog,
JR, On Fire. His interaction with fans whilst playing in the NBL and his promotion of the game for no financial return have been revolutionary in the game. Hopefully the league has been paying attention to how successful this form of PR can be for Australian basketball and JR's fine work is replicated. Ever the giving and great character, John agreed to an interview with A Stern Warning to discuss his views on all manner of topics from the NBL to NBA to cage fights.
Mookie: This has been the first time in many years that you've not been preparing for an NBL, European or College basketball season -- has your lifestyle changed much lately or is it still the same old workaholic, gym-rat JR?

John Rillie: For now my lifestyle has changed. I work a few different jobs around the traps and am trying to get involved in the coaching scene as well. I look forward to helping the juniors of Townsville out and hopefully we can unearth some talent. Beware of the U/16 Men's team at this year's State Classic. I'm a gym-rat of a different kind now. Trying to develop an eye for talent except on a Tuesday night when I cut loose in the local comp.

Mookie: We've all seen a dramatic shift in the nature of the NBL competition in the last couple of years. Where do you see Australian domestic basketball in five years' time?

John Rillie: In five years time I actually see the NBL being very strong amongst the sporting landscape. The sport is currently seeing a record number of kids heading to the USA college system. This can only be good for the development of the kids and then ultimately the sport in our country. (We first need to fix up the rules that we have in place restricting so many of these kids when they return.) If the NBL can keep this thing moving forward, I truly see the sport regaining the popularity it discovered in the 1990's.

Mookie: You've mentioned recently that you're involved with a Sports Management operation that is getting off the ground. Do you have any more details that you can share at this stage?

John Rillie: Sure. Brevalto is the name oft he company and it involves myself and 2 other guys here in Townsville. I'm hoping to use my experiences and knowledge to help out others in the professional ranks. Also on board is Barry Gibson who has experience in the sporting arena as a CEO of several NBL franchises and other sporting bodies. Let's call him the negotiator. To round out the group is Townsville lawyer Jeff Guy. We feel as a company we offer the full package for any athlete that is looking for a professional service. Although hoops is our bread and butter we are looking to expand into other sports.

Mookie: Journalism or Sports Management? Which path do you have more of a passion for?

John Rillie: Journalism is a very loose term when describing my penmanship. I love to put my thoughts out there (as I believe they are always right) although they may not be always represented with the best English. Sports Management is exciting from the point of view of being able to identify talent but then being able to provide a platform for them to succeed both on and off the court/field/stage.I look forward to helping make a difference in an athlete's life.

Mookie: Apart from maybe Chris Anstey, you've been the first NBL player to make blogging a regular thing. Do you see player websites, twitter feeds and the like becoming a thing that the NBL embraces and promotes down the line to the mainsteam and perhaps a way out of the marketing holes of the past decade?

John Rillie: I believe this is an area the NBL/franchises have not really embraced or utilised yet. I cannot figure out for the life of me how each club could not have one player blogging (or being interactive in the cyber world) for them. I know you need the right guy, but there are guys out there that would love the opportunity. There are plenty of personalities in our sport.

Mookie: What is your finest memory on the basketball court?

John Rillie: There are a lot so college wise it was helping guide the Gonzaga Bulldogs to their first ever NCAA Tournament experience. It will be something I always remember and cherish. And then nothing beats walking out at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Still to this day, words cannot truly describe the feeling I had on that Athens summer night.

Mookie: What is the weirdest habit that you've ever seen from a teammate in your time around the traps?

John Rillie: Wow, where to start. Kevin Brookes getting his jocks dry cleaned was interesting to me. Paul Rees checking his wallet ever single game with 8 minutes remaining in warmup. And Kelvin Robertson always gets changes in a toilet cubical. I'm still trying to find out if he wears a Superman cape under his uniform.

Mookie: I know that family is a HUGE part of your life. Are you one of those "soccer mums" who get fired up about their kids to the point of going too far, or do you sit back and enjoy the action?

John Rillie: I sit back and watch the action sipping on a coffee but I'm churning on the inside. You only ever want the best for your family. I did get a kick out of my son the other day when he dropped a three with time expiring. He was pumped about it, but I gave him nothing but I was a proud parent at that point in time.

Mookie: Bruce Bolden and Roger Shiels in a cage fight -- only weapon allowed is "the stare". Who wins?

John Rillie: Bolden wins only if I'm not in the building. I can break his concentration better than any man alive. I "soul glo" my hair and sport a safari suit and Bolden becomes putty in my hands.

Mookie: You've watched as much NBL action as anyone in this young pre-season. Who do you see as the team to beat this year?

John Rillie: New Zealand Breakers are the team to beat. They are solid across the board and should improve on last year's campaign. We all know the Melbourne Tigers have a few moves up their sleeve though.

Mookie: ... and who will be the dark horse?

John Rillie: You would have to say the Wollongong Hawks. The preseaon champs to date need to carry this form over the the regular season.

Mookie: Who is set for a breakout season?

John Rillie: Preseason would have you believe Hawk Cameron Tragardh. Gordie McLoud's system seems to suit the ABA scoring machine plus his body seems in better shape than when he was younger. Here is a guy that would not be in the league if the YAP rule existed in his early years. Just some food for thought.

Mookie: Over in the land of the Star-Spangled Banner, which NBA team/s are you looking forward to watching this season after the flurry of off-season changes?

John Rillie: I'm looking forward to Allen Iverson in Memphis. Critics underestimate the pride an athlete has in his own perfomance. AI would not be happy about the way last year went down. I'm looking for a big one from the little man. From a team point of view, the LA Clippers. Can Baron Davis play inspired this year with a young group around him. And the Cavs. With Shaq and LeBron, the time is now for the Cavs to win.

Mookie: Your boy Newls, do you think he is going to find himself joining David Andersen in Houston anytime soon?

