Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brisbane Bullets ... 1987

When I was on the Wollongong Hawk's YouTube page grabbing the link for the Hammer Drill, I noticed they had some Brisbane Bullets footage from WAY back in the day. It would be remiss of me not to share it as it truly is historical gold.

Key points from the footage:
  • I saw Glenn Palmer at the Gold Coast Blaze game on Friday night, I'm not really sure he's aged!
  • Darren "Spank" Perry ... ha ha ha, need I say more
  • A very young Brian Kerle!
  • "The Mushroom" working the Boondall crowd, which by the looks of it is pretty close to full. Kids, that's well over 10,000 fans and listen to them really getting in to it ... ahhhh, those were the days

Basketball shooting

As well as reporting on the NBL and the NBA, the focus of this blog is basketball shooting. Today we have two shooting related stories from the NBL. The first is from the team at the Wollongong Hawks interviewing Larry Davidson about a basketball shooting drill they use. Full credit to Asa and Joel for the video work they've been doing with the team.

And just reward for one of the best shooters in the league, CJ Bruton from the New Zealand Breakers picked up the Player of the Week award for the display he put on in the first game of the season against the Cairns Taipans. CJ was a red-hot 10 of 11 from the field and 8 of 9 from downtown on his way to 28 points. After off-season surgery I expected CJ to ease back in to form on court but he's come out with a bang!!

Bruton wins Player of the Week

New Zealand Breakers star CJ Bruton has ridden a hot shooting streak to capture the National Basketball League’s Player of the Week award for Round One.

Opening the Breaker’s quest to become the first Kiwi team ever to capture a championship in a major Australian professional league, Bruton was instrumental in guiding New Zealand to their season-opening 95-75 win over the Cairns Taipans at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland on Thursday.

The popular point guard scored 28 points and added five rebounds, two assists and one steal but it was his sizzling shooting performance that really caught people’s attention. Bruton went 10-of-11 from the field, including an amazing 8-of-9 from three-point territory, to form a lethal one-two punch with backcourt partner Kirk Penney.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gold Coast Blaze recap

As mentioned, I made the trip down the coast for the Gold Coast Blaze's first game against the Townsville Crocodiles. I had organised a date (a girl I went out with a few times last year who lives on the coast) but she was working till later so we didn't end getting to our seats until half way through the first quarter. I haven't been late for a game since before I started working for the Brisbane Bullets and a friend and I had season tickets. We used to often rock up to games at the end of the first or start of the second quarter ... partly because the team was terrible at the time.

Anyway, here are my thoughts from the game:
  • I was disappointed by the crowd numbers, the stadium was probably only 60 - 65% full
  • The Brisbane Convention Centre used to be nicknamed The Library, the atmosphere at the Gold Coast Entertainment Centre would probably now have that dishonour
  • I really noticed the shorter 10 minute quarters, they really seemed to fly
  • James Harvey (24 points, 9 of 13 from the field) is in very good form early in the season, coming off the work he did in the off-season with Adam Darragh and Shane Heal, not to mention his time touring with the Boomers.
  • Blaze import Michael Joiner did VERY little during the game
  • The other Blaze import Ayinde Ubaka had a strong second-half when the Crocs contained Harvey (Ubaka finished with 19 points, 8 assists)
  • The Crocs have a very balanced scoring attack and if they're hitting from downtown will trouble the opposition
  • The Blaze will take time to gel and find their chemistry on-court (to be expected with so many personnel changes). They seemed out of sync on both ends of the court at times and struggled to get the ball to the right person (i.e. Harvey)
It was good to see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Players wise I saw Thalo Green and Stephen Broom prior to the game and ran in to Adam Darragh afterwards. The "celebrities" in the crowd were Scotty Prince from the Gold Coast Titans, Jamie Wincup (racing car driver) and Bree Amer (Big Brother).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gold Coast Blaze - twittering

I think I've mentioned this already but I'll be at the first Gold Coast Blaze home game of the NBL season tomorrow night against the Townsville Crocodiles.

