Tag: nbl1

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 Central men’s team summary: Woodville Warriors

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 Woodville Warriors men’s team, a side that finished eighth overall with seven wins from 20 games.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 8th
Won: 7
Lost: 13

TOP PLAYERS

Luke Stanbridge

Statistics: 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 62.1% (2pt), 0.0% (3pt), 78.8% (FT)

The standout player for the team despite only playing just over half a season, Stanbridge was able to trouble opposition defences from in close. He averaged 19.3 points and 9.1 rebounds, including 2.6 off the offensive boards. He was on court a team-high 30.2 minutes per match, and he shot at an accurate 62.1 per cent from inside the arc, then drilled 78.8 per cent of his charity strike attempts.

James Boonstoppel

Statistics: 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals
Shooting: 44.2% (2pt), 38.5% (3pt), 66.7% (FT)

A player who played the majority of the season, Boonstoppel was just consistent across the board with an ability to aide his side when on court. He played an averaged of 23.6 minutes, which was only the sixth overall on his side, but he capitalised with ball-in-hand thanks to 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals. His pick-pocketing abilities ranked him first on the side helping his team defensively.

Joshua Clippinger

Statistics: 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.9 steals
Shooting: 49.1% (2pt), 25.0% (3pt), 75.0% (FT)

Clippinger came off the bench at times, averaging the 21 minutes per match, though he was effective, particularly with second chance opportunities. He averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds from a total average of six per game, as well as a respectable 13 points per match. He was a shooter exclusively inside the arc with a 49.1 per cent clip, while producing a 75 per cent accuracy from the free-throw line.

Highlight of the season: Winning three consecutive games

It is hard to look past the start of April as a memorable time for the Warriors as they finished the Anzac Day clash with a level 4-4 win-loss record to their name. They had started the season with three consecutive losses, but had won four of the past five, including three consecutive wins. Unfortunately for Woodville, they would win just another three in the last 12 as they faded away to eighth on the overall table.

Best Win: Defeated Norwood Flames by 9 points

The first win of that three-game streak began at home with a 106-97 victory over the top of the table Norwood Flames. At that stage, the Flames were unbeaten and the Warriors had just the one win in five outings which made the victory all the more sweet. While he did not play a full season, Jonathan Perry put up a team-high 24 points, two rebounds and three assists, while Alex Maiorana lit it up with a double-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Riley Meldrum (20 points, six rebounds and six assists) was also busy, while Stanbridge (14 points, seven rebounds) and Boonstoppel (12 points, seven rebounds) were strong off the boards.

SUMMARY

The Warriors will be disappointed with how the season ended up panning out, winning just three in the last 12 after a promising 4-4 start to the season. They needed a couple more of their top-end talents to get on the court in more games to be a serious threat, though their depth was quite impressive with seven players averaging eight points or more, and they were a very capable rebounding team. With an addition or two to the side for 2021, the Warriors could be an improver for the NBL1 Central competition.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Forestville Eagles

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 Forestville Eagles side that went all the way from second on the table to win the 2019 South Australian Premier League title.

SEASON SUMMARY:

Finished: 2nd (Premiers)
Won: 16
Lost: 4

TOP PLAYERS

Majok Deng

Statistics: 27.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks
Shooting: 58.0% (2pt), 39.5% (3pt), 78.3% (FT)

It was an absolutely remarkable season by Deng who lived up to all expectations with his performance. Averaging a double-double, Deng averaged 33.2 minutes from 19 games on court, and was accurate from in close with a 58 per cent accuracy. Also able to convert from the free-throw line, Deng was a menace anywhere near the basket. Remarkably though, he could drop three-pointers on the opposition as well, with almost 40 per cent of his attempts going in.

Greg Mays

Statistics: 21.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.5 blocks
Shooting: 62.4% (2pt), 27.3% (3pt), 57.8% (FT)

The second Eagles player to average a double-double in the 2019 season, Mays finished with a very impressive 21.7 points and 10.6 rebounds. He also denied the opposition with blocks 1.5 times a game and pickpocketed them almost once a match. While not a three-point shooter, Mays more than made up for it from in close, with a 62.4 per cent efficiency inside the arc.

