Category: NBL1

2021 NBL1 Central: Round 2 preview

NBL1 Central opened its 2021 season last weekend, with plenty of entertaining clashes across both the men’s and women’s leagues. Expect plenty more of that this weekend with Round 2 delivering some exciting matchups.

Norwood Flames v Forestville Eagles

Men’s:

These two teams started their seasons in very different fashion last weekend. The Flames couldn’t get past the Warriors, eventually defeated by 15 points after a disappointing second half fadeout. The Eagles had a much better performance, blowing out the Mavericks by 27 points, with the result never in doubt. This result is no certainty, with high-volume scorers on both teams keeping the result up in the air. Eagle Michael Harris had 37 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. The Flames will have to keep a close check on him to make sure he doesn’t catch fire from behind the arc again. He was one of three scorers for the Eagles with 19 or more points, showcasing their scoring depth. There are plenty of guys on this team who can have a 30-point night, and the Flames will have to prepare their best defensive plans to limit this. The Flames also have scoring options, albeit not as many. CJ Turnage had 36 points against the Warriors last week along with six steals. If the Eagles can curb his influence, it will go a long way towards winning the match.

Women’s:

Both of these sides came away with a Round 1 victory but had slightly different margins. Much like the results in the men’s league, the Eagles would be much more satisfied with their performance, producing a 24 point win to start the season in ideal fashion. The Flames also started their season 1-0, but it came in the form of just a four-point win thanks to a fourth quarter comeback. It will be interesting to see where each team is at and how much they have taken out of last week’s results. Can Genna Anderson continue her strong start to the season after last round’s 26-point, 11-rebound performance? She will be well aided by teammates Paige Kennihan and Georgie Garrard. The Eagles will be looking to replicate their strong shooting performance as a team that treated them so well last week, with Samantha Simons one to watch after her 18 points and 13 rebounds to start the season.

 

Eastern Mavericks v South Adelaide Panthers

Men’s:

The South Adelaide Panthers put on a strong showing against North Adelaide, cruising their way to a 21-point win to begin their 2021 campaign. The Eastern Mavericks were disappointed in their first outing for the season, convincingly beaten by the Eagles and will be desperate for a response this week. Looking at last week’s game, it’s easy to see that the Panthers were not carried by an individual scorer, instead they had five double-digit scorers. The Mavericks will be keen to keep Alex Starling quiet after his dominant display, posting 20 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals. This may prove to be a difficult task as Starling has shown he can influence the game in a variety of ways. The Mavericks will also be looking to get Nathaniel Koko involved in the offence again after his 23 points in last weekend’s loss.

Women’s:

The Mavericks can only improve after last week’s disappointing display, finding themselves on the end of a 24-point blowout at the hands of the Eagles. They failed to register a double digit score in two separate quarters and just couldn’t get their offence flowing against a spirited Eagles team. Mollie McKendrick tried all day to lift her side’s scoring output, so expect her to do something similar this week. Kedeisha Kartinyeri will be eager to improve after a quiet game last week, and she certainly is capable. The Panthers announced themselves as a threat to the league with a solid 21-point win over the Rockets. Ashley Spencer and Olivia Thompson combined for 64 points, nearly outscoring the opposition team themselves. Expect to see the ball in their hands again this week.

 

Southern Tigers v West Adelaide Bearcats

Men’s:

Both teams started the season in very similar fashion, losing by quite small margins. The Tigers couldn’t capitalise on a strong opening quarter, giving up their lead over the next three quarters, and losing to the Sabres by eight points. The Bearcats couldn’t quite complete the final quarter comeback and ended up being defeated by the Lions by seven points. It’s obvious the Tigers will need to tighten up on dangerous Bearcats duo Bryan Michaels (28 points) and Earnest Ross (21 points) if they are any chance to stop their offence. The Bearcats should consider doing the same with Tiger Cameron Coleman after his team-high 24 points last week.

Women’s:

The Bearcats couldn’t have started the season any better, embarrassing the Lions by a mammoth 64 points in what was nearly a flawless game. They shot 44 per cent from the field and simply could not be stopped. The Tigers held on against the Sabres to run out eight-point winners in what was a mature performance. In the final stages of the game, they never let their opponents get the open looks they wanted. They will have to be better if they want to take down this Bearcats side. A promising sign for the Tigers heading into this clash is that they had three scorers finish with over 15 points. Their offence can come from plenty of places, but their defence will have to be nearly impenetrable. Sky Langenbrinck and Jennie Rintala were deadly for the Bearcats on the offensive end, and will be aiming for similar outputs this week.

 

Central Districts Lions v Sturt Sabres

Men’s:

The Lions started the season with not the most convincing of wins, but a win nonetheless. They withstood a final quarter charge from the Bearcats to hold on as seven point wins. Expect Lual Diing to prove a threat to opposition defenders again this week, coming off a 27-point, 15-rebound performance. The Lions had plenty to take out of last week’s match and prepare for the coaches to make some adjustments for a more comfortable win. They face off against the Sabres, who had a close win of their own, beating the Tigers by eight points in a tight clash. Shooting 45 per cent from the field, the Sabres had four players in double digits. If they can spread the scoring again, they will prove hard to beat.

Women’s:

The Lions had a nightmare first round, conceding the biggest margin across the league (64 points) and only contributing 32 points themselves. They will be desperate to improve, and hopefully move themselves to the winners list. Shooting practice would have been on the agenda at training this week, as they shot only 25 per cent from the field. They also only had one scorer reach 10 points in April Rummery Lumb and only had three assists as a team. In their path this week are the Sabres, who suffered an awfully close loss to the Tigers, eventually defeated by eight points. They didn’t play bad by any means, but their shooting let them down. Only 36 per cent accuracy as a team is a fair indicator that a win is not on the horizon. They still put up 72 points, which is more than enough to put away the Lions team that showed up last week. For the Sabres, it simply a question of if that team will show up again, or if they will put up a fight.

 

North Adelaide Rockets v Woodville Warriors

Men’s:

The Rockets stumbled in their season opener, allowing the Panthers to run away with a 21-point win, and with plenty to review. They won two of the four quarters, but the two they lost were simply too much, conceding 64 points in those two periods. If they can maintain some consistency in their performance, they could compete with the best. Verle Williams will likely attract the eye of the defence, finishing with 33 points in the season opener. If he is shut down, expect Tobias Dowdell to be an offensive focus. The Warriors simply got the job done against the Flames in Round 1, with four scorers ending the game with 13 points or more, and the result was never in doubt as they showcased an impressive display of ball movement that is sure to make an appearance against the Rockets. They finished with 26 assists overall, and if they can move the ball as well as they did against the Flames, the Rockets defence will struggle to keep up. Keep an eye out for Joe Jackson on the boards, after pulling down 20 against the Flames.

Women’s:

Eerily similar to their men’s side, the Rockets were dismantled by the Panthers, with the margin ending as a 22-point loss. If they don’t want a repeat of this, they will need to improve their ability to hold on to the ball. 23 turnovers as a team did a lot of the damage, as they constantly found themselves on the back foot. They have offensive weapons in Taylor Ortlepp and Sam Defrancesco who will be crucial in the result of the game. They take on a Warriors side who will still be hurting from a four-point loss at the hands of the Flames. There would have been a lot of focus on their ability to hold onto a lead, after a final quarter fadeout cost them the game. There is no doubt this will inspire the likes of Emily Winter and Chloe Purvis, who performed well, but will be hungry to get back on the winners list. Expect a tense battle.

2021 NBL1 Central: Round 1 wrap

THE 2021 NBL1 season has kicked off proceedings for 2021 in the Central Division and it was full of exciting action all over the competition. There were nail-biters, blowouts, and plenty of outstanding individual performances. Plenty of teams found a lot to take away from this weekend’s basketball activity across both the women’s and men’s leagues.

WOMEN’S

South Adelaide Panthers (87) def. North Adelaide Rockets (66)

The South Adelaide Panthers kicked off their season in style with a comfortable 21-point win over crosstown opponents North Adelaide Rockets, thanks to a strong last quarter. The first half belonged to the Rockets, as they took a six-point lead into the half time break. The Panthers had work to do if they were going to get back into this game, and they did exactly that. An initial nine-point difference in the third quarter saw the Panthers take a slim three-point lead into the final break, before the game was blown open in the last. A 27-9 final term sealed the deal as South Adelaide ended up cruising to a comfortable win after a strong turnaround.

For the Panthers, the duo of Olivia Thompson and Ashley Spencer proved too strong for North Adelaide with both finishing above 30 points for the game. Thompson was outstanding, finishing with 31 points, 16 rebounds (seven offensive) and six assists in a dominant performance. Spencer was just ahead with 33 points and six rebounds on 69 per cent field goal (FG). The duo were a major reason for the Panthers fightback and could not have started the season any better. For the Rockets, Taylor Ortlepp worked all game to maintain her side’s lead, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds, while Sam Defrancesco’s 13 points also impressed.

Forestville Eagles (70) def. Eastern Mavericks (46)

The Eagles will be pleased with their start to this season following Saturday’s 24-point win, while the Mavericks have plenty to improve on in order to compete with the best. Winning every quarter, Forestville never gave their opponents an easy look, staying disciplined and finishing the job right up to the final buzzer. Following a slow first quarter, where there were a combined 16 points scored, the Eagles took an eight-point lead into half time, before a one sided third quarter all but sealed the result. The 13-point differential in the third quarter saw Forestville fire on all cylinders and cruise to a comfortable victory.

Samantha Simons was the strongest performer for the victors, ending the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals in an exceptional game on both ends of the court. She was well aided by teammates Cara Annetts (12 points and seven rebounds) and Brooke Basham (10 points and nine rebounds). For the Panthers, there was only one double digit scorer in Mollie McKendrick who fought her way to 11 points and nine rebounds despite minimal help.

Southern Tigers (61) def. Sturt Sabres (53)

An efficient shooting performance from the Southern Tigers saw them take down the Sturt Sabres by eight points on Saturday night. The Tigers shot 50 per cent from the field and 58 per cent from three-point territory, making it awfully hard for the Sabres to keep up. The first quarter opened the game with scoring galore, with the sides combining for 37 points. This would not last but the Tigers kept their ascendancy over their opponents for the remaining three quarters. It was extremely unlikely that the Sabres would be able to match the fantastic shooting of their opponents, but they still put up a strong fight to reduce the margin in the final term.

The victors were led strongly by Jemma Thacker as she poured on 16 points and five rebounds at 71 per cent shooting. Her efficiency was reflective of the rest of her side as they moved the ball to give themselves the best possible look at a good shot. Teammate Morgan Yaeger’s 12 points and four assists also impressed. For the Sabres, Nicola Matthews fought all night to drag her team back into the game. She finished the match with 18 points (67 per cent FG), five rebounds and a notable five steals in a performance that stood out despite a disappointing night for her side.

West Adelaide Bearcats (96) def. Central Districts Lions (32)

The Bearcats sent a message to the rest of the competition with their 64-point thrashing of a disappointing Lions side. The writing was on the wall after a 30-2 first term with West Adelaide starting the game on an 18-0 run as Central Districts could not buy a basket. While it never got as one sided for the remaining three quarters, the result was never in doubt as the Bearcats continued to increase the margin to take the biggest win of the round.

Bearcats Sky Langenbrick and Jennie Rintala set the tone for their side, finishing with 25 and 23 points respectively on extremely efficient shooting. There were contributors all over the court for this side, demonstrated by their 96 points coming with only two double-digit scorers. There were not many impressive performers for the Lions in this convincing loss, with April Rummery Lumb the leading performer with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Woodville Warriors (75) def by. Norwood Flames (79)

In the closest game for the round, the Flames escaped with a four-point victory over the Warriors, credit to a strong last quarter. The lead went back and forth all game in extremely entertaining basketball action. The game was all square after the first term, with the Warriors taking slim leads into the third and fourth quarters. The Flames would gain the lead midway through the last term, but their opponents did not give up, and the game was not decided until the final 10 seconds were counting down. The seesawing affair could have gone either way, and Norwood will be thrilled to walk away with the win.

Norwood’s win was inspired by the marvellous performance of Genna Anderson who dropped 26 points, 11 rebounds (seven offensive boards), two steals and two blocks. Anderson also finished the game with her side’s final field goal to put them in a winning position. Paige Kennihan (17 points) and Georgie Garrard (13 points and 11 rebounds) were also impressive for the victors. Woodville’s Emily Winter delivered arguably the strongest individual performance of the game, with 28 points and 13 rebounds as she did all she could to drag her side over the line. She received handy assistance from teammate Chloe Purvis who poured in 17 points of her own.

 

MEN’S

Forestville Eagles (104) def. Eastern Mavericks (77)

The NBL1 Men’s competition kicked off with a clinical performance from the Eagles as they took down the Mavericks by 27 points on Saturday night. A nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter would prove to be the writing on the wall as Forestville went on to win all quarters and never let their opponents get even a sliver of a comeback. With strong performers all over the court, the Eagles began their 2021 campaign in style and will be looking to carry the momentum into next week’s match, while the Mavericks would have found plenty to improve on.

The standout performer was clearly Forestville’s Michael Harris who stuffed the stat sheet with 37 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a staggering showing. Harris also connected on seven three pointers showcasing his ability to score from nearly anywhere. Fellow Eagles Gregory Mays (27 points and 13 rebounds) and Brandon Brine (19 points and nine rebounds) also contributed strongly. The Mavericks might not have performed to their desired standard, but Nathaniel Koko tried all night, and can be proud with how he played, ending the game with 23 points.

South Adelaide Panthers (92) def. North Adelaide Rockets (71)

In a battle of cross-town rivals, South Adelaide showed their class across the board, taking down North Adelaide by 21 points. Despite the convincing margin, both sides won two quarters each, but the first and third quarters from the Panthers proved too much for the Rockets. South Adelaide scored 64 in these quarters, while North Adelaide could only manage 31 as they were overcome by a side who could not seem to miss.

For the Panthers, Alex Starling was easily the side’s strongest performer, dropping an impressive triple double in the win. Starling ended with 20 points, 13 points and 10 assists, with his eight steals putting him only two shy of an amazing quadruple double. It was a masterful performance that was reflective of his side on the night. Fellow Panthers Todd Davies (21 points), Adam Brown (17 points) and Codey Ellison (15 points and nine rebounds) were also strong. Despite not getting the win, Rocket Verle Williams topscored with his 33 points.

Southern Tigers (62) def by. Sturt Sabres (70)

A strong team performance has led the Sturt Sabres to an eight-point win over the Southern Tigers in Saturday night’s matchup. The Tigers jumped to an early six-point lead after the first quarter, but the Sabres were able to weather the storm and win the remaining three quarters. The Tigers were still able to keep themselves right in the game but could not muster a strong enough comeback in the last, with the Sabres doing enough to remain in the lead.

The Sabres win came from a terrific all-around performance, with no Sturt player topping Sam Daly’s 13 points, as three other teammates hit double digits. Joel Spear (12 points and 11 rebounds), Nik Fassos (11 points) and Keanu Rasmussen (11 points) were all key for their side’s win. For the Tigers, Cameron Coleman battled hard with his 24 points to try and conjure a win. 

West Adelaide Bearcats (76) def by. Central Districts Lions (83)

In the closest game of the round, the Lions survived a last quarter Bearcats comeback to run out the game seven-point winners. Trailing by 14 points late in the third term, the Bearcats dragged themselves to within three points late in the final quarter, but Lual Diing was ice cold in the final two minutes, sinking clutch free throws to seal the result and break the hearts of his opponents.

Diing was his side’s strongest performer, finishing with a huge 27-point and 15-rebound game and was instrumental in leading his side to the narrow victory. His teammates Kelani Sapwell (13 points) and Makok Manyang (11 points and nine rebounds) also caught the eye with their ability to create a shot. Despite the tough loss, Bryan Michaels scored a game high 28 points and continued to create havoc for defenders despite the deficit. Earnest Ross also battled his way to 21 points and five rebounds.

Woodville Warriors (75) def by. Norwood Flames (90)

In an outing closer than the score suggests, the Woodville Warriors could not keep up with the firepower of their Norwood Flames opponents, eventually falling by 15 points. A tight first half saw Norwood lead by the smallest of margins, as Woodville found themselves within one point at the main break. The Flames began to find their rhythm in the third, taking a seven-point lead into the final quarter. A 22-14 last term sealed the win for Norwood, as Woodville continued to struggle to contain the scoring of their opponents.

Norwood were well served by CJ Turnage and his 36-point performance. This led all comers for the game as he continued to find space to put up shots from both around the paint and behind the three point line. Teammate Moses Nuangki finished with 16 points in a solid start to the season. For the Warriors, James Boonstoppel (22 points) and Julian Jacobs (19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) tried hard all game to get their team’s scoring going while Joe Jackson pulled down 20 rebounds.

NBL1 Central Men’s: Team lists

THE opening round of NBL1 Central Men’s commences on Saturday night with Eastern Mavericks and Forestville Eagles kicking things off, however the Mavericks are yet to release any players set to line-up for them this season. Joining the side in not yet releasing its squad for the 2021 season is North Adelaide Rockets with the remaining sides announcing at least two players set to gear up.

South Adelaide wasted no time adding some valuable experience and talent to their list for the 2021 season picking up Adelaide 36ers guard Alex Mudronja. Standing at six foot five inches, Mudronja is a force to be reckoned with and is creative ball in hand. He is joined by the likes of 36ers teammate Owen Hulland who adds even more height to the side given his seven-foot frame and ability to attack the rim.

Sturt have named four players so far with Keanu Rasmussen and Jack Turnbull amongst some of the notable names. Rasmussen is a newbie to the Sabres side while Turnbull is returning to the squad after graduating Mayville State University in 2019. Reigning MVP winner, Joel Spear also returns to the squad for the 2021 season and will be hoping to bring that level intensity this season.

Looking at Woodville Warriors, it is hard to bypass the likes of Julian Jacobs who will be eager to set the court alight. Jacobs has spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers in a training capacity while also racking up the minutes in the G-League where he plied his trade. The guard is a real excitement machine who has that added touch of class which the Warriors will value highly alongside American import Joe Jackson.

Earnest Ross headlines the signings for West Adelaide Bearcats having played with the Perth Wildcats and spent time in a host of other international basketball leagues such as NBA G-League and Qatar Basketball League. Norwood Flames are coming along nicely with Moses Nuangki securing a spot in the squad while Ray Harding has made the switch from North Adelaide to Norwood. Forestville Eagles have announced a number of players in the squad with Greg Mays, Michael Harris and Todd Winter just to name a few.

Round 1 fixture:

Eastern Mavericks vs. Forestville Eagles
North Adelaide Rockets vs. South Adelaide Panthers
Southern Tigers vs. Sturt Sabres
Central District Lions vs. West Adelaide Bearcats
Norwood Flames vs. Woodville Warriors

Team lists:

Central Districts Lions: Shaquille Maharaj, Lual Diing
Eastern Mavericks: No announced players
Forestville Eagles: Greg Mays, Michael Harris, Jake Rios, Brandon Brine, Todd Winter, Isaac Atuer, Mitch Dix, Malith Machar, Jalen Croxton
North Adelaide Rockets: No announced players
Norwood Flames: Moses Nuangki, Ray Harding, CJ Turnage, Daniel Webber, Jordan Wilson, Matt Lycett, Luca Barei, Ryan Giradi, Aydan Janssen
South Adelaide Panthers: Alex Starling, RJ Jarrett, Todd Davies, Jarryd Hoppo, Sam Johns, Owen Hulland, Alex Mudronja
Southern Tigers: Koop McCalop, Christian Artacho, Mitchell Olbrich, Matt Tassell, Cameron Coleman, Machar Machar, Leon Twigg, Kut Deng, Curtis Scott, Caleb Magua, James Adcock, Nick Wurm, Daniel Smith, Orlando Zohar, Jamie Smith, Dane Bobinac
Sturt Sabres: Sam Daly, Joel Spear, Keanu Rasmussen, Jack Turnbull
West Adelaide Bearcats: Earnest Ross, Bryan Michaels
Woodville Warriors: Joe Jackson, Julian Jacobs

NBL1 Central Women’s: Team lists

ROUND 1 of NBL1 Central Women’s gets underway this weekend with the first game of the round seeing Eastern Mavericks take on Forestville Eagles. With the opening game quickly approaching the teams are starting to take shape, however as of time of publishing the Central District Lions and Mavericks are yet to disclose any members for their 2021 squad.

The Eagles, Norwood Flames, South Adelaide Panthers and Southern Tigers have the most complete lists in the competition with the latter releasing a 16-player team filled with a host of stars. Captain, Tara Dodman is set to headline the squad while co-captain Morgan Yaeger is another exciting prospect for the side. Madison Round signed on with the club for her third year, joining teammate Lauren Whitbread.

There are a couple of exciting names headlining the NBL1 Central competition with Samantha Simons a key figure to keep an eye out for. Initially planning to ply her trade overseas in the US, Simons finds herself suiting up for the Eagles this year instead given the COVID-19 pandemic and is a great acquisition for the side alongside Brooke Basham.

Former Ipswich Force player in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL), Rachel Mate has made her way down to join the North Adelaide Rockets for the 2021 season while Ally Wilson has signed on with Norwood Flames. Wilson is a formidable force and can ply her trade effectively making her an exciting pickup for the upcoming season after coming off a strong term with Adelaide Lightning in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). The Flames also have Paige Keenihan, Aimee Herriman, Georgia Thomson and Chelsea Apacible who have all re-signed with the club for the upcoming season as they build a strong core. They also picked up the services of Big V representative Sophie Kerridge.

The Sturt Sabres have acquired the services of American import Kylee Smith, who averaged 18.2 points and 10.6 rebounds over in the Premier League. Her influence will be exciting to watch not only on Sturt’s half but so too the rest of the competition. Jennie Rintala is the only signing for West Adelaide Bearcats so far while the Woodville Warriors have secured the services of Emily Winter and Nyidier Riak.

Round 1 fixture:

Eastern Mavericks vs. Forestville Eagles
North Adelaide Rockets vs. South Adelaide Panthers
Southern Tigers vs. Sturt Sabres
Central Districts Lions vs. West Adelaide Bearcats
Norwood Flames vs. Woodville Warriors

Team lists:

Central Districts Lions: No announced players
Eastern Mavericks: No announced players
Forestville Eagles: Brooke Basham, Aimee Brett, Cara Annetts, Kaylee Biddell, Amy Cotton, Samantha Simons
North Adelaide Rockets: Rachel Mate
Norwood Flames: Shay’Lee Dayman, Genna Anderson, Ally Wilson, Georgia Thomson, Aimee Herriman, Paige Keenihan, Chelsea Apacible, Sophie Kerridge, Bride Kennedy-Hopoate
South Adelaide Panthers: Ashleigh Spencer, Olivia Thompson, Teresa McGreehan, Jordan Hunter, Phoebe Witter Smith, Hannah Stewart, Erina Marafioti
Southern Tigers: Morgan Yaeger, Maddison Round, Margot Hall, Rosie Williamson, Jemma Thacker, Denelle Fawcett, Bianca McCalop, Tara Dodman, Teige Morrell, Hannah Frisby Smith, Britt Winter, Keeley Round, Abby Beeche, Hope Smith, Annie Bartsch, Lauren Whitbread
Sturt Sabres: Kayla Mathews, Nicola Mathews, Jade Johnson, Kylee Smith
West Adelaide Bearcats: Jennie Rintala
Woodville Warriors: Emily Winter, Nyidier Riak

NBL1 fixtures released for huge April tip-off

MORE than 1,150 games will take place in a blockbuster opening round of National Basketball League (NBL)1 action set to tip off on Saturday, April 10. For the first time, four different leagues will tip off after NBL1 South was completed in 2019, before a COVID-19 shutdown stopped NBL1 North and NBL1 Central from running, whilst NBL1 West will also join the new second tier competition.

NBL1 Central will tip-off first this year, with an April 10 starting date as the 10 teams take to the court in the men’s and women’s matches. Forestville Eagles and Eastern Mavericks officially become the first NBL1 teams to begin the 2021 season, in what will be an 18-round season for that competition.

NBL1 West begins on Friday. April 16 with 16 matches played across Round 1, and the league going 17 rounds. A day later NBL1 South will tip-off as 18 games take place across a huge Saturday, April 17 fixture, and much like their west counterparts, will run for 17 rounds.

The last competition to tip-off will come a month later when NBL1 North begins on Friday May 14. There will be 14 rounds for the season leading up until the finals series.

Each conference will complete its regular season and finals by September 5, with the men’s and women’s champions to then compete in the inaugural NBL1 Finals Series in Melbourne from September 10-12.

Excitingly, all NBL1 games will be streamed live this season across the country, with more games than ever before. NBL1 Chief Commercial Officer Brad Joyner said it was an exciting time for basketball.

“We are delighted to announce NBL1 will return to basketball courts across Australia this April after its cancellation in 2020 because of COVID,” he said.

“NBL1 has grown immensely since it started in 2019 and continues to go from strength to strength with the introduction of three new conferences in NBL1 North, NBL1 Central and NBL1 West joining NBL1 South.

“We look forward to what will be an exciting 2021 season culminating with the NBL1 Finals Series in September and watching the continued growth of all of our clubs and players over the coming months.”

The four conferences consist of 57 clubs and 110 teams across both men’s and women’s competitions.

For the full schedules across all four competitions, head to the NBL1 site.

Basketball Draft Central – Happy holidays and what to expect in 2021

IN what has been a challenging year for everyone, Draft Central would like to thank everyone for the support throughout 2020 in what was a remarkable year for the organisation. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, Draft Central was able to expand its coverage and increase its reach across the country far greater than any previous year. Thanks to the support of you, the readers, listeners and watchers, Draft Central was able to stand up in a tough time.

We wish everyone a happy holidays, and while we will be having some content go up over the break reviewing some of the most memorable moments of the year, we look forward to a massive 2021 where we will aim to go bigger and better.

In 2021, Basketball Draft Central will not only cover the National Basketball League (NBL) and Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), but continue its expansion into the NBL1 having covered the initial competition in 2019. Next year, Basketball Draft Central will cover all the NBL1 competitions, as well as the Big V and of course the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) in the Under 18s and Under 16s Championship Divisions.

Our coverage of the top basketball leagues in New Zealand will also continue, taking a look at the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) which sees its men’s competition tip-off in April. Then when the women’s season rolls around again, we will look to cover it in indepth once again.

We will also look to bring more features, and begin a basketball podcast to follow in the footsteps of our other branded podcasts, Final Siren (Australian rules football) and Centre Pass (netball) podcasts. There will be no time wasted once the New Year hits, with the NBL season starting early on January 10, and we will recap all the action from Round 1.

Join us in 2021 as we look forward to bringing you expansive basketball coverage throughout the entire year.

Moses Nuangki determined to find his way into the NBA

COMBO-guard Moses Nuangki has signed on in the NBL1 Central conference for the Norwood Flames after two years of high school and one year of junior college in the United States. Returning home to Adelaide due to COVID-19, the 20-year-old is now looking at the NBL as an alternative route to his end goal: the NBA.

Standing at six foot two, he has shown an ability to slot into either the one or two guard position with his speed and athleticism enabling him to be a threat on the offensive end, but also capable on taller guards defensively. While he can create shots for himself and his teammates, Nuangki has put a lot of work into his catch and shoot game to become more versatile as he progressed into higher levels of basketball.

“When I got there, it was kind of like I was playing against guys that were as athletic as me and they were all much older than me,” Nuangki said. “I kind of had to add something to my game so I started working on my jump shot.”

Nuangki models his game off Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo with his offensive potency from inside and out, his athleticism, and ability to be versatile on defence.

Leaving Australia after one semester of Year 11, Nuangki made his way to Carlisle High School in Virginia – Thon Maker’s alma mater. Having moved to Australia from Egypt with his family at four years old, he made that move alone and admitted it was “tough, but it was always something (he) wanted to do before (he) actually did it”.

“I thought about it when I was in Year 8 coming into Year 9, and when I was in Year 10 I was like ok, I’m definitely going to do it,” he said. “It was tough leaving family and friends behind and when I got there, a few months in I was super homesick, and I was ready to come home.”

Walking to the gym and practicing was Nuangki’s remedy for his homesickness which allowed him to focus more on his game and develop his craft.

Despite receiving attention from NCAA division one programs, ineligibility forced him to take the Junior College route. He wound up at Cowley College in Kansas to try and force his way into a Division 1 program after two years, but unfortunately for the promising talent the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to that.

Since returning to Adelaide, he was welcomed the opportunity to train with Adelaide 36ers in the NBL, where he was able to learn to be “more of a professional”.

“Coming in, I didn’t know much of how to be a professional, but when I got there I saw the little things that separate college athletes and professional athletes,” he said.

With the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuangki is now looking to take the NBL pathway to realise his dream of playing NBA. For now, his focus is very much on the NBL1 season as he looks to make a name for himself with the Flames.

“I want to win the whole thing,” he said. “And I want to win the Frank Angove award, which is for the best player under 21, those are my goals.”

NBL1 West joins expanding second tier competition

WESTERN Australia is the latest state to join the National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition with the announcement that NBL1 West will tip-off in 2021. Following the success of the 2019 NBL1 (featuring predominantly Victorian teams with a couple of Tasmanian outfits), two more state leagues joined the second tier with the introduction of NBL1 North and NBL1 Central. While they ultimately did not get to play out under that umbrella, the leagues are set to go in 2021 alongside NBL1 West.

The current second tier basketball competition in Western Australia is known as the State Basketball League (SBL) and under the new arrangement that will now become NBL1 West. Fourteen teams will compete in the NBL1 West competition in 2021, with the successful sides:

  • Cockburn Cougars
  • East Perth Eagles
  • Geraldton Buccaneers
  • Goldfield Giants
  • Joondalup Wolves
  • Kalamunda Eastern Suns
  • Lakeside Lightning
  • Mandurah Magic
  • Perry Lakes Hawks
  • Perth Redbacks
  • Rockingham Flames
  • South West Slammers
  • Warwick Senators
  • Willetton Tigers

Each NBL1 league logo has adopted a different primary colour, with the NBL1 West choosing yellow, commonly associated with the state of Western Australia. NBL1 Chief Operating Officer Andy Crook said it was a huge announcement for basketball in Western Australia.

“This is an exciting day for Australian basketball and for basketball in Western Australia with the announcement of NBL1 West. NBL1 is Australia’s premier winter basketball league and we are delighted to welcome Western Australia into the family,” Crook said. “NBL1 will open up stronger pathways for Western Australian players to progress to the NBL, WNBL, US college and overseas leagues. “It will bring bigger audiences to basketball in Western Australia and take NBL1 to a new level.”

“Western Australia becomes the fourth major state league to join NBL1 in the space of just two years. “The support of Basketball Western Australia and the competing clubs is a major endorsement of the league and its direction. “After an interrupted 2020 we can’t wait to get back on the court in 2021.”

Basketball Western Australia CEO Rob Clement said the state governing body had canvassed the 14 clubs about the potential move with the decision to join the growing NBL1 competition ultimately chosen to help build on the work set by the SNBL over the past four decades.

“Basketball Western Australia has worked closely with our 14 clubs to make the decision to join the NBL1,” Clement said. “We are very excited to be part of the NBL1 competition in 2021 and showcasing the strength of basketball in Western Australia. “The SBL has a proud history of 40 years of providing a product that unites our basketball community and we believe that the NBL1 can help us grow this. “We look forward to working closely with the other states to raise the profile of our game in Australia.”

The structure for the 2021 NBL1 season will be announced in the near future, with the separate state leagues to have their own seasons, following by an NBL1 National Championship weekend featuring the best of the best from across the country.

NBL1 Central team summary – Norwood Flames

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Norwood Flames who shared the scoring around in season 2019 but missed out on making a finals appearance.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finish: 7
Win: 11
Loss: 9

TOP PLAYERS:

CARA ANNETTS

Statistics: 14.1 points, 1.3 assists, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 43.7% (2pt), 29.4% (3pt), 84.1% (FT)

The leading points scorer for her team, Annetts showcased his consistent ability to ram it home and add to the scoreboard for the Flames throughout 2019. Her average of 14.1 points a game was impressive while her accuracy from the free-throw line also shone true converting 84.1 per cent of his shorts. She also averaged 1.3 steals proving she was no slouch in defence while when it came to rebounding, she managed 7.1 a game. Annetts featured in 18 games such was her durability and most importantly played an average of 31.6 minutes a clear testament to her endurance, reliability and on-court skill.

TESS BRUFFEY

Statistics: 13.3 points, 2.2 assists, 10.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals
Shooting: 38.1% (2pt), 26.2% (3pt), 67.7% (FT)

Bruffey was a key performer for the Flames last year averaging an impressive double-double credit to her efforts both in points scoring and rebounding. She managed to sink an average of 13.3 points a game while also collecting 10.1 rebounds showcasing her strength around the rim and clever positioning to outbox her opponents. While she would have liked, a higher accuracy sitting well below 50 per cent for both three-pointers and shots inside the arc, Bruffey proved that hard work and determination will still get the job done. The Flames star took the court 18 times throughout the season and averaged the second highest minutes of anyone on the team with 32.6.

LYNQUOIA NORTH

Statistics: 9.3 points, 2.9 assists, 8.7 rebounds, 1.0 steal
Shooting: 37.7% (2pt), 12% (3pt), 48.2% (FT)

Featuring in 18 games for the season and racking up an average of 29.1 minutes North played a crucial support role to the likes of Bruffey and Annetts. She was able to ply her trade on court while also facilitating some type of attacking play credit to her 9.3 points a game. She fell just shy of a double-double with 8.7 rebounds but should be commended for her efforts, able to reel down the ball consistently. Much like Bruffey, accuracy was not her strong point especially when it came to long distance shooting, sitting at a mere 12 per cent after only converting three of her 25 attempts but was still a commanding presence on court.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON: FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON

Although it only took two games for the Flames to get on the winners list it was the convincing fashion in which they did it that stimulated plenty of excitement. Dropping 82 points thanks to a combined effort of players proved too much for the Eastern Mavericks who simply could not generate their normal game play. It was a key win for the Flames, helping them to set up the rest of the season and give them that belief that they can match it with the best seeing the Mavericks finished third on the ladder. Strong performances from Bruffey (14 points), Shannon Webber (17 points) and Kelsey Mckay (12 points) helped guide the side to their opening win.

BEST WIN: NARROW ROUND 9 VICTORY

While it was a relatively up and down season for the Flames the narrow six-point win against the Southern Tigers went down a treat. Coming off a win in the previous round the Flames had plenty of pep in their step taking it to their higher ranked opponent and making them work for every inch of it. The win was nothing short of hard fought with the likes of Bruffey leading the way with a whopping 25 points. She really helped to set the attacking tone of the game for Norwood while contributions from Webber (19 points), Annetts (14 points) and Jordyn Freer (12 points) also went a long way in getting the Flames over the line.

SUMMARY:

Norwood have some talented players that can hit the scoreboard but at times lack that second tier of players to help out when things get tricky and take the heat off the key play makers. With a strong core of players the addition of a more defensive minded player could allow the likes of Annetts and Bruffey to focus on their offensive play.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Eastern Mavericks

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 competition was cancelled for the 2020 season, so instead we take a look back at some of the teams that would have been tipping off in the NBL1 Central competition. Today’s side is Eastern Mavericks who failed to get off the bottom of the ladder in 2019, only winning three games.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 11th
Wins: 3
Losses: 17

TOP PLAYERS:

 BRANDON MORRIS

Statistics: 25.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 10.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 57.9% (2pt), 34.2% (3pt), 62.1% (FT)

Averaging a double-double Morris was a clear play maker for the Mavericks in 2019 lighting up the court with his points scoring ability. He averaged a whopping 25.8 points a game while also collecting 10.1 rebounds each time he stepped out on court showcasing his explosiveness. Shooting at 57.9 per cent from inside the arc, Morris made the most out his chances while also converting at the charity line. Morris took the court 20 times throughout the 2019 campaign and averaged an impressive 34.6 minutes proving his endurance and reliability.

NOVIAN CHERRY

Statistics: 12.9 points, 3.4 assists, 10.2 rebounds, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 47.8% (2pt), 28.8% (3pt), 53.5% (FT)

Another key component in the Mavericks’ game plan, Cherry stood up under the pressure and delivered more times than not with his flashy style of play and skill. His ability to sink up with the likes of Morris was impressive with the two able to find the scoreboard and have an impact. He, like Morris averaged a double-double with 12.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a game showcasing his strength. While his accuracy was slightly lower than he would have liked he still proved to be a commanding presence on the court and was handy with ball in hand dishing off 3.4 assists a game.

DEVON MCGEE

Statistics: 13.5 points, 1.7 assists, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 51.9% (2pt), 61% (FT)

McGee played a good support role with Morris last season, averaging double figure points for his efforts across his 20 games. McGee sunk an average of 13.5 points and fell short of a double-double with 7.4 rebounds a game. He was able to impose himself on the contest and dish off dimes credit to his vision and attacking drive with 1.7 assists to his name. Averaging 28.8 minutes a game McGee was a consistent threat on court.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON: ENDING A 13 GAME LOSING STREAK

In what was a trying season for the Eastern Mavericks Round 19, proved to be a game to remember for the home side who ended their 13 game long losing streak. The six-point victory over the West Adelaide Bearcats was nothing short of impressive with the team showing plenty of grit and determination to get over the line. Morris was a lone hand, simply unstoppable, blowing his opponents away with a staggering 41 points. Sebastian Bald also hit the scoreboard contributing 12 points to the overall tally.

BEST WIN:

The Round 3 win against the Woodville Warriors was a memorable one for the Mavericks who proved they have what it takes to assert their dominance on the competition and take home a win. While they only won two more games for the year, the Mavericks 17-point win was an impressive feat over their higher ranked opponent. The Mavericks were more accurate from two-point range than their competitors giving them that competitive edge in Round 3 while also making the most of their opportunities from the free-throw line.

SUMMARY:

The Mavericks have a clear couple of play makers across the court but need further support both in offence and defence if they are to progress up the ladder next season. With Morris, a standout, another player who can provide extra scoring power could aid the Eastern Mavericks to more wins in 2021 and help them build on the foundations they have already established.