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Author Topic: § Oceania & Australia Basketball News, Stories & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto en Oceanía y Australia  (Read 144615 times)
Carre Tero
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 08, 2012, 09:34:31 PM »

Oceania & Australia Basketball News & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Australiano

A strange evening, but worth it

This Friday night was the debut of the NBL's ground-breaking new online broadcasting service - NBL.TV - as the league got underway for 2012-13.

Earlier this week I had bought the cables required to connect my laptop to my TV so I could watch it on a bigger screen, and did all the requisite tests to make sure it worked.

All looked in readiness, so I rushed home from work today to settle in and watch the New Zealand Breakers and Perth Wildcats battle it out in a replay of last year's epic grand final series.

So on goes the computer and television, I log into NBL.TV, select the game and …..

Nothing!

I couldn't believe it. My first reaction was NBL.TV is having an opening night disaster, but as I got onto various social media platforms all I read were fans praising the new service - good quality picture, few bumps in the stream, all that jazz … just not at my place.

After trying everything I pulled out my wife's i-pad to try and get the game that way. I got into the app and tapped on the game and …..

Nothing!

What a miserable evening. Had my house decided to be an NBL.TV free zone? After trying everything within my limited technology realm I gave up.

Perhaps it was FIBA's way of telling me to stop watching basketball and write my column?

So that's what I did, or started to do, until a message came through with a suggestion on how to get NBL.TV going on the i-pad. I tried it and …..

It worked!

So I settled in to enjoy my night of two basketball games. In Auckland the Perth Wildcats were extracting some stylish payback for their heartbreaking loss in last April's title decider.

They were slick, quick, physical and skilful. You name it and they did it. You name it and the Breakers didn't do it - not well anyway.

There were a couple of boys, who realise pushing into the Boomers team this year is essential if they are to play in the inaugural FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, who played some great basketball.

Damian Martin was the last cut before the London Olympics and played like a man with a renewed goal tonight. In fact, two renewed goals - an NBL title and a World Cup spot.

While his performance and numbers (9 points at 60%, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals) were impressive, centre Matt Knight was just plain dominant.

The size of a power forward but with the strength of a centre, the 2.04m Knight has been missing from the Australian team because of an assortment of injuries.

With a new strength and conditioning coach in Perth this year, Knight has dropped weight and is moving superbly. The Boomers need a replacement for Matt Nielsen, and if Matty keeps replicating his 20 points at 57% and nine rebounds from tonight then he will be that man.

It's not just players battling it out for international berths either.

Word is Brett Brown won't be applying for the Boomers job again and his assistant Andrej Lemanis has been campaigning strongly behind the scenes to be his replacement.

Lemanis also coaches the Breakers had has made almost every post a winner with back-to-back NBL titles the past two years.

His main opposition for the Boomers job, and in the NBL, is Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge - coach of the 2003 U19 World Championship winning team and former assistant of the Boomers.

With the decision to be finalised in coming months every big win for Perth can only help push his case a little. He would have loved a championship win over Lemanis last season.

His real strength though is who he has coached. In that 2003 side was Martin, Knight, Andrew Bogut, Aleks Maric and Brad Newley.

Since then he has tutored the likes of Julian Khazzouh, Luke Nevill and

Nathan Jawai

who will all be battling for a 'big' spot in 2013 and 2014.

Wildcats import and NBL MVP Kevin Lisch, who had 20 classy points tonight, has just received his Australian citizenship. Perth super-sub Jesse Wagstaff is a leading contender to replace

Mark Worthington

if he hangs up his respected international boots.

So it's not out of the question the majority of the 2014 team could be made up of former Beveridge pupils, and as a rule his players rave about him.

Of course, Lemanis has relationships with all squad members as a current assistant, and through his NBL role has intricate knowledge of New Zealand basketball - the team Australia has to beat to get to the Rio Olympics.