Brendan Teys

Statistics: 19.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals
Shooting: 59.5% (2pt), 28.8% (3pt), 74.1% (FT)

The other NBL talent was the key playmaker in the team with a nice balance of point-scoring, rebounding and assisting teammates. He was able to hurt the opposition offensively with his 19.7 points and 4.7 assists, whilst being able to work hard defensively thanks to 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. His long-range game could improve, but his two-point accuracy was impressive at almost 60 per cent, whilst he was solid from the charity stripe with 74.1 per cent efficiency.

Highlight of the season: Winning the title

There is not too much to say other than tasting premiership glory is the ultimate dream for any sportsperson and the Forestville Eagles did just that. They were not the favourites heading into the finals, and had lost to the Pioneers three times prior, but what happens on the day is all that counts, and winning the title was as memorable as it gets. Now with a long wait until the next competitive match, the Eagles have had plenty of time to bask in that glory.

Best Win: Defeated Mt Gambier Pioneers by 17 points

When you win a title, there is nothing sweeter than the game that solidified your victory. The Eagles, coming up against the favourites in Mt Gambier Pioneers, were able to turn the tables on the minor premiers and won by 17 points, 107-90 in thrilling style. They finished with a plus nine in rebounds, plus four in assists and had 14 less personal fouls in a clean performance across the board. Michael Harris finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, as Mays (27 points, 13 rebounds) and Deng (20 points, 18 rebounds) dominated off the boards. Teys’ 17 points, six rebounds and three steals added extra strength to the starting line-up in what was a memorable match.

SUMMARY

There is not much more that needs to be said on how successful the Forestville Eagles season was. Along with the women’s side, the Eagles team did the double and took out both South Australian Premier League titles. Led by the damaging trio along with Harris as well putting plenty of points on the board, the Eagles starting five was stronger than any other team, and still had contributions off the bench. One team that must be close consideration for back-to-back titles when competition resumes in 2021 under the NBL1 Central banner.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Central District Lions

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 Central District Lions, the side that finished one place outside the finals, but still six wins adrift of that fifth spot.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 6th
Won: 8
Lost: 12

TOP PLAYERS

Lual Diing

Statistics: [20] 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 51.9% (2pt) | 40.0% (3pt) | 63.6% (FT)

One of only two players to play every game, Diing was a danger from both inside and outside the arc, averaging 15.8 points per game in 29.7 minutes. He shot at 40 per cent from long range, and was also able to win the ball back with more than one steal per game. His free-throw shooting could improve at 63.6 per cent, but he was certainly one of the standouts in the 2019 season for the Lions.

Jordan Riewer

Statistics: [20] 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.0 steals
Shooting: 51.4% (2pt) | 49.6% (3pt) | 87.2% (FT)

The best all-round player on the side, Riewer averaged 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, while also pick-pocketing the opposition three times per match. He averaged a team-high 33.5 minutes on court last season and with deadly accuracy from long-range – a whopping 49.6 per cent – he was one you could not afford to lead open on the trey attempt. When he was fouled, Riewer got the job done at the line with an elite 87.2 per cent – nailing 34 of his 39 attempts.

De’Vaughn Jones

Statistics: [10] 17.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals
Shooting: 61.2% (2pt) | 50% (3pt) | 50.0% (FT)

Jones only played the 10 games, but he made them count. Averaging 31.8 minutes on court, Jones sank a team-high 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds, as well as a handy 1.3 steals. He rarely ventured outside the arc with his shooting, but nailed two of four attempts when he did, and achieved most of his points from the jump shot – also travelling to the line for just 28 attempts. It could have been a different season for the Lions if he had managed a full year, but he provided great support for the side when on court.

