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:

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