It all just adds more spice to this brilliant New Zealand v Perth rivalry.

The other game tonight was Wollongong vs Sydney, and it was fantastic to see a crowd of over 4300 in the 'Gong - one of the regional city's biggest ever opening night turnouts - to cheer their Hawks to a 79-76 victory.

The story of the game was old man river,

Glen Saville

, who after a disappointing 2011/12 season wound back the clock tonight to score 21 points, 15 in the second half.

There were triples, drives, post-ups, sweet assists and even less complaining to the refs than we usually see from the grizzly veteran.




All up, it was a good night of basketball, well worth the wait.

Shame there's only one game tomorrow night…

Paulo Kennedy from FIBA



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Varsity Coach
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 01, 2012, 02:21:39 AM »

Oceania & Australia Basketball News & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Australiano

Who’s who in the zoo

It’s exciting times Downunder, as it is for fans in many places around the world, because pro basketball is about to hit town again.

Last week was the pre-season tournament for both the NBL and WNBL in Melbourne, giving pundits a chance to see each team play three games across a weekend.

So for the casual fan who wonders where the players they know might be playing, here’s a rundown of the familiar faces in the NBL, particularly the ‘new’ imports and one who appears poised to create excitement with his imminent signature.

Kiwis
Mainstay internationals like New Zealand starters Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona and Alex Pledger return for their home country Breakers.

They are joined by FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) sensation Tai Webster – who has an uncontracted role with the Breakers after deciding to attend Nebraska University in 2013-14 – and his very talented brother Corey who is returning from a drug suspension.

Long-time international Dillon Boucher continues to defy his age, while Everard Bartlett, a rookie who impressed with his smart play in Venezuela, seems set for a breakout season for Perth.

Aussies
Australian mainstays CJ Bruton and Glen Saville are still running around, while current Boomers squad members Peter Crawford, Adam Gibson and Damian Martin will again play big roles.

Recent junior national team stars Mitch Creek, Jason Cadee and Mitch Norton will all have bigger roles this season as they continue towards senior international ranks, while 2007 junior reps Chris Goulding and Daniel Johnson finally seem ready to step into the limelight as key players.

Talented Aussies Mark Worthington, Luke Nevill, Julian Khazzouh and Anatoly Bose have all headed overseas, but former junior nationals Clint Steindl, Nate Tomlinson and Cam Gliddon have returned home from the NCAA.

The imports
Georgetown University great Kevin Braswell is back in the league with Melbourne; Dominican Republic livewire Adris ‘2hard2guard’ Deleon is taking his unique style to the Wollongong Hawks; and former LSU forward Darnell Lazare is impressing in Sydney with his discipline and fundamentals.

In good news for many true hoops fans in Australia, import guard CJ Massingale has finally got a go in the big time after seven years dominating the second tier SEABL for south-east Melbourne club Knox.

Last year’s trio of star imports – Cedric Jackson, Jamar Wilson and Kevin Lisch – return to New Zealand, Cairns and Perth respectively, but it seems they will have a true challenger for best guard in the NBL this year.

Is Gary a Croc?
In what would be the biggest news of the off-season, initial reports suggest the Townsville Crocs have snapped up lightning-quick guard Gary Ervin.

While Ervin doesn’t have an incredible international resume, the last time he was in the NBL he played for the sweet-shooting Wollongong team, whose starting frontcourt both shot the three-pointer at over 41%, and all their wings shot above 36%.

With so much space Ervin was able to utilise his speed to at-times devastating effect and he finished second in points behind only NZ scoring machine Kirk Penney.

Like Wollongong, the Crocs also have shooters at every position. If the reports are true, when Ervin and Croatian club Zadar mutually agreed they were happy to see the back of each other, Townsville coach Paul Woolpert pounced, having coached Ervin previously in the USA.

Tough gig
That same day he had sent his hand-picked imports, Jason Forte and Curtis Withers, packing.