Highlight of the season: Being in finals contention at the start of June

Prior to a five-game losing streak and a disappointing end to the season, the Lions had produced a promising start in the South Australian Premier League. To the start of June. They held a positive win-loss record with seven victories to-date and were right up there in contention for reaching the post-season series. It was not to be as back-to-back beltings at the hands of Mt Gambier too that away, but they still had plenty of highlights to look back on.

Best win: defeated Norwood by 8 points

At the time of the match, Norwood was a couple of games clear with 10 wins from 11 matches, while Central District sat at an even 5-5 mid-table in sixth. The Flames were in red-hot form and looking the goods as a title contender, but that soon changed as the Lions caused a huge upset in Round 11. With an extra nine rebounds and two assists, the Lions proved to be the more consistent outfit on the night despite slightly more turnovers and personal fouls. The dynamic duo of Riewer (29 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Jones (20 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals) did the bulk of the damage, while Diing sank 16 points and had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Summary

The season was a definition of so close, yet so far for the Lions who technically finished one spot out of the finals, but still six wins behind. They knew in the last few rounds they were out of the finals race, but still had a number of contributors along the way. With renewed optimism heading into the 2021 NBL1 Central season, Central District could have the pieces to make that next step.

NBL1 Central men’s 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 mens team that finished fifth on the ladder, but made it all the way to a preliminary final before falling short to eventual premiers, Forestville Eagles.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 5th (lost in preliminary final)
Won: 14
Lost: 6

TOP PLAYERS

James Legan

Statistics: [23] 20.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals
Shooting: 53.2% (2pt) | 32.9% (3pt) | 80.2% (FT)

Leading the way for the Flames in terms of scoring was Legan, who put up more than 20 points a game at a high accuracy. He shot at 53.2 per cent from two-point range, and when he got to the free-throw line, drilled 80.2 per cent of his chances. He could seemingly make them from anywhere, and his long-range bombs were particularly effective, with a dominant 69 dropping from 210 attempts. He made more three-pointers than two-pointers and with his efficiency from the charity strike, he was hard to stop. Defensively, Legan averaged the most steals on his side showing he could dig deep when required too.

Brandon Brine

Statistics: [23] 18.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 blocks
Shooting: 50.6% (2pt) | 36.4% (3pt) | 71.6% (FT)

A real all-rounder across the board, Brine also played in every game for the season and came close to averaging a double-double for his troubles. He averaged an impressive 50.6 per cent from two-point range and 36.4 per cent from three-point range, and while he did not have as many attempts as Legan, was still a threat from outside the arc. The bulk of his points came from inside the paint and he averaged 9.5 rebounds, while having an assist a game. Defensively he denied the opposition with big blocks almost twice per game, while pick-pocketing them at least once per game.

Matthew Lycett

Statistics: [22] 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.8 steals
Shooting: 58.5% (2pt) | 25.5% (3pt) | 45.4% (FT)

An important contributor to the starting side, Lycett was able to cover a lot of bases across the court with a high amount of points, rebounds and assists. Overall he finished second in rebounds, third in points and had a team-high 4.1 assists as well as almost a steal per game. Playing 31.9 minutes per match in his 23 matches, Lycett went about his businesses primarily being a threat from inside the arc with a deadly 58.5 per cent accuracy. His three-point and free-throw shooting could improve, but his playmaking ability brought others into the game.

Highlight of the season: 10 from 11 to start the season

In a highly competitive top-end, Norwood was able to gain some separation on its opponents early in the season by winning 10 from 11 games to start the season. They dropped a surprising game to non-finalists Woodville, but would otherwise have a perfect record. They stumbled a bid in June, but would make up for that by July and August.

Best win: defeated North Adelaide by 3 points

It booked them a spot in the preliminary final, so a three-point win over North Adelaide in the semis was exactly what the Flames needed. There was no turning back for the loser and Norwood managed to extend their season by a week thanks to the win, with some terrific play in an even contest. They had 11 less rebounds and trailed in assists, but had three more steals and eight less personal fouls. Lycett finished with a team-high 23 point, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Brine helped out wiht 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals as both players came close to double doubles. A total of five players reached double-figure points in the game for a real team effort to progress through to the preliminary final.