John Rillie: Newls is certainly working himself closer to a NBA contract. If he continues to develop as he has over the past two years in Europe, maybe next summer becomes the cherry on top ."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Five I Watch With Interest

John Gilchrist cannot afford to be a zero for the Adelaide 36ers.

The 2009/10 NBL season is only a week away. Like any season there is always speculation about what will happen and who will emerge as the champion.

Here are five players I'm going to watch with interest throughout the season.

1. Cameron Tragardh (Wollongong Hawks) - The preseason MVP is looking the goods, but is he ready to elevate his game to a new level this season?

The former Most Improved winner has his body in the best shape I have seen it, ever, so this will only help as he strives to be a consistent night in, night out player.

There is no doubt the QABL Player of the Year has plenty of confidence going into this Hawks campaign. Averaging a Kobe Bryant like 42 points per outing to go along with a Michael Cage like 14 rebounds, Tragardh seems primed for a great season.

Helping his cause is the addition of Wollongong legend Gordie McLeod to the sideline. McLeod's motion style offense plays to the strengths of "Trigger's" arsenal at the offensive end.

What I actually believe is the biggest help to Tragardh's cause is the lose of Dusty Rychart to the Cairns Taipans. Tragardh no longer has to look over his shoulder for solid playing time. This situation gives a player confidence in knowing that they are required to perform at a high level if the team is to reach any worthwhile goal.

MVP may be a little stretch for the Brisbane native, but I'm looking for the scoring machine to have an impact on the upcoming season.

2. Jesse (
Kendall) Wagstaff (Perth Wildcats) - One of two guys who I think will compete for the Rookie of the Year award, Wagstaff has come onto the NBL scene after a solid college career at Metro St in the USA. (Same school that produced Melbourne Tiger pairing of Luke Kendall and Mark Worthingon.)

The 3/4 man is very active and shows a good nose for the ball at both ends of the floor.

I have only seen the kid play three games but he plays with energy and a pose that will see him have nights where he looks like a seasoned pro. (Sure there will be those rookie nights.)

Heading west Wagstaff will get an education everyday at Wildcats practice as he goes against Olympians Martin Cattilini and Shawn Redhage.

Coach Rob Beveridge loves what the kid is about and so do I. Look for the Canberra junior to be around the mark when the ROY is announced.

3. Second Fiddle Croc (Townsville Crocodiles) - Point guard Corey Williams will always accumulate his stats and win some games on his sheer determination but the bigger question for the Crocs, who becomes the next best consistent option.

If you look through the roster, it is full of players that have been asked to perform a particular "role" over their career. (I hate to use the word role because everyone has a role to play within the team, but I know you understand what I'm saying here.)

Now there is an opportunity for someone to grasp with two hands and run with it.
Peter Crawford or Michael Cedar are the obvious choice to me to ride shotgun with "Homicide", but these two guys are going to be battling each other for court time. Tough gig right there.

Crawford comes back to the Crocs after a holiday with the Perth Wildcats for the past five years and there is an expectation placed upon "PC". With a disrupted preseason due to national team commitments it may take Crawford a little time to settle back in at home.

Cedar has been performing at a high level over the preseason but the majority of his minutes have been a the point guard position. With the return of Williams from a "mystery" illness and Kelvin Robertson slowly regaining his confidence from a long term knee injury, Cedar will slide back to his natural two guard position.

For the Crocs to reach the playoffs this year they will need someone to be able to step up on a nightly basis and become Robin to Williams' Superman.

Who will it be? That is the money question if the Crocs are to advance in the playoffs this season.

4. Tim Coenraad (Wollongong Hawks) - My other favourite for the Rookie of the Year award. This Queensland product returns from a
college experience at Nova Southeastern University where he averaged 13.3 pts and led his team with 85 assists his senior year.

The 6'7 small forward will see some minutes at the four spot as well.

After seeing him perform in Darwin what I liked was the swagger he played with or as one coach told me, "Tim always plays with a chip on his shoulder."

I love that and that is why he will surprise a lot of people this year.

Look out, this kid will have a very productive NBL career. Think a cross between Shawn Redhage and Kent Lockhart.

5. John Gilchrist (Adelaide 36ers) - The new kid on the block has been thrown the keys to drive the 36ers back to prominence. The former Maryland product has been impressive during the preseason but now we are playing for keeps, so lets see what he's got.

I was a fan of the aggressive point guard during his college days under Gary Williams and he has shown he is capable of dropping a triple double on your in a heartbeat.

To date, how Gilchrist goes, so do the 36ers.

Sure, Adam Ballinger and Cortez Groves will explode for huge numbers on certain nights, but it will be Gilchrist's level of play that dictates where the Sixers end up on the ladder.

If he is a consistent performer, I believe the Sixers are top four material, otherwise they fall back to the pack just like so many teams this year.

**Thank you readers for picking up on my cartoon reference mishap. As many of you pointed out, it should read Batman and Robin, not Superman. I was never one for cartoons as I was too busy working on my "J" early on a Saturday morning.

Shooting Stars by LeBron James

2009 NBA MVP LeBron James appears on the Daily Show with John Stewart promoting his new book, "Shooting Stars".

Check it out and hear about LeBron "trying pot", hangin with his friends and how Stewart tries to recruit James to the New York Knicks.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
LeBron James
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Couldn't Agree Any More, Boys

My boys Haggard and R-Diddy over at Can't Buy A Basket deserve to have this type of stuff published everywhere.

Well done boys and the cheques in the mail.

Here is what they had to say about the upcoming season for the Townsville Crocodiles.