Forte had only had meaningful international stints in Romania, the Philippines and the Turkish second division, nothing that suggested he could be a good NBL player - especially as a ball-handler as Woolpert wanted - and so it turned out.

Withers, who represented the USA strongly at the 2005 FIBA U21 World Championship, has put up solid numbers in Turkey, France and Israel amongst other places, and probably would have been a contributor in Australia given time.

However, with 2.11m former Australian junior rep and St Mary’s University star Ben Allen finally finding his game for the Crocs after two poor seasons, Townsville felt they no longer needed a big import.

That’s sadly the reality for Americans around the world. Perform or go home. Perform, but the rest of the team isn’t working out and you may be sent home anyway. Don’t perform and there are few second chances.

One of the best to come?
And so the NBL season is ready for tip-off next Friday night with a grand final re-match between New Zealand and Perth in Auckland.




With every game broadcast for the first time in league history the Australians, New Zealanders and Americans alike will equally scrutinised from first game until last.

And with the Gold Coast withdrawing in the off-season the competition is as tough and even as ever before - a great environment to see who is made of stern stuff.

Paulo Kennedy from FIBA



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Can Cillere
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 20, 2012, 05:41:01 AM »

Oceania & Australia Basketball News & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Australiano

A new Australian Basketball Championship ?

It was interesting chatting to a member of the Australian Boomers Olympic contingent this week, listening to how carefully they tried to manage their pre-tournament build-up to hit the ground running.

They didn't want to peak too soon, didn't want to play too many lead-up matches, were happy to lose to Brazil in an exhibition game ahead of their opening night clash in London …

It was a definitely a thoroughly planned lead-up, but you know what they say about the best laid plans? The Boomers had yet another tentative start to a major tournament, as is their habit.

Since 1998 Australia has had just one quality performance in the opening game of a major tournament, in 2006 when a vastly understrength team shocked Brazil at the FIBA World Championship.

Preparing a team for a tournament or season is not an easy job. It's important in the Olympics, and recent history tells us it is crucial in the NBL.

Over the past three years there has only been one change to the NBL's top four after the first third of the season, and on two of those occasions it has been the fifth-placed team stepping into a playoff spot.

If you want to make the playoffs you had better be on your game early, and that means preparing well.

In Europe, with countless quality teams across more than 20 countries, there is plenty of competition on offer to play multiple exhibition games.

But Downunder there are only eight professional teams - one in New Zealand and the rest spread across the length and breadth of Australia. That is an area not much smaller than continental Europe.

So, as you could imagine, it is difficult to get a lot of practice games.

As a result, most teams try to arrange a couple of two-game series against another NBL team and then play in the three-game NBL pre-season tournament.

That's seven games, and if they're lucky another game will fall into their lap late in the pre-season.

Others look to play in overseas tournaments. This year the Adelaide 36ers headed to China for five games following a match-up with Nicholls State University.

By the time the NBL season starts they will have had around 10 games. The problem is, after playing sides from the NCAA, Serbia, China and a semi-pro US squad they haven't yet faced an NBL standard team.

The Melbourne Tigers found out the damage this can do two seasons ago. After tours of Ireland and China they came into the NBL season almost undefeated, but were simply uncompetitive.

They had some big issues regardless, but playing inferior opposition masked how bad they actually were.

The other issue in NBL pre-season is most games are played in local stadiums to reach out to grassroots basketballers.

Unfortunately, with teams usually featuring numerous new players and not having many games to knit, these contests often aren't great advertisements for the league.

So the solution needs to have volume games, even if against inferior opponents, have games in local stadiums that present NBL teams in a good light, and have plenty of opportunities to play other NBL teams too.

My idea is the Australian Basketball Championship, running through August into early September.

In Australia's state leagues or division two competitions there are some 100 clubs, all linked to a local association.