Summary

Norwood Flames are a side that could well compete for the 2021 NBL1 title after a promising 2019 season that showed they were not too far off the pace. They led all-comers at the start and almost knocked off the would-be premiers a week out from the grand final. Having recruited Woollacott Medallist – league best and fairest – CJ Turnage for the 2020 season, they could well have started favourites this year.

NBL1 Central women’s team summary: South Adelaide Panthers

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 South Adelaide women’s side that finished second from the bottom, but four wins clear of the wooden spoon.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 10th
Won: 5
Lost: 15

TOP PLAYERS

Brianti Saunders

Statistics: [20] 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals
Shooting: 55.2% (2pt) | 26.2% (3pt) | 86.2% (FT)

The team’s top scorer and one of the damaging duo for the Panthers, Saunders put up team-highs in points and steals for 18.7 and 1.7 per game respectively. Along with that, she picked up the six rebounds and more than two assists per game to fill her stat sheet each and every week from 31.9 minutes. Saunders was hard to combat with an accurate 55.2 per cent shot from inside the arc, and drilling 86.2 per cent of the free-throws when getting to the line.

Mollie McKendrick

Statistics: [18] 16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals
Shooting: 37.8% (2pt) | 0.0% (3pt) | 74.1% (FT)

Teaming up well with Saunders and causing issues for opposition defences, McKendrick led the team in rebounds (8.7), and was second overall in points (16.7) and assists (3.4). Playing the most minutes of any player on average at 34.4 per game, McKendrick was able to put up plenty of shots, even if it was at a lower accuracy of 37.8 per cent. Her free-throw work was solid at 74.1 per cent and she was always one of the most damaging players in the blue and white.

Anne Hatchard

Statistics: [5] 16.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals
Shooting: 44.4% (2pt) | 24.1% (3pt) | 64.7% (FT)

The dual-sport athlete was able to pad her stats from limited games much like her ability to find the oblong ball in the AFL Women’s. The talented rebounder averaged a double-double for the season and had she played more than the five games – restricted to due to commitments, Hatchard may well have helped lead the Panthers to a few more wins. While it was mentioned the above players had team-highs in certain statistics, it did not include Hatchard who due to her low game count would not be included, but she did post an impressive 10.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals to go with 16.6 points.

Highlight of the season: Three wins in six games

While the ultimate season record would prove disappointing with five wins from 15 games, the Panthers started strongly enough, winning three of the first six games to head into late April with a balanced win-loss record. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they would win just two more in the next 14 games, but they had a number of competitive losses where they came close.

Best win: defeated Norwood Flames by 11 points

The Panthers enjoyed an impressive win over the Flames despite trailing in most of the key statistics. The Flames had a whopping 11 more blocked shots, 10 more assists and two more defensive rebounds, as well as a higher contribution off the bench. But it was the Panthers who committed less turnovers (minus eight), had more steals (plus three) and more offensive rebounds (plus five) on the night. McKendrick (31 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Saunders (26 points, nine rebounds and three assists) caused all sorts of headaches for the opposition, while Hannah Stewart had seven points and seven rebounds for her troubles in the important win.

Summary

South Adelaide Panthers would be an exciting team in 2021 if they can hold onto their list, with former premiership Eagle, Olivia Thompson joining the side along with a number of young guns coming through the program that could make their mark on the 20201 NBL1 Central season.

NBL1 Central men’s team summary: Sturt Sabres

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 Sturt Sabres who that finished ninth overall with four wins from 20 appearances.

SEASON SUMMARY

Finished: 9th
Won: 4
Lost: 16

TOP PLAYERS

Nikolas Desantis

Statistics: [20] 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals
Shooting: 55.1% (2pt) | 51.4% (3pt) | 73.1% (FT)

The talented shooter finished the season playing in every game and being a dead-eye from the limited opportunities he had. Instead of being a high-volume shooter like some, Desantis took his chances to make the most of his open looks and finish with a greater-than-50 per cent chance from the field. With 36 of his 70 three-point attempts dropping, and him more than capable from both inside the line and the charity stripe, Desantis was the sides’ most consistent player across every game.