With my new iphone I'll be twittering updates from the game so if you can't make it and are interested in what's going on, jump on Twitter and follow me. I'll make sure I tweet not only about the score but how the teams and players look at this early stage, who's in shape and who isn't (Pero?), who's got potential to have a big year, etc.

Hopefully there will be a good crowd in attendance and the Blaze give them plenty to cheer about and make them want to come back again.

NBL predictions

With the NBL season kicking off tonight, its time to take that step and make predictions on the final standings of the league. There are only 8 teams in the competition so how badly can you get it wrong? (famous last words)

There's been so much change on and off-court during the off-season that its a fairly close, open competition ... or at least it would seem to be. There's no defending champions so we start this season (and the process of reform) with a relatively clean slate.

Here are the current odds fresh from Centrebet:

Championship 2009/10


At those prices, I think the Crocs are a little over-rated and the Blaze and Hawks look good value. Sure, I don't expect the Hawks to win but I don't think they're clearly the worst.

Here's my rankings:

New Zealand Breakers
Melbourne Tigers
Perth Wildcats
Gold Coast Blaze
Townsville Crocs
Adelaide 36ers
Wollongong Hawks
Cairns Taipans

How did I go? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and what you think the final standings will look like.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Five shooters to watch this season

Damn you JR, I had this idea on the weekend but hadn't got around to blogging it yet and then on Monday he releases his "Five I watch with interest". Sort of me reminds me of this.

Anyway, since our blog focusses more on the shooting aspect of the game, its time to have a look at the five shooters to keep an eye on this NBL season. Unlike JR, I didn't have the benefit of seeing any of the new imports in action in Darwin, so I'm going to stick with the local talent.

1. Kirk Penney - NZ Breakers
No surprise here, Kirk led the league in scoring last season and was regularly talked about in our blog. This season, the Breakers have been tipped as the favourites after getting knocked out in the semis last year and if they are to have any hope they'll need Penney to be at the same level as he was last season.

2. James Harvey - Gold Coast Blaze
Harvey (pictured right) had his moments last season but due to injuries missed a number of games. His team wasn't good and his frustration was evident. I know firsthand Harvey has put in plenty of work in the off-season and the experience he got with the Boomers should pay off this year. With a new coach and much better ensemble cast around him, look for Harvey to put up good numbers for the Blaze.

3. Michael Cedar - Townsville Crocs
Cedar had a break-out season of sorts last year. He's been in the league for a number of years but never seen enough minutes to really show what he can do. Last season he got that shot and delivered on a number of occasions. The Crocs cleared out veteran leader John Rillie to make room for the young guards in Michael Cedar and Brad Williamson and if they don't really step up and deliver there will be many disappointed people.

4. Tim Coenraad - Wollongong Hawks
I've mentioned him numerous times this off-season for his play with the Northside Wizards and also his strong start in the Top End Challenge. He might not see consistent minutes in the early rounds so look to him to provide a scoring spark off the bench for the Hawks. He's playing with old friends Rhys Martin and Cameron Tragardh so hopefully their off-court mateship will provide some good on-court chemistry.

5. Nathan Herbert - Adelaide 36'ers
I've rounded out the top 5 with a youngster who showed glimpses of shooting greatness last season. Herbert was a spark-plug off the bench for the champion Dragons but with that club no longer around he finds himself in Adelaide. The 36'ers have lost sharp-shooter Brett Maher and will need Herbert to be a threat from deep. If he gets consistent minutes, Herbert could be a candidate for Most Improved Player.

Now, I'm not saying these are the 5 best shooters in the league but these are 5 that could have a big impact on their team's fortunes. At the moment, I'd say the top 5 shooters in the league are: Kirk Penney, James Harvey, CJ Bruton, Phill Jones and maybe Oscar Forman. The last spot could go to Cedar, Williamson, Crawford, Kendall or a few others.

Let me know what you think of the five shooters to watch or even the my pick as the top five shooters in the league right now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Fox Sports team announced

After Fox dropped Steve Carfino, I thought there was a chance they would sign John Rillie, but it seems Fox have instead gone for another great shooter in "The Hammer" Shane Heal.