"The Crocs made a hard hitting decision to axe sharp-shooter John Rillie and the tall Daniel Egan merely hours after the new league was established. The decision to let Rillie go was surprising. Sure the guy is 38, but the guy was their captain, a great inspirational leader on the court, shot well and carries his team into the second round of the playoffs against the highly touted Wildcats in last years finals series, he probably had another season or 2 in him even possibly in a diminished but team leader role . The Crocs will miss his ability to rack up points but the blogging community will benefit from a known identity being able to devote more time pumping their knowledge and thoughts into cyberspace.

Townville made the smart decision to retain import point guard Corey Williams. Williams with his stocky structure , addictive bravado and former landing strip haircut is one of the most recognisable players on the court. Whilst Corey is at his strongest in his high energy game taking the ball to the hole and drawing contact CBAB believe he earned his nickname ‘Homicide’ through his ability to kill his own game averaging almost as many turnovers (4.3 per game) as assists (4.4 per game), his lousy 3 point shooting (20%) and ordinary free throw shooting (63%, 149 from 236 last season). When you get to the line as often as Corey (7 attempts per game) it pays to be able to hit them. While "Homicide" has shown he has gradually been able to develop at least a semi reliable medium range J, does he have the beyond the arc range to cause defences to guard him closer rather than back off and try to stop his dribble penetration.

Rolan Roberts will fill the other import slot that Rosell Ellis occupied. Fans will probably remember Rolan as the guy that hurt his arm in the slam dunk competition and subsequently walked out on his contract stating that he was owed many months worth of salary. Roberts brings a type of athleticism that is rarely seen in the NBL but has father time taken it's toll and will Rolan have enough left in the tank to produce the numbers expected of him . He can bang away in a power game then jump over his opponent , well that's what we remember of him anyway, but has father time given his athleticism a good old spanking, we will find out soon into the season . Roberts will be a hard one for the other teams to match up with if he is even a glimpse of the player he was when he was doing his last Tour De NBL .

Russell Hinder counts his fansBig man Russell Hinder returns and nobody could really care, the big Hinderance will still be around throwing elbows and grabbing crotches for the 09/10 season. While a servicable big man Rusty has been a little over rated in his years due to Boomers selection in lean years where other players were not available. He will provide good minutes but needs to keep his brain in order and body parts off other teams players, Stephen Hoare would seem to demand alot of the minutes Rusty previously had but the big goose can still give solid numbers when needed.

Role players Cameron Tovey and Brad Williamson will continue with their business as usual types of game. Tovey shows glimpses of being a good basketball player and then he’ll let his mind wander , he also really really needs to work on his free throw shooting, he had some very forgetable moments at the line in season 08/09 . If Tovey can concentrate in greater stretches he could have an impact on this roster. Williamson has shown he can hit the three ball, but is it enough to replace John Rillie? CBAB don't really think you can replace JR with anybody but you can always try.
The Townsville admin rallied hard to get veteran Stephen Hoare signed. Hoare has been the definition of ‘role player’ whilst he was a Tiger and gave a little bit of everything. He battles hard for rebounds, will dive on the floor for a loose ball, has a consistent jumpshot , he is the consumate role player with a great basketball IQ, his addition can only be a good thing for the Crocs as he will now get more minutes in the rotation to show just how much he is worth . After being the benchmark as a role player for many seasons how will his role change at his new club? Will he be able to stand up should his role increase? CBAB believes he was the ability and the head to do so. Can he be a star? No, Can he be solid? Yes.

A couple of ex-Wildcats head east. Peter Crawford will most likely be starting for the Crocs. PC brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and the Crocs will be able to use his tight outside defence and three point range. The only criticism is we would like to see PC take the ball to the hoop a little more and not rely on running off screens and camping outside. Jeff Dowdell followed PC over east and CBAB would like to see how Dowdell is used on the Crocs Roster. CBAB think he was over utilised as a Cat and has no game that can translate into efficient NBL level minutes, he is still considered a young player but a perimeter shooting tweener at best.

What they Need: John Rillie’s axing leaves the biggest hole in the team. They have bought in other players that can hit the three, but who will be able to hit them win it matters late in the game. Rillie had a knack at hitting clutch shots. When looking at this roster you don’t see anyone that can do that.Adding Hoare to the frontline doesn't hurt them at all as last season they were very shallow on big man depth, it seems that is the case again this year but at least they have other players who can at least step into the void rather than just plain having a void, size it seems is the only tool lacking at the crocs.

2009/10 Prediction:

The Crocs fans are loud and passionate and always filling their arena. For this reason its hard to win in Townsville. The Crocs success will lie in their ability to win on the road.

The Crocs have some good basketballers. Williams, Roberts, Crawford and Hoare can all play at a high level. How will they gel? Can two large personalities like Williams and Roberts coexist? You knew that with Ellis you had a team player that didn’t crave the limelight. Is Homicide prepared to share it this season , if not will that then make it a suicide instead?

The obvious question is what will they get form their next tier players. If players such as Tovey, Hinder, Robertson, Williamson and Dowdell can take a step up the Crocodiles could be competitive; but is that likely to happen? Probably not. Expect the Crocs to make the playoffs but not go beyond the first round and push for the finals. "

Dunk You Very Much

Just ran out of time this morning to do a complete and worthwhile blog so hopefully these few You Tube highlights will wet your appetite until I can get back to you with something that has substance.

First highlight is from athlete swingman Tom Abercrombie. The young New Zealand Breaker cleans up his own miss from the free throw line with a dunk.

Quite an explosive move and one I have not seen in a long time at the NBL level. There is no doubt Abercrombie has talent, but can he produce it on a regular basis for the Breakers?

The second highlight to come out of the Top End Challenge is from Adelaide 36ers import Cortez Groves.

Groves has the ability to produce a highlight and this is no exception. Down the pipe and over the top of new Breakers recruit Awvee Storey.

This play created a buzz in the top end over the weekend. I heard about it via many of the kids in the crowd, but it was not until I saw this footage that I realized how athletic the play was.