In a cross between the FA Cup in England and NCAA Tournament in the USA, the Australian Basketball Championship (ABC) would place the top 56 state league teams and eight NBL giants in a six-round knockout competition.

All early games would be home games for state league teams, and the competition could culminate in an eight-team finals event over one weekend in a single location.

If the draw was arranged so at least two state league teams make the final eight it could create some serious anticipation. So would the prospect of an upset when an NBL team comes to play the local heroes.

Most importantly, it would mean NBL teams get 3-6 early practice games, play in front of local crowds against teams they can show their skills off against, with the tournament bringing the disparate Australian basketball community together under one umbrella.

When an NBL team travels as part of the ABC to play a local team, a practice game could be scheduled against that city's NBL team the next day, behind closed doors or for club members only.

Now the number of practice games is up to 6-9 with three weeks to go until season tip off. From there teams can arrange a two-game series and participate in the NBL pre-season tournament and they are into double figures.

Why is this so important? The NBL's biggest regular season TV ratings are almost always in Round 1. Unfortunately, if the broadcast games feature teams who are yet to gel the product isn't one that gets people to tune in again.

This has happened season after season where the viewer drop away is too big, hurting the league's standing with their broadcaster.




An idea like the Australian Basketball Championship creates an extra level of excitement for local basketball fans, brings them close to NBL teams, allows better preparation for the crucial start to the NBL season and gives young state league players a chance to test themselves against professionals.

It's hard to think of negatives that out-weigh those positives.
 
Paulo Kennedy from FIBA



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Coach Horacles
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 04, 2012, 05:24:46 AM »

Oceania & Australia Basketball News & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Australiano

Big achievement, but big challenge

It was one of the biggest days for Australian professional basketball in a long time, but it also sets up a make-or-break period.

To the rest of the developed sporting world it mightn’t seem like much, but Basketball Australia (BA) this week announced that every NBL game would be available live through their new online NBL.TV service.

While FIBA TV, NBA TV and Euroleague TV are well established, the NBL is the first Australian sporting league to set up its own dedicated channel with every game available.

There is good reason why this hasn’t happened before Downunder - the holy grail of television.

Under Australian law, major sporting events are protected for free-to-air (FTA) television networks. Australians watch these sports in massive numbers and FTA networks fork out massive amounts and show countless hours, often in prime time.

So sports have always handed over as much product as possible to networks in return for the best rights fee and coverage.

The only internet sports product that has really taken hold in Australia is NBA TV, with reportedly the highest number of subscribers worldwide being from Downunder.

BA took note of this, and also paid attention when tens of thousands of fans tuned into ‘illegal streams’ of NBL semi-final games that weren’t live on FTA.

Intelligently, NBL Marketing & Sales GM Aaron Flanagan reclaimed the online rights when renegotiating the league’s television contract.

Apparently no one in the industry believed they would be able to sell them, but Flanagan worked with Perform Sports – who partner FIBA TV – to create an Australian first.

Over its 34 years, the NBL has never had more than around 60% of its games broadcast, and nowhere near that figure shown live. Now, suddenly, that increases to 100%!

As you might expect, basketball fans have been whooping it up on social media and BA is rightly proud of the deal. But the truth is the hard work starts now.

Back in 1992, after hoops had taken Australia by storm and crowds had risen from a few hundred well into the thousands, Network Ten wanted a piece of the TV action.

The FTA coverage went from highlights and finals games to three live games a week, two of them in prime time. It was a revolutionary deal, not even the country’s biggest sports received such coverage back then.

The only problem was basketball wasn’t ready for it. Network Ten didn’t know how to promote or present the sport to the mainstream, and neither did the NBL.

Hoops went from a huge niche sport to a small mainstream one, ratings were poor and before you could say “Andrew Gaze hits another triple” games were being screened after midnight.

Soon the NBL was off FTA altogether and thus began a descent in its popularity that was only really turned around three years ago.