CJ Rivers

Statistics: [17] 10.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals
Shooting: 58.7% (2pt) | 32.6% (3pt) | 45.7% (FT)

Leading the team in assists and rebounds, Rivers was a player who was able to seal the deal himself, or find teammates in a better position. He averaged almost 60 per cent off his own hand from inside the arc, and close to a third from outside the arc, though his free-throw shooting is an area of improvement. As a whole, he was able to pick-pocket opposition players a whopping 1.8 times per game on average, a third team-high for season 2019.

Dylan Rawson

Statistics: [10] 14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals
Shooting: 41.1% (2pt) | 37.5% (3pt) | 58.1% (FT)

He only played in 10 games, but Rawson certainly made an impact in that time, contributing a team-high 14.6 points and a second team-high in rebounds with 5.3 per game. His two-point shooting was a little low at 41.1 per cent, but his three-point attempts were made at a strong 37.5 per cent. He was able to evenly pick up rebounds up either end, with the second highest offensive rebound count of 1.3 and provided great quality in half a season.

Highlight of the season: Season finish

Winning three of the last five games to avoid the wooden spoon was something of a positive for the Sabres who to the point of June had only won the one game – which came two and a half months into the season. Beating four different teams – South Adelaide, Eastern Mavericks, Woodville and Central District – also meant something special because it showed when they were on, the Sabres were capable of taking down some quality opposition.

Best win: defeated Central District by 11 points

While the season might not have gone to plan for the Sabres, finishing it off with back-to-back wins in front of home fans was pleasing. Sturt defeated Woodville Warriors by six points a week earlier and then backed it up with a victory over the Lions. Central District was the highest ranked scalp the Sabres had for the season, and turned around a disastrous 19-point loss to Central District back in April. In the game, Desantis shot a team-high 30 points, with 10-14 from the field and all five three-throws, while Rivers had 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals in a strong effort.

Summary

Sturt Sabres might have had a disappointing season with just four wins from 20 games, but their finish would have given them optimism if they can keep the team together. With more games into some of their talented players who could not play to full seasons such as Alex Mudronja, this side could be one to watch in the 2021 NBL1 Central season.

NBL1 South women’s team summary: Waverley Falcons

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Waverley Falcons womens side that reached the finals, but bowed out in the first week

2019 in Review:

Finished: 7th (lost in elimination final)
Wins: 11
Losses: 9
Home: 5-6
Away: 6-3

What went right:

  • Won a remarkable eight consecutive games to end the regular season
  • Only lost three games by double-digits
  • Free-throws (77.8 per cent, ranked fourth overall)
  • Rebounds (offensive 13.4 per game, ranked second overall and 41.1 total, ranked fourth overall)
  • Assists (17.8 per game, ranked equal fifth overall)
  • Had five players average double-figure points

It was a real mixed bag for Waverley Falcons in season 2019. They had a lot of positives to take out of the season, and plenty of improvements which are fixable with work. Their win-loss record was no doubt the strangest of the competition with 11 wins and nine losses, but eight of those wins came consecutively at the back-end of the year. It was a tale of two halves for the seventh placed side that reached finals, but were bundled out by Nunawading Spectres. They only lost three games by double-digits which showed they were close despite the losses mounting up early in the season, and statistically had five players average double-figure points. In terms of team stats, they ranked second overall for both offensive and total rebounds, and inside the top five for assists and free throw shooting.