Monday, September 14, 2009

John Stockton - HOF Speech

While the weekend basketball buzz is all about Michael Jordan being inducted to the Basketball Hall Of Fame in the USA, here is the greatest Zag of all-time being inducted.

Below is John Stockton's speech that he made during the HOF ceremony.

True to his word, his brother Steve was/is a baller.

I was introduced to both the Stockton boys when I was fresh faced and new to the Gonzaga campus.

Sure I knew who John Stockton was, and I could not wait to get onto the floor to kick his ass but I was more interested to find out where his brother played.

Steve was blessed with a mirror image game of his brother's, right down to the trademark one hand pass. I guess he passed a few of his tips onto his younger brother in those drive way battles.

I remember asking the question one day at an open gym session,"What country does Steve play in?", thinking he at least played overseas.

He had never played pro ball in his life.

Back to HOF Stockton. He was the ultimate professional and I guess I can say by seeing him go about his business on a day to day basis, it helped me realize what dedication is required if I wanted to become a successful pro.

He would lift weights, then work out individually then return in the afternoon to scrimmage against the college guys.

Now scrimmaging against him was fun. It was a buzz to be on his team, but a great challenge to play against him. You certainly cherished a win on the odd day when you would catch him off guard.

I have to say though, I did question his scorekeeping abilities on more than one occasion but that's what made it fun.

Congratulations to John Stockton and his family. Quite an achievement, but no one deserves it more than you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Homocide Out"?

Thanks to a switched on Townsville Crocodiles fan (thanks K-Bell), this is how the news was spilt that Crocs flamboyant import "Corey "Homicide" Williams would not be playing in last Thursday night's preseason clash against the Cairns Taipans.

"Spell Check" anyone?

*** After further research I have noticed that the "i" and the "o" are next to each other on the keyboard. Honest mistake?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Taipans Strike

Former Kiwi international Phill Jones has produced the goods for his new team the Cairns Taipans so far.

Last night saw the Cairns Taipans win an overtime thriller against the Townsville Crocodiles, 89-86 in front of a small crowd (couple hundred) in Townsville last night.

Crocs new signing Peter Crawford had a chance to win the game for his team at the end of regulation, but his missed free throw with 1.5 seconds remaining saw the game head into the extra period where the Taipans remained the more composed team to escape with a sloppy win.

From the outset, the game was marred by turnovers from both teams but it was the Crocs that got off to the fast start (up 7-0 to start the game) and it seemed they would not miss the services of import Corey Williams (sick), Russell Hinder (injured) and Brad Williamson (injured).

Slowly but surely the Taipans (missing Aaron Grabua and Gary Boodnikoff) worked themselves back into the game, thanks to some sizzling Phill Jones shooting, and led 46-44 at the main break.

The second half saw neither really stamp their authority on the game but the Taipans held a narrow lead for the majority of the time.

Fast forward to the last 10 seconds of regulation and the Taipans used their remaining two team fouls to eat up the clock and have the Crocs take the ball from the side.

With five seconds left in the game Crawford penetrated from the top of the key to the basket and was fouled and send to the free throw line with 1.5 seconds left.

First one was successful, while the second found a way to bounce off the front of the rim, and time expired.

In overtime it was back to back Skip Mills threes that opened up a five point lead for the Taipans. Sensing that the game was over the Taipans next few possession ended in disaster (shot clock violation on one). This allowed the Crocs a sniff.

Cutting the deficit to three and Crocs had one last chance to send it to a second overtime. The Crocs called timeout so they could advance the ball to half court and run a set play.

A well executed play saw Kelvin Robertson get fouled with 2.5 seconds left. Thinking that he had spotted up from the land of plenty the referee righted called only two shots for the "Kelvinator" as his feet where all over the line.

Thinking of making the first and missing the second, Robertson missed the first free throw. After missing the second on purpose, the mad scramble for the ball saw time beat everyone.

The Taipans walked out of the gym as winners but I'm sure neither coached would have been happy with this scrappy, turnover laden affair.

Both teams will now head to Cairns as they round out their preseason schedule with the return game on Saturday.

Thoughts From The Game

- Phill Jones is in good early season form. He was shooting the ball well at the Top End Challenge and it continued last night. His game high 17pts came at an efficient 67%.

I believe Jones will win his team at least 3-5 games this season due to great shooting performances on certain nights. With the games shortened to 40 minutes, someone like Jones who can score points in a hurry will have a huge impact on games.

- Taipans import Skip Mills (16pts, 9rebs) is solid without being flashy. The combo guard was not too heavily involved in the offense early, but it was his two threes in overtime that helped the Taipans build their lead.

- Crocs import Roaln Roberts (16pts, 9rebs) looks like he needs to continue to work on his fitness. Where I noticed it the most is his finishing around the basket. He has not found his touch around the hoop yet.

- Michael Cedar (Crocs) forced to play the point guard spot in the absence of Williams was solid with 15pts 6/16fgs, 8rebs and 6 assists.

- Cameron Tovey was the only player to record a double double (13pts, 10rebs) but his back to back three point attempts during the third quarter were not exactly good offense by the Crocs.

- I was impressed with the composure Taipans centre Ian Crosswhite played with last night. Finishing the game with 16pts, 5 rebs and 4 assists, he displayed a good feel for the game.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

High Flyer & Spain

I'm not usually one to get caught up in the action of high fliers throwing down dunks that we have all seen before.

But, sometimes you have to make exceptions to the rules and thanks to Yahoo I have found one of those exceptions. Guy Dupuy has put together a little collection of his gravity defying moves.

Currently the European Championships are on as the top nations fight it out to see who can qualify for the 2010 World Championships in Turkey.