Media Release
22 September 2009
The NBL returns on FOX SPORTS with LIVE and EXCLUSIVE coverage throughout the 2009/10 season.
FOX SPORTS is gearing up for tip off in the 2009/10 NBL season, with eight teams set to battle it out in a new-look competition starting this Thursday 24 September.
Basketball fans will see up to 51 LIVE matches on FOX SPORTS, with each club to appear in a minimum of seven televised matches throughout the season.
While our biggest local stars like Melbourne’s Mark Worthington, Adelaide’s Adam Ballinger and Perth’s Shawn Redhage are set to light up the courts, FOX SPORTS has assembled a new-look team of expert commentators and analysts to take viewers inside the action with greater depth than ever before.
FOX SPORTS’ extensive coverage of the NBL will be headed by two of Australian Basketball’s greatest icons, in the league’s all-time leading points scorer Andrew Gaze and Shane ‘Hammer’ Heal.
The basketball experience of the star duo is simply unrivalled in Australia. Together they account for over 1050 NBL matches, nine Olympic Games campaigns and three NBL Championships.
Delivering the play-by-play action alongside the star pairing are two of the best in the business - FOX SPORTS’ Brian Taylor and Dwayne Russell.
The award-winning AFL commentators share a life-long involvement in basketball and a deep passion for the game.
David Malone, CEO of FOX SPORTS, said FOX SPORTS is committed to delivering basketball fans a comprehensive coverage of the season.
“The NBL has taken some hits in recent years but thanks to the dedication and passion of Larry Sengstock and his team at Basketball Australia, the competition has the opportunity to make a fresh start while continuing to deliver an entertaining and action-packed product featuring the best players our country has to offer,” said Malone.
“FOX SPORTS has covered the NBL since 1998 and based on the evidence of its sustained popularity with our subscribers, the game still runs rich in the veins of Australian sports fans,” he said.
“FOX SPORTS will broadcast 42 regular season matches, plus every game of the 2010 NBL Finals series LIVE. In total, FOX SPORTS will exclusively broadcast over 100 hours of LIVE and first-run NBL action.”
The NBL on FOX SPORTS will commence with LIVE coverage of the season-opening clash on September 24, when the New Zealand Breakers host the Cairns Taipans.


Thu 24 Sept New Zealand v Cairns LIVE FOX SPORTS 2 5.00PM
Wed 30 Sept Melbourne v New Zealand LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 7.30PM

Fri 2 Oct Townsville v Perth LIVE FOX SPORTS 2 7.30PM
Wed 7 Oct Cairns v Gold Coast LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 7.30PM
Thu 8 Oct New Zealand v Melbourne LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 5.30PM
Wed 14 Oct Gold Coast v Melbourne LIVE FOX SPORTS 2 8.30PM
Wed 21 Oct Adelaide v Melbourne LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 8.00PM
Thu 22 Oct New Zealand v Townsville LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 5.00PM
Sun 25 Oct Perth v Melbourne LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 7.30PM
Wed 28 Oct Wollongong v Cairns LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 7.30PM
Thu 29 Oct New Zealand v Adelaide LIVE FOX SPORTS 1 5.00PM
The undisputed face of Australian basketball has won just about every accolade in the sport. A veteran of 22 seasons with the Melbourne Tigers and five Olympic Games campaigns with the Boomers, Gaze’s remarkable career is unlikely ever to be replicated. A seven-time league MVP, two-time NBL champion with the Tigers and the competition’s all-time leading points-scorer, he has also carved out a career as a media personality and has been a regular on the NBL on FOX SPORTS team for the past three seasons.

‘Hammer’ is one of Australian Basketball’s most colourful characters and rose to icon status after a career that spanned 21 seasons in Australia, Greece and the US. A regular member of the FOX SPORTS NBL team in 2006, Heal returns to the microphone after ending his retirement to spend two seasons with the South Dragons, before playing the last of his 440 NBL matches with the Gold Coast Blaze in February this year. He played in four Olympic Games with the Boomers and led Sydney to their maiden NBL championship in 2002.

