Thursday, April 17, 2014

James Crawford - Perth Wildcats

Our first feature Perth Wildcats legend is James Crawford.

The "Alabama Slamma" left the Canberra Cannons to join the Perth Wildcats in 1987 where he remained for the next 13 seasons. He played in a total of 504 NBL games, 371 of them for the Wildcats and currently sits third on the list of all time NBL scorers with 11,121 points, scoring at an average of 22 per game. He also sits third on the NBL all time rebound list with 4,794 (9.5 per game) and second in blocked shots with 788 (1.5 per game).

Relatively small for a starting centre, the 6'8" Crawford was an integral part of the Perth Wildcats three NBL Championships during the 1990's (90, 91 & 95) combining with team mates Tiny Pinder, Ricky Grace and Andrew Vlahov to be part of the most successful team of the decade. He was also selected to the NBL’s All First Team four times (1982, 83, 84 and 87) and was selected to the NBL’s 20th Anniversary Team in 1998 and the NBL's 25th Anniversary Team in 2004.

One of Crawford’s best seasons was in 1987 when he averaged 33.4 points, 11.8 boards, 2.3 blocks, 1.9 steals and shot over 60% from the field!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Perth Wildcats t-shirts

Gather round and let me tell you about a time when the Perth Wildcats were one of the best teams in the league! Oh wait …

Ok, so let’s instead pay tribute to the recently crowned champions of the NBL by paying homage to their forefathers! Back in the 90’s when the league was booming, the Perth Wildcats were definitely the team to beat. They won their first championship in 1990, backed it up in 91 and again in 95.

The big five we’ve chosen to represent Perth are all true legends from that era: Ricky “Amazing” Grace, James “The Alabama Slamma”, Andrew Vlahov, Scott Fisher & Mike Ellis.

Check out our store for team ten of the "Legends" range:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Queensland U16 State Championships

I volunteered this week to help out at the U16 State Championships that finished yesterday. The first few days I was just helping out on the door and in the car park but yesterday I was court-side writing game summaries for the three gold medal games for each division and a bronze medal game prior.

One of the reasons I enjoy helping out is to check out the future of the game in our country. Its good to see the next generation and people always ask me who are the players to watch.

Having only watched one full division one game which was the gold medal game between the Gold Coast Waves and the Suncoast Clippers, I can really only tell you who stood out in that one. In my opinion, the player with the most potential that seemed to have the skill-set to take it to the next level was Clippers player Tom Fullarton. His outside shot wasn't falling during the game and his team didn't get the win, but he's tall, could handle the ball, find open team-mates and play almost any position. Despite being one of the tallest players out there, it seemed like they had made a conscious decision to play him at the guard or wing spots to develop his skills rather than limit his growth by just playing him inside.

The performance of the day tho was from a division 3 player, Jhalam Anson who scored 37 points and just dominated the game for his Mulgrave Magic team. In this tournament there were no stats but Jhalam would have had plenty of boards, assists and at least half a dozen steals to go with his haul of points. He's quite young and raw but if he works hard and gets the support needed, he could be one to keep an eye on in a year or two. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NBL launches Summer League in Las Vegas

Some exciting news from the NBL earlier in the week. Originally I wasn't sure whether the deal was that each NBA Summer League team would have two NBL players in it but it seems the NBL are having their own summer league prior to the main one.

I loved my time at the NBA Summer League in 2012 so next time I go this could be an excuse to get there a little earlier! :-)

NBL launches Summer League in Las Vegas

The National Basketball League has launched an exciting new tournament that will see the iconic brand join one of the biggest global events in the sport.

The Australian NBL Summer League will be played in Las Vegas in July. It will position the NBL on the doorstep of the NBA Summer League, held annually on the UNLV Campus.

All eight NBL clubs will send a minimum of two players and coaching staff to the Summer League. They will be integrated into teams of draft hopefuls looking to catch the eye of talent scouts around the world.

Crucially, NBL coaches and team management will be given a first-hand glimpse at a wide array of potential imports looking to play in Australia. The Australian NBL Summer League will allow coaches to see how those players perform in game situations, alongside NBL personnel.

In previous years, Melbourne Tigers guard Chris Goulding, Sydney Kings centre AJ Ogilvy, San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills and Boomers forward Joe Ingles have played in the NBA Summer League tournament.

NBL Chief Executive Fraser Neill said the launch of the Australian NBL Summer League was a glowing endorsement for the NBL and the progress it has made during the 2013/14 season.

“It is an exciting new initiative that the NBL is extremely proud to be launching,” Mr Neill said.

“The opportunity to be on campus next to the NBA speaks volumes for the regard the NBL is held in abroad. It will showcase the quality the NBL has to offer and will open up great opportunities for our players and our brand.”

“This is about more than just games though. This is about further enhancing our relationship with the NBA. We will be part of the business hub of the global basketball community. This is an opportunity to take the NBL to the world.”

The Australian NBL Summer League will held from July 13 to 16 in Las Vegas. More information can be found at

Friday, March 28, 2014

The 2003/4 Sydney Kings - legendary team

C. J. Bruton was recruited to take the place of the retired Shane Heal and Jason Smith was signed after returning to the NBL after playing in Europe. The Kings started the 2003/04 season with 12 successive wins, and would eventually win their second championship after their best-of-five grand final series with cross-town rivals West Sydney went down to the deciding fifth game. Kings player Matt Nielsen would win the regular season and finals MVP this year before leaving to play overseas. Sydney’s outstanding depth was also a key that season, with Brad Sheridan, Brett Wheeler, David Stiff, Luke Martin and BJ Carter all contributing quality minutes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The 1991 Perth Wildcats - legendary team

The start of the 90’s saw the Perth Wildcats move to the 8,200 seat Perth Entertainment Centre. Despite a shaky start to the season Perth charged into the Grand Final and achieved their first NBL championship by defeating the Brisbane Bullets in Brisbane. The Wildcats backed up this effort in 1991 by becoming the third team in NBL history to win back-to-back championships, defeating the Eastside Spectres in front of a home crowd.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The 1998 Adelaide 36ers - legendary team

Today we feature the '98 Adelaide 36ers (and no, we haven't forgotten about an earlier legendary Adelaide team).

In 1998 when debutante coach Phil Smyth recruited Paul Rees to play alongside former NBA pair Darnell Mee and Kevin Brooks, the Clipsal Powerhouse was hanging the “sold out” sign at every home game. The 36ers turned their fortunes around under Smyth and finished the regular season in 2nd place with a 19-11 record. They won through to the 1998 NBL Grand Final series to face the heavily favoured South East Melbourne Magic that many thought were the greatest team of all time. Adelaide stunned the Magic and swept the series to claim the clubs first championship since 1986. Kevin Brooks was named the Grand Final MVP in what was the last ever winter season for the NBL.