Click here to find out how top ranked Spain is doing. Also, former Sydney King and Townsville Croc import EJ Rowland is playing for his new found country Bulgaria. Way to go EJ and good luck. Something I would have never of thought, EJ a Bulgarian

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mike Dundee Wants Marketing

Is this the Mike Dundee that has been dropping by?

The letter below is from a swaying fan, Mike Dundee, who has posted on this site with his thoughts and opinions about what has happened to the NBL over the past off season.

I love that Mr Dundee has taken time out to pen his thoughts.

I will be interested to see what other "fans" have to say about these thoughts!

"Can somebody tell me ONE TANGIBLE THING that this so-called "reform" has changed other than shortening the games?

To start off, here is a list of sports that are more popular among the viewing public / sports media than basketball:

Aussie Rules
Rugby Union
Rugby League

The average Australian sports fan has never even heard of Chris Anstey or even Andrew Bogut. The main thing this reform is sorely lacking is perspective. Basketball in Australia will never be more popular than those sports. Also, the NBL has completely ignored the diehard basketball fan. First of all, reducing the quarter length to ten minutes has made all records and statistics from the past entirely redundant, which is basically like taking a big, greasy dump on the proud annuls of NBL history. What will result from this will be a low-scoring, Euro-style slogout, when the NBL should be looking to the NBA for inspiration, not Europe. Our game has always been more like a poor-man's NBA than the European game: fast, free-flowing, high-scoring, isolation-based, and (sometimes) exciting.

The other thing we need to admit before we move forward, is that Australians have never been particularly successful at basketball on an international level. We're getting better, but still play without aggression, don't know how to play defense, and rely too much on outside shooting. This is not very exciting to watch, and doesn't win games.

We've had two players in history successfully crack the NBA, and both of those have been seven footers. More than anything, we need perspective and real, attainable goals if anything is actually going to be "reformed".

I liked Larry Sengstock as BA CEO when I first heard about it, but he just hasn't done anything yet to earn his bread. Sengstock has never played in Europe. He never played US college ball. He too lacks perspective.

The saddest thing about this reform is that nothing has actually changed yet, and I can't see anything changing any time soon.


It's still called the NBL. It's still going to have the same, trite courtside entertainment and music from the early 90s. The jerseys will still look cheap, tacky, and terrible; the sponsors will be second-rate. The powers-that-be will still spend ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on advertising (the season tips off next month. Has ANYONE seen a LICK of NBL-related advertising? I certainly haven't, and I'm on the LOOK OUT for it...)

(as a side note, any player that has had their contract void this offseason would have a very reasonable argument in a court of law that they are owed a payout from their club. The NBL argues that since the contracts were signed in the "Old NBL", they are no longer valid in the "New NBL". I would argue that there is no "Old NBL" or "New NBL", just an unchanged, existing NBL, rendering all previously signed contracts sound and unbreakable.)

But, most of all, no one will be watching.

Why would we? I'll check out the odd game here and there, and keep loose tabs on my team, but I'm an enormously devoted, basketball-crazy fanatic for Christ's sake! Shouldn't I be watching every game? If this is what I'm going to be doing, how will someone with only a vague, passing interest in basketball engage with the NBL? Why does the NBL continue to sit idly by and wait for fans to come to THEM?

All of this rubbish reform talk is completely moot. It's simple guys. Advertise. Advertise hard, use a world-class ad agency, and keep doing it. For the next five years. For the next twenty years. Just advertise. Please! I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall just thinking about it. You can't just expect to be successful by "hoping", without spending any money on advertising. A twelve year old could tell you that. This is so frustrating.

It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better..."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Will the NBL have to make rules for Twitter like the NBA?

Well, I have given the art of journalism a crack over the past four days so I better reward myself with a day off. Below you can read what the experts are saying about the world of hoops.

- Top End Challenge organiser Andrew
Vlahov is looking to do it bigger and better next year.

He is looking at the possibility of it including tournaments that include local Northern Territory teams as well as WNBL.

- Adelaide 36ers Head Coach Scott
Ninnis liked what he saw from his team in Darwin. Now they get ready to take on the In-form Wollongong Hawks in South Australia this week.

- Townsville Crocodiles Head Coach Trevor Gleeson believes that this NBL season will be the
tightest season yet seen.

- Former Perth Wildcat Alec
Loughton is heading back to Spain where he kicked off his pro career.

Could Brian Goorjian be the next head coach of the Chinese National Team?

- Can Larry Sengstock become
this country's Larry Legend?

- Captain
Phill (Jones) to lead the Cairns Taipans.

- Former Tall Black coach Tab
Baldwin finds himself back in Turkey.

NBL players better get tweeting before Larry Sengstock comes down like NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hawks Win Top End Challenge

Larry Davidson was a unsung hero for the Hawks all weekend.

The final of the Top End Challenge was the top dog versus the under dog. New Zealand will start as favourites through my eyes when the regular season rolls around, but the blue collar boys from the ‘Gong are making believers out of this guy.

The Hawks once again proved their doubters wrong with a solid win over the Breakers, 94-88, to be crowned champions of this NBL preseason tournament.

The first quarter was a tightly contested ten minutes. Larry Davidson of the Hawks continued his good form with seven points for the quarter, while Kiwi youngster Tom Abercrombie led the Breakers with six.

The Hawks started to hit their straps in the second quarter as they extended the lead to thirteen before the Breakers reeled it back to seven at the main break, 50-43.

Davidson was busy with twelve for the half while new import Tywain McKee slashed his way to ten points.

Scoring machine Kirk Penney was involved more in the quarter and had reached double-figures (10) by the half. Abercrombie remained consistent finishing with 11.

After the break I was sensing the Breakers would turn up the heat and make a game of it. Instead the Hawks continued to utilise their ball movement and spacing which saw them up by as many as 18 in the third term.

Tournament MVP Cameron Tragardh put his stamp on the game during the "championship" quarter where he dropped in sixteen for the period, giving him 20 for the game.