The 1986 Coleman Medallist and a 140-game VFL/AFL star with Richmond and Collingwood, Taylor was heavily involved in basketball as a youngster growing up in Mandurah, WA. His parents started the junior basketball competition in his home town and he later represented the WA under 16s before being snapped up by the Tigers. Even at the height of his career he continued to play competitive basketball and only this year realised a life-long ambition by playing alongside three of his four sons in their local competition. Taylor is a keen follower of the LA Lakers in the NBA.

A keen basketballer during his teenage and school years, Russell was forced to give the game away when his footy career kicked off with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL. The 50-game Geelong Cats veteran has since forged an exceptional media career, starting out as a sports journalist with The Age newspaper in Melbourne before beginning his commentating career in 2000. Voted the 2009 best AFL commentator for his work on FOX SPORTS, Russell continues to coach basketball at junior level and like his co-commentator is a big fan of the Lakers.

NZ Breakers

Although I have made it quite clear already that my NBL team this season will be the Gold Coast Blaze, my second team will be the New Zealand Breakers. They're considered by many to be the favourites for the championship this season, but that's not why I like them, because I almost always side with the underdog.

The reasons I like the Breakers are:
1. They are a great three-point shooting team
2. They have a couple of ex-Brisbane Bullets on the team (CJ Bruton & Dillon Boucher)
3. They don't play a lot of defence so the games are usually high-scoring and fun to watch
4. They have Kirk Penney ... one of our favourite basketball shooting man-crushes from last season

So with the Breakers getting the season underway in New Zealand on Thursday night, here are a couple of stories in the news about them.

Title or bust this year for Breakers - Boucher |

Dillon Boucher isn't looking to hide from the pre-season hype surrounding the New Zealand Breakers ahead of Thursday's tipoff of the new Australian NBL season against Phill Jones and the Cairns Taipans at the NSEC.

In fact you could say that the Breakers' hard-nosed do-it-all forward is embracing the favouritism being heaped upon the New Zealand club who are being strongly tipped to become the first Kiwi franchise to win an Australian national league.

Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze has labelled the Breakers the team everyone's chasing this season, and it's a view that's pretty much universal across the Tasman, even if bookies Centrebet have the Melbourne Tigers as slight favourites ahead of the Breakers.
Boucher has heard all the talk, all the speculation that this is the Breakers' year and, what do you know, he agrees with it.

NZ Breakers owner about making a difference |

Who is this faceless, publicity-shy owner of the New Zealand Breakers? And why does he shell out his hard-earned fortune to keep a basketball club afloat. For the first time Paul Blackwell has opened up to the media about his motivations. MARC HINTON sat down to hear his special story.

Paul Blackwell is an enigma dressed up as a riddle. He's successful, rich and is in the select group of Kiwis who own professional sports teams.

Yet he's much happier parting with his hard-earned profits as the owner of New Zealand's busiest supermarket than he is giving up his story, and by association his privacy.

In a business all about ego, this God-faring, sports-loving everyday bloke doesn't just break the mould, he shatters it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sound of music ... what the??

"... Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things"

Now, to clarify (before my manhood comes in to question), I've never actually watched The Sound of Music ... sure I've seen parts but thankfully never the whole thing. It just seemed appropriate to use it today since there's a number of news articles and stories about a few of my all-time favourite players.

We'll start with my #1 player, Tim Hardaway. Thanks to the guys at NBA Mate for bringing it to my attention, the Miami Heat are going to retire Timmy's jersey just before their opening game against the New York Knicks. This is kind of fitting as the memories I have of Hardaway in Miami are him leading the Heat to victories in the playoffs against the Knicks.

Next up is my boy Steve Nash. I've mentioned previously that he leads a pretty good life and has had a colourful/entertaining off-season. Thanks to the crew at Ball Don't Lie, firstly here is his latest vitaminwater commercial and a few days ago they had pictures of Nash getting in to a pick-up game in China.