What went wrong:

  • Lost six of the first seven and nine of the first 12 to put them on the back foot
  • Scoring (74.4 points per game, and two-point accuracy 43.1 per cent, both ranked 14th overall)
  • Turnovers (15.9 per game, the fourth most overall)
  • Discipline (18.2 personal fouls per game, the third most overall)

Playing catch-up basketball is never ideal, but that is what the Falcons had to do in order to play finals. They won the last eight games and only scraped into the finals series due to losing nine of the first 12 matches – including six of the first seven – which normally would rule you out of finals but the Falcons refused to throw in the towel and rewarded for it. Statistically the Falcons needed to up their scoring, ranked 14th overall in the competition for total points and two-point percentage. They did have five players average more than 10 points per game, but two of those combined for 19 total games and only one started every match. They also finished in the top five for both turnovers and personal fouls, something that can often come with pressure and tight games, which the Falcons experienced regularly.

Top Players:

Kelly Bowen

A shining light and consistent performer week-in, week-out. Bowen averaged 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals, topping her side in both rebounds and steals for the season. Most impressively, she was able to play every game, only one of two players to start in each match and had the highest efficiency rating of anyone on the team. While her accuracy was lower than her teammates at 33.4 and 23.3 per cent for two and three-point shooting respectively, she was often marked by a defender when attempting to shoot such was her prestige in the competition.

Tegan Cunningham

The dual sport athlete entered the fray on the back of a solid AFL Women’s season with Melbourne and instantly had an impact. She finished the season playing 18 games for the Falcons and the team was better for it. She was predominantly a player who would get close to the basket and potentially earn the foul where she finished off from the free-throw line 85.2 per cent of the time. By season’s end, Cunningham would average 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1. steals.

Carley Ernst

The Falcons would have loved to have had Ernst for more than just 10 games, because her half-season was one to remember. In that time she averaged 16.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 blocks, becoming a secondary facilitator to Sam Donald – the only other consistent starter. She was a solid from three-point range with a 34.8 per cent efficiency from long-range, while knocking down 40.3 per cent from inside the arc.

Young Gun:

Nyaduoth Lok

The Falcons were a relatively experienced outfit, with Lok the only teenager coming into the season. While the then 18-year-old did not start in a game, she managed to get on court 17 of a possible 21 games, and put up decent numbers of 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds from limited minutes. Despite standing at 180cm and not having the experience of other players, she was able to receive enough fouls to go to the line for 25 attempts, nailing 24 of them for an elite efficiency of 96 per cent.

Christmas list for 2021:

Continuity. They might have finished low down on the scoring side of things, but when they could get all their starting five on the court, they look the goods. Winning eight consecutive games to end a season is no fluke and if they can get some continuity it will bring greater consistency.

Summary:

The Waverley Falcons might have exited the 2019 NBL1 finals earlier than they would have hoped, but to get there altogether was a remarkable achievement considering where they were at the mid-point of the season. They showed determination to fight their way back into contention, and with some luck and consistency in 2021, they could be a big riser next season.

NBL1 South men’s team summary: Ringwood Hawks

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Ringwood Hawks mens side that ended up in 16th on the table.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 16th
Wins: 6
Losses: 14
Home: 6-5
Away: 0-9

What went right:

  • Defeated grand finalists, Bendigo mid-season
  • Scoring (90.4 points, ranked fifth overall)
  • Long-range accuracy (35.8 per cent, ranked third overall)
  • Defensive rebounds (28.5 per game, ranked fourth overall)
  • Assists (19.6 per game, ranked second overall)
  • Blocks (3.7 per game, ranked fourth overall)

It was a really strange season for Ringwood when you analyse the key performance indicators and try and compare them to the results. Often teams that finish in the bottom six are those that have really struggled across the board, whether it is scoring or defending, but the Hawks actually stack up pretty well. In terms of their stats, they ranked inside the top five for all of points, three-point accuracy, defensive rebounds, assists and blocks. For a team that is capable of doing that, one would think the results will come. It shows that offensively they were able to put points on the board, set up offensive transitions, while defensively they denied shots and were able to grab rebounds off opposition shots. Most teams with those kind of numbers would play finals. At their best, the Hawks showed they could beat anyone, toppling eventual grand finalists, Bendigo Braves mid-season. They just could not build up the wins consistently enough to get the points and qualify for finals.

What went wrong:

  • Did not win a game on the road
  • Did not win consecutive games at any point and won two from 10 (April-June)
  • Offensive rebounds (8.0 per game, ranked last in the competition)
  • Steals (6.0 per game, ranked 15th overall)

Clearly to finish 16th there has to be a fair few issues, but realistically aside from the win-loss record, the Hawks were simply not that bad. They struggled with second chance points off offensive rebounds, so lifting the accuracy from the two-point jumper might be an improvement to make given they were not able to take full advantage of misses. They were also low on steals per game, with a number of big men instead (just three players under 190cm) being a greater presence on the board. Overall if you do not win a game on the road, you will struggle to challenge for finals as it means you just about have to win every single game at home. The first half of the season winning two from 10 in a stretch from April to June having them 3-8 entering winter all but wrecked their finals hopes.

Top Players:

Matthew Fennell

The 36-year-old forward was strong throughout the season, playing 31.1 minutes on average and topping his team in rebounds with an impressive 9.1 per game. Fennell came close to a double double average because of it, with 16.3 points to-boot, while picking up 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He was a greater than 50 per cent chance from inside the arc and a 37.8 per cent chance from outside it, but struggled when he came to the line with a lower percentage from free-throws than from his two-point shooting. Overall he provided a strong presence and great experience for the team.

Joey Miller

The facilitator of the team, Joey Miller teamed up with Matthew Snowball when available to rack up the bulk of the team’s assists. Between them they averaged 13.8 assists, which was 70.4 per cent of the team’s total. Miller’s contribution of 5.8 to go with his 15.5 points made him even more damaging when it came to releasing because it made defenders unsure if he was going to pass or shoot. He averaged the most minutes of any Hawk with 31.8 per game, and averaged 47.6 points from the field and 83 per cent from the line.

Jacob Gibson

A versatile player who could rotate between the guard and forward spots, Gibson put up numbers of 19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He was the team’s highest average scorer, making the most of his 112 chances from the field by nailing 56.3 per cent of them. He also dropped the most three-pointers on the opposition with 35.5 per cent accuracy, and was the most reliable from the line with 85.5 efficiency. As the team’s premier points scorer, he could get it done in a number of ways.

Young Gun:

Matthew Roberts

The Hawks entered the season with just two players under 25 on their list, and Roberts was one of those. Still a teenager at the start of the year, he played his role in 14 games, running on court an average of 7.6 minutes per match. It gave him great experience and while he only averaged the 1.9 points per game, he was able to taste NBL1 action and it set him up well for his freshman year at Henderson State in the United States.

Christmas list for 2021:

Consistency. It is pretty simple for the Hawks because statistically they stack up against a lot of the better sides, but on-court they could not get it done in 2019. If they can work on playing at their best for longer and working out more ways to hurt the opposition, then they could easily be a bolter of the competition in 2021.

Summary:

On paper the Ringwood Hawks had a disappointing year. Looking deeper, they were not as bad as the win-loss ratio might suggest. They stacked up well across the board and while the wins did not come, the experience would have helped, and as one of the older sides in the competition, they know the benchmark and if it all clicks are one to watch for next season.

NBL1 South women’s team summary: Southern Sabres

IN light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South Conference has been cancelled this year. As such, while Draft Central intended to do a preview on all teams leading up to the delayed start, it will instead be a team summary from last season and what they might look to improve on for 2021. Today’s edition looks at Southern Sabres womens side that finished 16th overall.