Enter the fourth quarter and the Breakers looked like they were going to snatch a victory right from in front of the Hawks’ face. Breaker import Awvee Storey (quiet weekend) came to life and was beginning to look a little more comfortable with the surroundings, adding six for the quarter.

The Breakers managed to cut the lead to one with 1:16 left in the game and everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting for something from the Breakers. It never came as Penney could not get involved for the Breakers offensively.

The Hawks managed the end of the game very well by getting the ball into McKee's hands.

McKee calmly knocked down four free throws over the last minute to keep the Breakers at bay.

Tragardh finsished with 23 to lead all scorers while he was well supported by McKee's 21 and Larry Davidson’s 16.

For the Breakers Penney was the best with 20 and Abercrombie finished with 16.

Random Thoughts

- All Tournament Team - James Harvey - Gold Coast Blaze- Corey Willimas - Townsville Crocodiles- Kirk Penney - New Zealand Breakers- Tywain McKee - Wollongong Hawks- Cameron Tragardh (MVP) - Wollongong Hawks

- Wollongong Head Coach Gordie McLeod has his troops believing in the system right now. They were the best team as far as ball movement and unselfish play was concerned.

- Hawk Cameron Tragardh has a nose for the ball on the offensive end. All weekend he was in the right place at the right time.

- Hawks Rhys Martin impressed me with his all round game. Although a small point guard he does a great job on the glass.

- Although there is hype around about New Zeland Breaker Tom Ambercrombie, teammate Corey Webster is a player too.

- Tywain McKee will have people out of their seats during the game.

Tigers/Wildcats Review From Top End

The Melbourne Tigers sent the Perth Wildcats home winless from the Top End Challenge, beating them 84-79.

The Tigers saw Chris Anstey and Sam MacKinnon back in there lineup after have a rest yesterday. Anstey looked refreshed and good the Tigers off to a fast start with nine points in the first quarter.

On the otherhand, 7'0 red head Luke Schenscher saw his first action in a Wildcats' uniform tonight. He was ice cold in the first quarter, shooting six blanks.

At half time the Tigers went into the change rooms up 41-36. Luke Kendall came to life and finished with thirteen at the half, courtesy of three long bombers. Anstey continued to have an impact as he took his tally to 15.

For the Wildcats, Kevin Lisch was having a solid all round game with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Schenscher scored his first point as a Cat but managed just 1-of-8 shooting.

The score remained rather close during the bulk of the second half, with the Wildcats hitting the front by three for a brief stint.

Fast forward to the last three minutes of the game where the Tigers held a three point lead.

Martin Cattilini had a tip in to get the Cats to back within one, but it was a Kendall three pointer that gave the Tigers a seven point margin with 80 seconds remaining.

Although the 'Cats got it back to three in the dying seconds, Kendall calmly knocked down four free throws to ice the game for the Tigers.

Kendall led all scorers with 25 while Anstey contributed 21 to the Tigers tally while veteran Cattilini was the top scorer with 19 for the Wildcats.

Random Thoughts From The Game

- Biggest play of the game, Darryl Corletto deflects a ball that smashes my laptop screen. End of weekend for JR, but I cannot wait for the mail on Monday when Basketball Australia has sent me a new one.

- The Wildcats played the twin towers of Paul Rogers and Luke Schenscher in a couple short spells together. I think that will be the end of that experiment.

- Melbourne Tigers back up centre Daniel Johnson will be a player of the future.

- Wildcat Stephen Weigh seems to have benefited from an off season with the Boomers. He was aggressive all weekend.

- Chris Anstey is still the best player (or toughest cover) in the league

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quick Hitters

Tim Lang would have loved to have been this high.

Day 3 action is only minutes away so here are some pieces of information I gathered from yesterday.

- The man of the hour for the Wollongong Hawks was Cameron Tragardh. He dropped a quick fire 40 on the lack luster Gold Coast Blaze. Tragardh had us in stitches after the game when he tried to convince us he did it on e one leg. He tried to say his calf was tight.

One of his teammates was quick to fire back, "Imagine how many you could of had if you had two good legs, Trigger?"

I will get a game time update on the one legged bandit.
- It's only a rumour but Chris Anstey and Sam MacKinnon should be seen in uniform tonight for the Melbourne Tigers.

- While New Zealand Breaker Tom Abercrombie had the play of the night with a tip jam off a missed free throw.

Blooper of the night went to young Tiger hopeful Tim Lang. The former Stetson grad did the right thing by creating a steal at half way. The "big fella's" eyes lit up as the runway was clear for take off. Too bad the mind and the body were not in sync ( side not, he just walked past as I'm writing this..haha). With dunk in mind he made it to about nine feet. Unlucky for him the hoops in Darwin are ten foot high.

Too make it worse for Lang there was a timeout after this disaster. Too make matters worse one of the Tigers coaching staff asked, "Are you ok or just humiliated?"

- The Adelaide 36ers are going to be short on numbers today due to injury and players heading back to South Australia to play in the final of their ABA.

Is Scott Ninnis thinking of doing a Shane Heal, player/coach scenario?

- Luke Schenscher has been given clearance by Kobe Bryant and the Los Angles Lakers so he will suit up tonight for the Perth Wildcats against the Melbourne Tigers.

- World's best team manger "Big Joe" of the Gold Coast Blaze takes his job very serious.

I have noticed his bench productivity has gone way down since the cheers girls were present last night.

Day 2 Review - Hawks vs Blaze

Cameron Tragardh touched the Blaze for 40
There’s a freight train in Darwin right now and its name is the Wollongong Hawks. They beat the new look Gold Coast Blaze tonight 107-90.

The recipient of their stellar play was Cameron Tragardh tonight. The ABA scoring machine elevated his game to those levels tonight. Going 16/20 from the field “Trigger” dropped 40 in thirty one minutes of playing time.