Finally, despite being almost 50, here's footage of Dominique Wilkins showing he can still dunk (just). Yes, you'll also see Tim Hardaway in action there as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anna Bligh backs Gold Coast Blaze

One of my friends hinted to me last week that this news was coming. She was as usual tight-lipped and cryptic about the details but I saw this story on the NBL website and immediately knew this was what she was talking about. Great work setting this relationship up V! Very impressive

Its great to see the Queensland Premier getting behind not only the Gold Coast Blaze but the game of basketball in general. The sport can definitely use all the publicity it can get and this certainly won't hurt.

Over/under on how many games the premier will actually attend this season ... I set the line at 4.

Bligh backs Blaze

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh MP will be the Gold Coast Blaze NBL team’s number one ticketholder for season 2009-2010.

The announcement was made today in State Parliament ahead of the Friday 25th home season opener against the Townsville Crocodiles and in the middle of the Gold Coast Basketball Association (GCBA) 50th anniversary celebrations.

The ticket-holder news comes just a week after the sport-loving, former Gold Coast schoolgirl, Anna Bligh donned the Gold Coast Titan’s No.1 jersey ahead of last Saturday’s local derby against the Brisbane Broncos.

“I played basketball as a teenager on the Coast with the GCBA and I have very fond memories of my time in the sport,” said Ms Bligh.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Blaze in their third National Basketball League season and I’m sure they’ll do all Gold Coasters proud.

Her shot could definitely use some work but its great to have Anna Bligh's support for the Gold Coast Blaze and the NBL

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NBL tidbits

After a solid start to the work today, there's been a lull in the last hour or so which has given me the chance to see what's happening in the NBL.

Firstly, here's a story about the return to the court of ex-Brisbane Bullets guard CJ Bruton. After two off-season surgeries, expect CJ to start the season slowly but once he gets back to 100% expect the basketball shooting displays we're used to from him.

Positive Bruton ready for return |

New Zealand Breakers star CJ Bruton is hoping that the pain of a couple of major off-season surgeries will translate into some serious gain on the Australian NBL court before too long.

The 33-year-old Aussie point guard has only just been able to resume full training after going under the knife over the off-season to have some work done on his ankle and elbow, both of which hampered him through the club's record-breaking 2008-09 campaign.

Then, while checking out the OzHoops board, someone mentioned this interview with ex-Brisbane Bullets and now Gold Coast Blaze head coach Joey Wright. I'm looking forward to heading down the freeway numerous times this season to see Joey, Big Joe, Gibbo and the rest of the Blaze in action. It will certainly be more entertaining (and no doubt more competitive) than the Blaze games I have seen over the last few years. - News - Interviews

BRISBANE (NBL) - Brisbane Bullets championship coach Joey Wright has returned to Australian shores to coach the Gold Coast Blaze, and is a most welcome returnee, bringing up-tempo, exciting basketball back to the Coast. His mission is to take the Blaze from the NBL cellar to the top of the heap, just as he did with the Bullets.

He has coached some notable internationals in club competition, including Nigeria's Ebi Ere, Tall Blacks Dillon Boucher and Mika Vukona, and Australian greats Mark Bradtke (4 Olympics), CJ Bruton and Sam Mackinnon. This year at the Blaze he will coach 2002 FIBA World Championship All-Star Pero Cameron, Stankovic Cup MVP James Harvey and emerging Australian Boomers point guard Adam Gibson.

Wright always has some interesting views on world basketball, and FIBA's Paulo Kennedy caught up with Joey to talk about the contrasts between different countries.

NBA tidbits

Its still the off-season in the NBA but its not long to go until pre-season and the date for our league's fantasy draft is now being discussed.

Here are a few tidbits from the NBA over the last few days and they are about a few of our favourite shooters.

1. This from the FIBA European Championships:
... Ersan Ilyasova continues to outshine Hedo Turkoglu for Turkey, putting up 22 points and 11 boards in a win over Serbia, while Hedo had four points (1-16 FG), four steals and seven rebounds
1 of 16 Hedo? OUCH!! Having owned him in my fantasy team last season I know he's a slow starter but that's baaaad even for the off-season.