Part of that change was, ironically, Network Ten committing to a five-year deal in 2010 showing live games in prime time on their FTA sports channel ONE – two in the first year building up to every game by the end of the contract.

Guess what? Network Ten didn’t know how to promote or present the sport to the mainstream, and neither did the NBL!

Games generated three to four times the ratings they had on pay-TV, but this wasn’t up to the levels Network Ten expected on the more widely-watched FTA platform.

Last year, one season into the deal, games were shown at 10.30pm. How the wheel turns.

Wisely, the NBL decided to renegotiate the deal and that brings us to today. This season will see one live game on Ten each Sunday afternoon and a game Friday nights at 9.30pm on ONE - both in far better time slots to balance fan accessibility and achieve realistic ratings.

But the league cannot just hope this and the new online product will be a magic bullet like it did in 1992 and 2010. Both the television and online deals are multi-year, but if people don’t watch, the league will be in serious trouble when the deals expire.

Basketball is considered a ratings flop in Australia, despite around one million people playing the sport. As Mr Flanagan said via Twitter this week, it’s “time to turn that traction into action”.

That’s exactly what Basketball Australia and NBL clubs must do - promote it heavily through social media, school and community visits, game night, every other way possible to get people tuning in.

Most importantly, make sure the product is quality.

In the past two years under Ten’s watch, most of the in-game replays have been of fouls, and the commentators spend more time analysing the refereeing than the game. They didn’t appear to know much about the players. That hardly enhances the viewing experience, and that has to be the utmost priority now.

Secondly, we need to make sure the refereeing is consistent and clean – rarely worth commenting on - allowing the players to fight out a game of skill and strategy. When this happens the NBL is a highly attractive spectacle.




The NBL has a huge opportunity, for that BA must be praised effusively. There has been other steady progress in recent years, they deserve much credit for that too. But they should also know the job is just beginning, because another chance like this mightn’t come along for some time if it flops again.

Paulo Kennedy from FIBA



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Bue Devils
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 24, 2012, 06:18:52 PM »

Oceania & Australia Basketball News & Events • Noticias & Eventos del Baloncesto Australiano

Boomers future on ‘the up and up’

Australia’s Patrick Mills of the San Antonio Spurs wasn’t the only Boomer to cause at a stir at the Olympics.

Joe Ingles of Barcelona fame also raised eyebrows with his performances, including a 19-point, eight-rebound and six-assist effort against the United States in the Quarter-Finals.

Everyone wanted to know after that game if Ingles might be latest the Boomer to play in the NBA where Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors) and Mills also play.

A person well-suited to offer insight to Ingles’ potential across the Atlantic was Boomers coach Brett Brown.

He is an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs.

"He's multi-faceted, he has a great skills package for his size," Brown said of Ingles.

"His future is on the up and up.

“I think the NBA will pay attention, especially after these Olympic Games."

Ingles stands 2.03m in height and has a big wingspan.

He can hit the three-pointer, put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket and catch alley-oop passes before dunking with authority.

Defensively, he has spent the past two seasons guarding Spanish national team star and Barcelona icon Juan Carlos Navarro in practice.

Still only 24, Ingles, who averaged 15 points, five rebounds and 4.2 assists per game at the Olympics, has his best years ahead of him.

He will be one of the Boomers’ leading players when they compete at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

That should be a very good team, one that should get to the Knockout Round because London also bore witness to a couple of other emerging international talents in guard Matthew Dellavedova and center Aron Baynes.

With Mills returning, and possibly Bogut as well - Australia will be formidable.

A player that Australia will not have is their three-time Olympian Matt Nielsen, who is 34.

Nielsen raved about the progress of Mills and Ingles the past several years because all three were at the Beijing Games as well.




"The thing I've been proud of in the last two Olympics is being part of guys like Joey and Patty's development,” Nielsen said.

"To see those guys especially, I wish I was a bit younger, and I could run up and down with them a bit more. They're special players."

FIBA



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