Thirty of them come in the first half where it seemed the Blaze defense was putty in Tragardh’s hands. He scored on face up jumpers, spinning floaters and a flip over the shoulder that had me believing he may drop fifty.

After the break he slowed a little but Glen Saville (20pts) and import of the moment Tywain McKee (18) picked up the slack to help the Hawks cruise through to the final tomorrow night against the New Zealand Breakers.

These guys were not the only ones causing trouble. Long armed point guard Rhys Martin was very solid with a 12pts, 8 rebs and 5 assists performance and Larry Davidson chipped in with 12 pts and 8 rebs.

Although the Hawks had a healthy lead for most of the second half, it was Joey Wright’s ejection in the second quarter that helped open up the game.

For the first nineteen minutes this was a very even contest but the Hawks received six free throws and the ball after Wright was escorted to the locker room. This stretch of play saw the Hawks head to the locker room at the half up 11.

Blaze import guard Ayinde Ubaka (15pts) came to life in the third with nine points which helped cut the three quarter time lead to six.

McKee soon snuffed out any hope of the Blaze making a game of this. A transition three by the Coppin State grad pushed the lead back out to double figures midway through the fourth.

Game, set and match as the Hawks spread the floor and continued to make the extra pass for an uncontested shot the rest of the way.

For the Blaze James Harvey and Anthony Petrie had 19 a piece to lead the team.

Tomorrow the Blaze will take on the Townsville Crocodiles for third place.

Random Thoughts From The Game

- Blaze import Michael Joiner had a Rolan Roberts type night fouling out in sixteen minutes.

- Pero Cameron missed this one as he is still getting over an injury he suffered in the NZNBL.

- Zac Delaney of the Hawks saw his first game time here in the Top End Challenge. The diminutive point guard will become a cult figure in the Gong.

- Matt Campbell missed this one for the Hawks as he has a badly sprained finger.

- After pumping up rookie Tim Coenraad’s tyres yesterday, he backed it up with a donut. Oh, to be a rookie.
I’m sure Blaze Coach Joey wright will be disappointed his team only created three steals. Wright coached teams love to create easy opportunities off of turnovers.

Day 2 Review - Crocs vs Breakers

Rolan roberts had his best game in Crocs colours, but it was not enough to help his team get over the NZ Breakers.

The New Zealand Breakers were clinical in their 102-91 win on Friday night against the Townsville Crocodiles in the Top End Challenge as they advanced through to tomorrow night’s final.

The Crocodiles had the better of the Breakers on the scoreboard in the first half (51-49), but you could feel the Breakers starting to wrest this game away from the North Queensland franchise as they went to the main break.

Knotted at 66 halfway through the third quarter, the Breakers’ offense became efficient and the Crocs could not buy a basket from long range.

Kirk Penney (23 points on 9-of-21 FGs) came up with some timely baskets but Tom Abercombie showed me some of the talent people are talking about. He finished with 18 for the game but 12 of them came after halftime. He had the play of the day as he tip jammed a missed free throw home. His wing three, followed by a baseline jumper in consecutive possessions late in the fourth, created an eight-point buffer that put this one to bed.

Corey Williams (27 points, 19 in the second half) kept the Crocs in striking distance but they could not dial in from long range tonight going just 5-of-19.

Last night’s hero Russell Hinder had a reality check with his 0-of-3 performance from deep while Michael Cedar, Peter Crawford, Kelvin Robertson and Brad Williamson went a combined 3-of-12.

Former Sydney King Rolan Roberts (20 points and 13 rebounds, including eight offensive) had his best game in Crocs colours as he registered a double-double.

For me the Breakers just look like a team that has been together for a while.

CJ Bruton and Boomer Oscar Forman are still to come back into the lineup and, by all reports, import Awvee Storey will be a handful once he gets a better feel for the Breakers’ system.

I’m thinking the Breakers will start the season as favorites for the 2009/10 title.

Tomorrow the Breakers will face the Wollongong Hawks in the final, while the Crocs take on the Gold Coast Blaze for third place.

Random Thoughts From The Game

- Kelvin Robertson needs to get back to 100% ASAP. The Crocs miss his speed and three-point shooting.

- Dillon Boucher makes plays just because he wants it more than the guy he is competing against.

- Corey Webster has skills but he will hit the pine when CJ Bruton decides his offseason is done.

- Kirk Penney was not his usual best tonight. Although he manufactured 23 points, he went 0-of-6 from three and 5-of-9 from the charity stripe. I guess the scoreline could have been worse if he was on fire.

- Recent Australian Boomer killer Alex Pleager is here but not suiting up because he is hurt.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Thoughts From Day 1

Michael Joiner is reminding me of Oliver Miller.

After sleeping on the first day's play here is what I feel is News worthy.

- I love the cleanness of the Marrara Indoor Stadium. There are no decals on the court for the to slip on and injure themselves. But what I have noticed is the non exist presence of NBL signage around the stadium.

Like any event these days you need sponsors, so there is a small spluttering of them around. The NBL major sponsor OAMPS - Insurance Brokers are noticeable, tournament organisers RV Sport have signage as well as the local newspaper, the Northern Territory Express.

I'm asking you NBL, why no signage here in Darwin to launch your new branding?

- Gold Coast Blaze pairing of Kiwi international Pero Cameron and import Michael Joiner are heavy on the tooth. I'm just glad I'm not picking up that tab.

- It certainly looks like Gold Coast Blaze young gun Chris "The Machine" Goulding is going for this look. I cannot wait to see what the Perth crowd can come up with when he returns to the west.

- The Adelaide 36ers new uniform looks very much like the Detroit Pistons. Coach Scott Ninnis will only be hoping his squad can play the "D" like the Bad Boys.