2. Thanks to Twitter I found out Ray Allen is playing hide-and-seek with his fans, hiding pairs of shoes around the place and leaving clues on Twitter as to their location. He has said he'll be doing this all season ... if only Ray would come to Australia.

3. Last but not least, our boy Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf got a mention on Dime today. They've been doing a "where are they now" story each week on former NBA players and it turns out Mahmoud is off to Japan next. Even at the age of 40, its great to know that Abdul-Rauf is still doing what he loves and no doubt still searching for perfection. Click on the title below to read the full story.

Where Are They Now: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf | Dime Magazine ( : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

Nobody who followed basketball in the ‘90s could ever forget the name Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Some may remember him as the high scoring, diminutive guard with the silky-smooth shooting touch. But chances are, most just associate him as the guy who refused to stand during the national anthem in 1996. At that time, he was possibly the most controversial and hated athlete in all of sports.

Abdul-Rauf, born Chris Jackson, had overcome enormous obstacles to get to the NBA. Growing up, he had battled extreme poverty and Tourette’s syndroume, which is an inherited neuropsychiatic disorder that results in uncontrollable body movements and tics.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Basketball Hall of Fame

The big news in the basketball world was the induction of Michael Jordan in to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Joining the great one in this year's class were John Stockton, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan & Vivian Stringer.

The crew over at Dime spent much of the weekend talking about the entrants and the ceremony. Most of the articles are 2 or 3 pages deep now.

John Rillie was one of the few that wasn't so focused on MJ, instead talking about his fellow Gonzaga, alumni John Stockton. Click here to read his thoughts about one of the best point guards to ever play the game.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mark Worthington's blog

With it looking like John Rillie's NBL playing career has come to an end, stepping in to fill his shoes as the unofficial current blogging player is Mark Worthington from the Melbourne Tigers (formerly of the Dragons, formerly of the Kings).

I've mentioned in this blog a number of times, "Wortho" is one of my least favourite players. Being a part of the Brisbane Bullets, its my job to hate the Sydney Kings and Worthington was a big part of their team before they disappeared. Don't get me wrong, the guy can play, I know that and I respect his talent ... but it doesn't mean I have to like him (on-court). He even mentions it on the profile of his blog: "I'm a basketballer, many look at me as a villain, to my friends i'm just the guy who likes too hang with my mates, drink beers and get white line fever when i step on the basketball court. Im a gemini there are definately two sides to me. Love me or Hate me. It's okay, you're all welcome here"

He's started off strongly with his all-time top 5 for each team and hopefully his blogging frequency continues during the season. His second post was certainly open and honest about his previous two teams and the situation with them both. Click here to check out his blog.

NBL update

With less than 2 weeks until the NBL season kicks off I'm slowly getting back in to blogging shape after taking much of the month of August off. Other than it being the off-season in the NBA, not yet pre-season in the NBL and generally not much happening in the basketball world, I was selling my unit and moving house and office. Other than the normal fun that comes with moving I had some issues with the phone lines and my ADSL so that took time to get sorted.

Anyway, I'm easing back in to bball mode with some updates about the NBL from the last week or so.

1. From last week's Top End Challenge pre-season tournament in Darwin, here is the vision:
Day 1
Day 2
Adelaide vs Melbourne
Gold Coast vs Wollongong
Townsville vs Breakers
Cairns vs Perth
Day 3
Perth vs Melbourne
Gold Coast vs Townsville
Cairns vs Adelaide
Wollongong vs Breakers

If you missed it, John Rillie was there in a media capacity reporting for the NBL website and tweeting like crazy. He did very well until an errant pass took out his laptop.

Some of his 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
  • Dillon Boucher makes plays just because he wants it more than the guy he is competing against.
  • 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.
Good to see Tragardh and Coenraad who we highlighted in the off-season getting some love at the NBL level. We were having e-mail discussions about it last week and most of the boys (Tux & Mitch) are jumping on the Hawks bandwagons. Its tough when you don't have a home team to support ... maybe next year the Brisbane Bullets will be back?