2019 in Review:

Finished: 16th
Wins: 4
Losses: 16
Home: 0-10
Away: 4-6

What went right:

  • Won two of the first six
  • Competitive – Seven losses by single digits including two in the last three games
  • Defeated a couple of finalists on the road in Dandenong Rangers and Frankston Blues
  • Rachel Jarry’s season
  • Steals (9.6 per game ranked fourth overall)
  • Bring youth through the system

The 2019 NBL1 season was definitely about providing games to some of the Southern Sabres’ talented youth prospects coming through the program. Heading into the season, there were eight players aged 20 or under on a large list, while just three were above 26. Their season on court might be hard to find positives in terms of pure results, but they were competitive at different points, coming close with seven losses by single digits, including two one-point defeats in the final three rounds. They were able to defeat a couple of finalists on the road in Dandenong Rangers and Frankston Blues, and started solidly considering their youth, winning two of the first six. Their away record was actually okay considering a lot of non-finalists finished with worse, winning four of a possible 10 games on the road, needing to just improve their home record. They ranked inside the top five for steals with 9.6 per game, while forward, Rachel Jarry had a superb season, almost averaging 20 and 10 from a points and rebounds perspective. Sure it is easy to say that 2019 did not go to plan, but there were still areas that the Sabres could pick out as positives for the future.

What went wrong:

  • Did not win a game at home
  • Scoring (71.7 points per game ranked 17th overall)
  • Accuracy (41.1 per cent two-point and 27.9 per cent three-point ranked in the bottom three)
  • Rebounding (23.2 defensive and 34.8 total, ranked last overall)

As already mentioned, it is easy to pick out things that did not quite go to plan, but there were a lot of near misses. The Sabres did not win a game at home for a start, and after the first six games, would only win two more in the last 14. They came close on a number of occasions and could have won a couple of the late ones, but they struggled with the fundamentals. Ranking in the bottom three for scoring, accuracy and rebounding, the Sabres just could not match it with the top sides in that regard. Had they made more of their chances and had a greater impact off the boards, then those narrow losses might turn into wins, which is something to be optimistic about for the future if they can tweak certain aspects of their game.

Top Players:

Rachel Jarry

Jarry was the standout player from a Sabres perspective, who racked up team-high totals in points, rebounds, assists and steals. She played every game for the season, almost putting up 400 points for an average of 19.6 per game, to accompany 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals as well. Her field goal accuracy was a low 37.7 per cent, but when heading to the line, she was reliable with 82.2 per cent. Providing a strong presence defensively, Jarry added more than six defensive rebounds a game and a block every two games, denying the opposition in the air or pickpocketing them around the court.

Tenaya Phillips

The forward was 24 coming into the season and averaged 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals, working her way off the bench on six occasions to start in 10 games. In the end she started the fourth most of any player on the side, and was the most reliable three-point shooter on the team with 26 makes for an efficiency of 37.7 per cent. She also averaged 46 per cent from the field and 70 per cent from the line, committing fewer turnovers and personal fouls than others on court and working well in tandem with Jarry.

Amy O’Neill

A late inclusion to the side, O’Neill finished the season with nine games but had an impact in that time, averaging 11.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and a team-high 4.6 assists. She facilitated a lot of plays on the offensive end with her passing and it was that area which the Sabres lacked at times. O’Neill brought that point of difference, and while she was not a long-range shooter, she still managed 44.8 per cent from the field and a terrific 85 per cent from the free-throw line. O’Neill came into the side after finishing college with St Francis and used her ball handing abilities to give the team confidence going forward.

Young Gun:

Ella Batish

There are plenty of young guns who could have slotted into this spot, but Batish earns the nod having the highest efficiency rating of the lot. She averaged 9.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, taking the court in 19 of a possible 20 games. She was the most accurate shooter from the field with a 47.4 per cent efficiency, and also made her free throws count more often than not. In her early 20s, Batish looms as a player for the future standing at 189cm and able to match the more experienced opposition players in the five position.

Christmas list for 2021:

Scoring power. The team just needs to pick up the scoring and the wins will come. They had plenty of young guns coming through the ranks, led by a number of solid contributors who were able to get close on a number of occasions and win a few tight games. If they can add a couple of players who can average double-figure points and ideally five or more rebounds per game, then facilitating the scoring will be easier.

Summary:

The Southern Sabres might not have had on-court success in 2019, but were able to provide plenty of experience to younger players in the side and it will hold them in good stead for the future. If they can add more firepower and build their transition offence to be more damaging, then watch out in the coming years.