While on the 36ers, they are here in Darwin without "bigs" Adam Ballinger and Matt Burston.

- The players meet yesterday as a group to discuss how the Players Association can best represent themselves through these trying times for the sport.

The "Ranga Club" had to postpone their meeting due to Adam Ballinger's absence. President Rob Beveridge instead sat poolside and flirted with the idea of a tan. Luke Schenscher advised against the idea.

- Melbourne Tigers owner Seamus McPeake has lost some serious weight in the off season. One thing he has not lost is his passion for the game. After an interesting call during the Tigers game, McPeake voiced his opinion to everyone and anyone in ear shot. I have never seen Basketball Australia's CEO Larry Sengstock head for the exit so quick before.

Good to have you back Seamus.

Day 1 Review - Crocs/Wildcats

A rare moment in the game...Rolan Roberts not fouling!

DAY ONE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (2 - 3 mins download time required)
The night cap from Darwin was the Perth Wildcats taking on the Townsville Crocodiles and the players did not let the large crowd on hand down.

Russell Hinder was the hero in this one as he drained a game-winning three with time expiring to see the Crocs get away with an 85-82 win.

This was a see-saw affair all night between two teams that have built up an intense rivalry over the past few years. Eight points was the largest margin at any break during the game so the fans were treated to some entertaining basketball in this clash.

New Boomer and second year Wildcat Stephen Weigh came out full of confidence as he led the Wildcats with 11 first-quarter points.

Crocs Michael Cedar and Brad Williamson keep their team in touch with seven points apiece.
In the second quarter it was Corey Williams that started to have an impact on the game as he provided some of his trademark drives to the basket. Scoring and assisting, Williams was beginning to put his footprint on the game.

For the Wildcats, Drew Williamson provided some punch off the bench with eight points in the quarter against his former team.

After the halftime break Crocs import Rolan Roberts found himself in foul trouble immediately. Three fouls in three minutes meant he had four for the game, which saw him take a seat on the bench to cool his heels. This is something that Roberts is going to have to address because he is not getting the minutes the Crocs would like to see him playing (he ended up fouling out in 14 minutes.)

Both teams started to look comfortable (a few of the games were very scrappy affairs) in the second half as the players lifted their intensity as crunch time approached.

It was that man Weigh (19 points) again who nailed a three to give the Wildcats the lead with a few minutes to go. One Williams three-point play and the scores were knotted again at 82 with under a minute to go.

The Wildcats came up short on their final possession and the Crocs had 19 seconds left to make something happen.

Williams pushed the ball and penetrated into the middle of the keyway. Surrounded by Wildcats’ jerseys, Williams found the cold as ice Hinder (previously 2-of- 11 from the field) for the game winner. Hinder stepped up and knocked in down.

Wildcats import Kevin Lisch pushed the ball and got off a decent chance but it came up short.
This end was only fitting for the game of the day.

The Crocodiles will take on the New Zealand Breakers tomorrow in a semi final matchup.

Thoughts From The Game

- There was no Damien Martin (reinjured his wrist on the recent Boomers tour of China) and Luke Schenscher (waiting for a clearance from the Los Angles Lakers) for the Wildcats.

- Peter Crawford is wearing number 71. I’m interested in finding out why?

- Martin Cattalini suffered a cut under his eye but came back into the game.

- Kevin Lisch reminds me of one time Sydney Kings import Tony Bennett. What happened to that guy?

- Corey Williams looks like he belongs in a boy band since he no longer rocks the Mohawk.

Day 1 Review - Hawks/Tigers

Butch Hays or Tywain McKee?

DAY ONE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (2 - 3 mins download time required)

The boilover of the opening night of the Top End Challenge was the Wollongong Hawks turning up the heat in the second half to run away with an easy 100-94 win over the favoured Melbourne Tigers.

New Hawks import Tywain McKee (Coppin St) came into his own in the second half, penetrating his way to the hoop at will. Slick ball handling and slashing finishes at the rim saw McKee finish with a game-high 24 points.

It wasn’t just the McKee show however as the Hawks had four others in double-figures; Cameron Tragardh with 20, rookie Tim Coenraad 15, Glen Saville 11 and Larry Davidson 10.
The Tigers got out of the blocks fast and led 29-20 at the first break. Daniel Johnson was a key as he had all 10 of his points in the first ten minutes.

Once the second quarter began, the Tigers started to show that they have been on the road for over week and playing their fifth game in seven days.

With the Hawks blowing out the lead to nineteen points during the third it was Nathan Crosswell (17 points) and his penetration that helped the Tigers give themselves a chance. Matt O’Hea and Luke Kendall nailed threes to cut the led to five, but it was that man McKee who penetrated and found Larry Davidson in the corner for three. The Hawks never looked back after the “Hungarian Stir Fry” drained it from down town.

The composure the Hawks played with when the Tigers were trying to claw their way back into the game should have the people of Wollongong excited about their team.

The Hawks will play the Townsville Crocodiles on Friday and the winner will advance to the Grand Final on Saturday night.

Random Thoughts From The Game

- Chris Anstey is taking his time and using the preseason to get himself ready for the season. He logged 20 minutes but the intensity was not there for the former Boomer.

- Tim Coenraad will give the Rookie of the Year Award a nudge this year. Back from the States and just finished playing for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland ABL, this young fellow plays with confidence and a chip on his shoulder. Gordie McLeod has found a good one here.

- It has been mentioned to me that Tywain McKee is a young Butch Hays. If first impressions are anything, this comparison could be on the money. Minus the long socks, McKee conducted himself with confidence and style. He had the move of the night when he hustled down a loose ball, threw it through his legs in traffic and tear dropped it over the Tigers defence for two.

- The Melbourne Tigers will make a roster move at some stage. They have some good youngsters getting some experience in the preseason but we all know Seamus McPeake has a plan.