The big news this week was the announcement that NBL superstar Chris Anstey will miss the first half of the season due to hip surgery. It'll be interesting to see how the Tigers perform without Anstey who has been the focus of their team for the last few years. If Sam Mackinnon and Mark Worthington are healthy they should still do well ... but with or without Anstey, they still lack a decent point guard to run the show.

From a basketball shooting perspective, its good to see that Phill (Phull) Jones was named as the captain of the Cairns Taipans team. When he was let go by the Breakers after last season there was a chance he may not get picked up by another team so its great to see him leading the Taipans and he's already in good shooting form so far this pre-season.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The great NBL debate

A few days ago John Rillie posted some thoughts from an NBL "fan" about his frustrations with the league and the seeming lack of change from the reform process.

I'm a bit tired of all the negative flack that the league and its head office cops so I took the time to comment and provide a different perspective. When things are going bad, its too easy to point fingers and expect things to happen overnight ... but fixing the problems of the NBL will take time.

I didn't think about it for a few days and when I went back yesterday to see the response there had been PLENTY! Click here to see the flow of comments, thankfully yours truly got a bit of support from a number of other posters.

Regardless of where you stand in the debate about how the reform process is going, the fact that there is this level of passion and interest can only be a good thing.

Michael Jordan ... the early years

Thanks to DJ Rod for bringing this article about Michael Jordan to my attention. Its a good read if you've got a few minutes and gives you an idea about the work ethic that the great one had, even in his early years. The dedication, commitment and focus reminds me of the article I posted a few months back about Ray Allen and his routine excellence. I've mentioned it before ... success leaves clues.

Click on the title below to read the full story.

You don't cut Michael -

By Robbi Pickeral
WILMINGTON -- Ruby Sutton has a distinct pet peeve when it comes to the subject of her former pupil, Michael Jordan: the oft-told story of how he was “cut” from the Laney High varsity basketball team as a sophomore, spurring him to greatness.

“Back then, (most) 10th-graders played JV; that's just the way it was. Nobody ever ‘cut' Michael Jordan,” Sutton, who still teaches physical education, said this month, shaking her head as she retold the story for at least the 100th time.

“Him not making the varsity that year was not his motivator – he was motivated well before that. He just always wanted to be the best.”

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Twitter ... I didn't want to, but

I've previously said I would avoid the Twitter fad but today I relented ...

Prompted by a post from John Rillie about his trip to Darwin to follow the Top End Challenge I decided to take the step and sign up. It seems that if you want to stay up to date with what's really happening, especially in the sporting world, Twitter is now a must have. The crew at Dime virtually fill half of their off-season smack with Twitter updates from players.

After "following" JR, I tagged a number of others in the basketball world (both NBL & NBA) to keep up to date with. So far I have:
  • Patty Mills
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Shaq
  • Stephen Curry
  • Steve Nash
  • Mark Cuban
  • Andrew Bogut
  • Big Joe
  • Joe Ingles
  • Shawn Marion
  • Troy Murphy
  • Luke Schenscher
  • Chris Webber
  • Kevin Durant
Speaking of Luke Schenscher, its great to see that he's just signed with the Perth Wildcats instead of heading to Europe. He had a great season and I'm looking forward to seeing him build on that this year.

I'm getting a new mobile within the next week so I'll now make sure I can get one that I can tweet from.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New look NBL website

I noticed yesterday that the NBL has recently released a new look website. I haven't had a good chance to explore through it yet but checking out the OzHoops boards most people seem to like the new look of it but are still somewhat underwhelmed by the content and stats side of it.

I did like the Transaction Tracker they have at the bottom of the page. If you're not sure who's playing for your team this season or if you're trying to find out where someone's gone, that's the place to look.

In other NBL news, the Top End Challenge pre-season tournament gets underway in Darwin tomorrow. The big question is, who the f is the guy in the pic? Why wouldn't you use this opportunity to promote a player rather than a model?