Friday, May 23, 2014

The latest on the return of Brisbane to the NBL

After speculation earlier in the week that the Southern Districts Spartans were the leading candidate to secure the rights to an NBL license in Brisbane, it seems that isn't the case. Here's an update from Boti Nagy after speaking with the NBL CEO.

Brisbane Bizarros but the NBL will be back

NBL Chief Executive Officer Fraser Neill is more than buoyed after meeting yesterday with a group keen to back a Brisbane-based team from 2015-16 onwards.

In fact, he was almost ecstatic.

“I met with some business people in Brisbane with good business acumen and we are working with them to put together a good plan,” he told me today.

“It will happen.

“Brisbane is a good, strong market, with sensible planning and strong management we believe it can work.”

Neill said whether the new Brisbane NBL club would retain the Bullets name or move to a new moniker was still to be determined.

“These are questions we now have four months to work on,” he said.

“Is the Bullets brand still strong? Would it be better to start with a new name?

“These are the sorts of questions we now have time to go back and work out.”

Neill said he found a recent television report and newspaper coverage of an NBL bid by Brisbane Spartans to be “bizarre”.

“We have had no contact at all with any Brisbane Spartans group – none,” he said.

“It’s quite bizarre.”

To read the rest of the article, click here

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Derek Rucker returning to the game?

If you haven't heard the news this week, our three-team NBL legend, Derek Rucker is working on playing in the QBL this season for the Gladstone Port City Power.

Check out Wayne Heming's interview with him here:

Go get em D-Ruck! #Dontcallitacomeback

Grab your Derek Rucker tees here:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brisbane Bullets future and an NBL expansion update

I'm a bit late and most people would have seen this already, but here's the latest update from Boti Nagy on the future of the Brisbane Bullets as well as the NBL's expansion plans.

Bullets’ bid still not firing as Tassie and second Melbourne club move to join NBL

    The Advertiser
    April 22, 2014 2:25PM 

A SECOND NBL team in Melbourne and a united state-representing team out of Tasmania are front-runners in league expansion plans for 2015-16. 
While the recent loss of WNBL club Logan Thunder, in addition to the absence of Gold Coast Blaze and Brisbane Bullets as NBL entities, leaves south-east Queensland without an elite-level presence, the other bids are further advanced.

“The second team in Melbourne and the Tasmanian bid are further along than Brisbane,” NBL chief executive officer Fraser Neill said.

“We are very keen to re-establish an NBL presence in Brisbane and we are continuing to work hard in that area.

“But that’s a very strong catchment area for basketball in the south east of Melbourne and the Tasmanian bid is travelling very well too.”

Melbourne has not had a second team since South Dragons won the 2009 championship and withdrew.

Tasmania has been without NBL representation since the Hobart Devils were dropped from the competition after the 1996 season.

Previously the state also fielded the Devonport Warriors, while Launceston Casino City was NBL champion in 1981.

The new Tasmanian bid aims to represent the entire island and garner statewide support by spreading its home matches across multiple venues.

Brisbane Bullets, which boasted iconic NBL superstar Leroy Loggins and other league MVPs such as Derek Rucker, Sam Mackinnon and Steve Woodberry, dropped out of the competition after the 2008 season. 

Adelaide 36ers coach Joey Wright, led the Bullets to their last championship in 2007.

He also was in charge of south-east Queensland’s last NBL team, Gold Coast, which was shunted out of the NBL after the 2011-12 season while Basketball Australia was running the league.

Neill said the NBL was looking to expand to 12 teams for 2015-16, the door ajar for Brisbane.

But interest also has been shown by Wellington Saints of the NZ NBL — currently being coached by former Sydney Kings coach Shane Heal — along with Newcastle and Canberra.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Andrew Vlahov - Perth Wildcats

Today's feature Perth Wildcats legend is Andrew Vlahov.

Andrew Vlahov attended Stanford University in the U.S. before being signed by the Perth Wildcats where he played his entire NBL career (12 seasons). A stellar first season with the Wildcats saw Vlahov earn the NBL Rookie of the Year award. Vlahov replaced Mike Ellis as the captain of the club in 1993 after only two seasons in the NBL and remained so until his retirement.

Vlahov enjoyed a successful NBL career, making the finals series every year he played in the league. He won three NBL championships and was a staple NBL All Star selection every season. Andrew was one of the most feared players of all time, even though he barely stood at 6 foot 7 (undersized for a power forward) he made up for it with his power and strength. He was one of the leagues best rebounders and arguably the best Australian power forward of all time.

One of Andrew’s best seasons was in 1992 when he averaged 22.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 steals, 1 block while shooting over 52% from the field and 79% from the line.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ricky Grace - Perth Wildcats

Today's feature Perth Wildcats legend is Ricky Grace.

Ricky "Amazing" Grace was selected in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz in the third round (67th overall) but failed to make the active roster of an NBA team. Soon after, Grace was invited by then Perth Wildcats GM Cal Bruton to play for the Australian club, where he played his entire professional career (16 seasons), and captained the club from 2002/03 until his retirement in 2006. During his time with the club Grace played an integral part in six grand finals appearances and four championships, twice being award Grand Final MVP.

One of Ricky’s best seasons was in 1991 when he averaged 22.2 points, 8.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 0.9 blocks, 1.8 triples while shooting almost 50% from the field and 80% from the line. 

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: