Tag: Kevin White

NBL 2019/20 Weekend preview: Round 1 – Inaugural Throwdown opens season

SEVEN of the National Basketball League (NBL) sides begin their campaign this weekend with Melbourne United having a double-up in Round 1, while Adelaide 36ers and New Zealand Breakers have an extra week of pre-season ahead of their start in Round 2. We take a look at the four games across the weekend with one game on each day to satisfy fans across the country.

MELBOURNE UNITED vs. SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Thursday, October 3, 7.30pm
Melbourne Arena

The season opener is the inaugural ‘Throwdown’ between grand finalists, Melbourne United and new team on the block in South East Melbourne Phoenix. United is a proven talent that has lost some serious firepower, but also gained some at the same time which makes them very hard to tip against in the this contest. Melo Trimble made the massive move down south after a dominant season with Cairns, joining the likes of Chris Goulding, Mitch McCarron and the currently injured David Barlow. Shea Ili also crossed from the Breakers, with teammate Shawn Long also making the jump with the pair signing one-year deals. Sam McDaniel earned a full-time roster spot after a good season last year as a development player and continuing that form with the Southern Sabres in the NBL1.

South East Melbourne Phoenix have made it clear they are not in the competition to make up the numbers, with Sydney trio, Dane Pineau, Kyle Adnam and Deng Acuoth all joining the new franchise, with Brisbane’s Adam Gibson and arguably the top signing from the NBL contingent in New Zealand Breakers’ Tai Wesley. Seeing Wesley going head-to-head with Trimble will be great, but the most dangerous player is G-League and Boomers’ star Mitch Creek who tasted National Basketball Association (NBA) action last season and has come home to lead up the new franchise. As already mentioned, it is hard to tip against the established team in United, but with a few question marks over sore players, the Phoenix have more than enough talent to compensate and would love to open their NBL inaugural season with a win.

CAIRNS TAIPANS vs. SYDNEY KINGS
Friday, October 4, 7.30pm
Cairns Convention Centre

The Taipans finished last on the NBL table last season and will be keen to start the new season off on the right foot with an upset win over last year’s finalists, Sydney Kings. Playing in front of a home crowd, the Taipans will be without star Trimble who departed to join Melbourne, while Kuany Kuany will suit up for the opposition in this match. The Taipans managed to pinch Majok Deng from Adelaide, while mostly looking outside the country for new recruits with Los Angeles Lakers’ Scott Machado, G-League talent Cameron Oliver and Mirko Djeric from the European leagues coming into the side. They will need to be at their best and gel quickly if they are to make an impact early in the season, but will be able to rely on the likes of Jarrod Kenny, Nathan Jawai and DJ Newbill still running the court.

Sydney have made massive changes to its roster with just four players contracted that were on the list last season. NBL Most Valuable Player (MVP), Andrew Bogut will again be the centrepiece of the organisation, but this time he will have the talented Casper Ware who caused a stir crossing from rivals United to the Kings. Craig Moller joined him, while Shaun Bruce came from the 36ers with Kuany and Lucas Walker travelling south from Cairns. Brad Newley, Kevin Lisch and Daniel Kickert will look to create some stability in a side with the likes of young stars Brian Bowen (NBA) and Tom Wilson (AFL) both leaving the league completely. Despite the changes, Sydney head into this game as strong favourites, it will just be whether or not the Kings can gel with so many fresh faces in the door.

PERTH WILDCATS vs. MELBOURNE UNITED
Saturday, October 5, 5.30pm
RAC Arena

The match of the round is the Grand Final replay between reigning premiers Perth Wildcats, and unlucky runners-up United. The Wildcats are the most stable side of any team in the competition with eight players re-signed to the list, including crucial duo, Bryce Cotton and Terrico White. The pair will likely renew hostilities with Trimble and Ili who will rep the different colours in 2019/20. The ace in the pace is Dario Hunt who has joined the club from Italy, while Majok Majok transferred from New Zealand Breakers to the Wildcats over the off-season. With such an even team contribution leading to the premiership last season, the Wildcats should be no different in 2019/20 with so many ways to punish the opposition, led by the dominant Cotton.

United will head into this game with a match already in the books having taken on the Phoenix 46 hours prior. They will be keen to make the most of recovery, with the plane trip west likely to bring back some disappointing memories after going down to Perth in the deciding playoff series last year. They could start really strongly as the team that has had the first full game hitout in the round compared to the Wildcats who will undoubtedly celebrate last year’s success in front of the visiting side pre-game. But depending on how the Phoenix game goes, the Wildcats might have the fresher legs to finish the match which means it could be down to the wire. A win against their title nemesis would be crucial in the mental games for the season for Melbourne, while a win for the Wildcats will throw extra salt in the wounds for United. Trimble vs. Cotton is a much-watch battle to see which player can have the most impact for his club.

ILLAWARRA HAWKS vs. BRISBANE BULLETS
Sunday, October 6, 3pm
WIN Entertainment Centre

In the final game of the round, all eyes will be on LaMelo Ball as he makes his NBL debut against Brisbane Bullets at home in Illawarra. The potential 2020 NBA top draft pick will have plenty of exuberance in his first official game on Australian courts, teaming up with the likes of Josh Boone who was a massive recruit from United, while Aaron Brooks has returned after playing with Creek at the Timberwolves in the NBA. David Anderson, Todd Blanchfield, Tim Coenraad and Angus Glover all re-signed for the club that missed out on finals last season, while Sam Froling showed enough during the NBL1 to suggest he will be more than a handful for opposition clubs this season. Kevin White and Brian Conklin are among those who have departed the club, but largely as a whole, the Hawks have brought in far more talent than they have lost.

Brisbane announced a huge signing themselves over the off-season with Nathan Sobey signing on for three years from the 36ers. He will be the man to watch on the court, teaming up with Cam Gliddon and Jason Cadee as the key players within the Bullets’ arsenal. Like the Wildcats, they are a settled side with eight players re-signing from last season, as Adam Gibson and Jeremy Kendle were the key players to depart the club. This might be a tight contest given the relative unknown of the impact that the imports and recruits will have for the Hawks, with the Bullets having more of a known quantity. It got them to finals last season, and Sobey coming in will only strengthen the side. The Hawks should be marginally favourites due to the Triple B impact of Ball, Boone and Brooks, but the Bullets will not lie down in this contest.

Number crunching: NBL – Round 2

THE match between Illawarra and Cairns rewrote history on the stat sheet, with the Hawks breaking the Cairns hoodoo and the Taipans diving head-first into a hoodoo of their own. In terms of individuals, Todd Blanchfield had a career-best performance, Damian Martin is proving to give opposition headaches while Andrew Bogut and Josh Boone lead the way for the big men after Round 2.

 

Illawarra wins first game in Cairns after eight consecutive losses

The Hawks ended their losing streak against Cairns with a 104-93 win on Saturday. Illawarra has not won a game against the Taipans in Cairns for eight consecutive games, but has finally got a win on the board.

Cairns lose first opening home match since 2000

Prior to their 11-point loss against the Hawks on Saturday, the Taipans had not lost an opening game at home since 2000. In that match, Cairns lost to the West Sydney Razorbacks.

Todd Blanchfield scores career-high 32 points

Illawarra forward, Todd Blanchfield scored a career-high 32 points in the game against Cairns, which proved to be a match that rewrote the record books. The 27 year-old’s 32 points came from seven medium-range baskets and 11-18 from the field.

Damian Martin averaging most steals per game

Perth’s Damian Martin is leading the way in steals, with an average of 2.3 per game. Closely following is trio, Kevin White, DJ Newbill and Kevin Lisch, who are all averaging two steals per game. Martin has had three steals in two of three games for the Wildcats.

Bogut and Boone tied on rebounds and blocks

Sydney Kings star recruit, Andrew Bogut and Melbourne United championship player, Josh Boone both lead the way for the big men in terms of rebounds and blocks. The duo both average 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. Bogut has racked up double figures in rebounds in two out of three games, as has Boone. Out of the two centres, Boone has had the highest rebounds (16) and blocks (five) in a game so far, but Bogut is not trailing far behind, with 15 rebounds and four blocks against Adelaide.

2018/19 NBL Season Preview

THE 2018/19 National Basketball League (NBL) season is set to be the most exciting yet, with many big names taking to the court. We previewed each team in the lead-up to the highly anticipated season.

Pic: Matt King – Getty Images

ADELAIDE 36ERS

The 36ers finished second last season and pushed Melbourne United all the way in the NBL Grand Final. Star, Mitch Creek has earned an NBA contract with the Brooklyn Nets, which will prove to be a big loss for Adelaide.

Three-time club Most Valuable Player (MVP), Daniel Johnson has been named as captain this season after signing a deal that will see him remain at Adelaide until the end of the 2020-21 season. Australian Boomer, Nathan Sobey will be the vice-captain this season. Shooting guard, Brendan Teys has signed on for his sixth season with the Sixers, joining Majok Deng, Anthony Drmic, Adam Doyle, Harry Froling and Ramone Moore who will also stay with Adelaide.

American, Jacob Wiley has been acquired for the 2018/19 season. Wiley has spent some time in the NBA, debuting for the Nets last season and playing for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League. Jack McVeigh also joins the Sixers on a three-year deal. McVeigh was a previous captain of the Australian Under 19 team and has been playing for the Cornhuskers at the University of Nebraska.

 

BRISBANE BULLETS

The Bullets finished on the bottom of the table in the 2017/18 season with nine wins and 19 losses.

They have made an exciting signing for the 2018/19 NBL season, with NBA veteran, Alonzo Gee joining Brisbane on a one year deal. Gee has played over 400 NBA games and has spent time at Washington, San Antonio, Cleveland, Portland, New Orleans and Denver. Japanese shooting guard, Makoto Hiejima has also been recruited by the Bullets and could make a big impact. Hiejima has been playing in the Japanese national team since 2013 and has spent time with the Afshin Sea Horses. The duo join a host of signings, including five-time NBL champion, Mika Vukona and Commonwealth Games Gold medalist, Cameron Gliddon.

Guard, Jason Cadee will stay with the Bullets until the end of the 2020-21 season. This will be his ninth season in the NBL and he will come into the side after a successful Commonwealth Games campaign. Forward, Reuben Te Rangi has also signed on at Brisbane. Te Rangi played for the Tall Blacks at this year’s Commonwealth Games and claimed a bronze medal.

 

CAIRNS TAIPANS

The Cairns Taipans finished sixth last season with 11 wins and 17 losses. With new coach, Mike Kelly at the helm, the Taipans could turn around last season’s form.

Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard, Devon Hall has been acquired for the 2018/19 season. Hall was selected in Round 2 of the 2018 NBA Draft and spent some time on the court in the summer league, playing five games for the Thunder. Cairns also picked up another American guard in Melo Trimble. Trimble was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA last year, where he then played for the Iowa Wolves in the G-League. After playing for the Taipans in 2013, Mitch Young has returned to the side for the 2018/19 season. Other key signings include Australian Boomer, Lucas Walker and two-time NBL Champion, Jarrod Kenny.

NBL All Australian, Alex Loughton will play his ninth season for Cairns this season. However, the side has lost Cameron Gliddon and Mitch McCarron, with Gliddon heading to Brisbane and McCarron opting to play at Melbourne in the 2018/19 season.

 

ILLAWARRA HAWKS

The Illawarra Hawks finished fifth in the 2017/18 season with 12 wins and 16 losses.

Last season’s captain, Kevin White has also re-signed for the upcoming NBL season. This will be White’s fourth season at the club. Swingman, Tim Coenraad has also re-signed for the upcoming season. He currently sits third on the Hawks’ all-time games played list.

The Hawks have signed two former league MVPs in Brian Conklin and Cedric Jackson. Conklin has been playing in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto and has been involved in championships in both the French Cup and FIBA Europe Cup. Jackson is a three-time championship player for the New Zealand Breakers and will now have a stint at the Hawks. Point guard, Jordair Jett also joins Illawarra for the 2018/19 season. Jett previously played with the Townsville Crocs and took out both the club MVP award and Defensive Player of the Year. The Hawks have also obtained Melbourne Boomers 2017/18 championship player, David Andersen for the upcoming season. He was a rookie for Illawarra 20 years ago and is now back for the 2018/19 season. Australian Boomer, Todd Blanchfield will also suit up for the Hawks this season.

 

MELBOURNE UNITED

Melbourne United are the reigning champions of the NBL, finishing first on the ladder with 20 points and eight losses. They defeated Adelaide in a tense finals series and would be raring to go back-to-back in the upcoming season. Head coach, Dean Vickerman will remain at the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Point guard, Casper Ware and shooting forward, Chris Goulding have returned for the 2018/19 season. Both were key components of Melbourne’s winning outfit last season and could again dominate the court this season. Dominant centre, Josh Boone has also re-signed for the upcoming season.

American shooting guard/ forward, D.J Kennedy will join United this season. He has played four years of college basketball at St John’s University in New York, so he brings a wealth of experience into the line-up. Australian Boomer, Mitch McCarron has also joined Melbourne on a three-year deal. Former New Zealand Breaker centre, Alex Pledger is another exciting recruit for United. Pledger is a four-time NBL Champion and a Tall Blacks representative.

 

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS

The New Zealand Breakers finished fifth last season with 15 wins and 13 losses.

The Breakers have signed 25 year-old American, Shawn Long. Long previously played with Philadelphia in the NBA on a short-term contract and followed this up with three appearances in the summer league with the 76ers, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls. Small forward, Armani Moore and shooting guard, Patrick Richard are two exciting players that will join the side for the 2018/19 season. The Breakers have also acquired Melbourne United duo, Tai Wesley and Majok Majok, which will prove to be two key signings for the club.

Power forward, Finn Delany has re-committed to the Breakers, signing a two-year deal in the off-season. Delany has recently won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Swingman, Tom Abercrombie and point guard, Shea Ili have also put pen to paper for another season at New Zealand. This takes Abercrombie’s tally to 13 years with the club while Ili is coming off being named the 2017/18 NBL Most Improved Player.

 

PERTH WILDCATS

The Wildcats had a promising 2017/18 season, finishing third on 16 wins and 12 losses.

Australian Boomers players, Angus Brandt, Damian Martin and Jesse Wagstaff will all be again playing in Perth for the upcoming season. Wagstaff, Martin and Norton are Commonwealth Games Gold Medallists, which will hold the Wildcats in good stead this season. Reigning NBL MVP, Bryce Cotton will also go around again for Perth after a stellar 2017/18 season.

American, Terrico White has been added to the Wildcats’ roster for the 2018/19 season, and is a former NBA Draft pick. Two-time Perth championship player, Tom Jervis has also signed up for the upcoming season. Jervis has spent two years at Brisbane but is now returning back to his hometown. Australian Boomers power forward, Nick Kay is another key recruit for the Wildcats. The 25 year-old has played 90 NBL games, brining plenty of experience to the Perth line-up. Australian teammate, Mitch Norton also joins the Wildcats after previously playing with the Illawarra Hawks.

 

SYDNEY KINGS

The Sydney Kings didn’t record ideal results last season, finishing seventh with 11 wins and 17 losses.

Sydney hopes to rectify this through the biggest recruit of the off-season in Andrew Bogut. The Australian centre has had stints in the NBA with Milwaukee, Golden State, Dallas, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers. He is also a championship player with the Warriors. Former Brisbane Bullets forward, Daniel Kickert is another big signing for the club. The Australian Boomers player became the first player in NBL history to shoot over 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point line and 90% from the free-throw line in the 2016/17 season.

Australian Boomers player, Kevin Lisch has re-committed to the club for the 2018/19 season. The two-time NBL MVP will be joined by 2017 MVP, Jerome Randle once again for the upcoming season. Randle averaged 19.8 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game in the 2017/18 season. Two-time Olympian, Brad Newley and former college basketball player, Dane Pineau have also re-committed for the upcoming season.