So, the Olympics are over and the extra basketball fix we get once every four years is done. It’s just under two more months till the official NBL season gets back underway again. Some teams however have been busy though in recent times and since you last joined us, there have been some exciting player additions and rumours.
What seems like, and actually was ages ago, import point guard Cedric Jackson re-signed with the New Zealand Breakers. His decision to come back to the Breakers immediately puts them back into title contention, as their rapidly growing following have their eyes on a three-peat. Even losing Wilkinson earlier in free agency, they still are a lock for playoff’s next season.
The Melbourne Tigers added Chris Goulding, imports Seth Scott and Kevin Braswell to their roster. Goulding shone in earlier practice matches, admittedly against a lower grade opposition and also playing the majority of game time, however his addition is promising to the title hopes of Melbourne.
Braswell’s addition, and his hot/cold method of play, will be sure to single handed win games for the Tigers. The risk is if that he comes out to play cold, Tigers fans are in for a long night. The jury is still out on Seth Scott, who fouled out in 20 minutes in their most recent practice match against the University of Northern Colorado Bears.
Wollongong have been quietly going about their business as always. Importantly, they locked down the last of their core players from last season. The Hawks added veteran Glen Saville, Daniel Jackson and David Gruber to the other players re-signing from last year in Rhys Martin, Larry Davidson, Tim Conraad and Tyson Demos. It appears once you go ‘gong, you don’t go back!
As recently as today though, they added two new players to their 2012/13 squad in import guard Lance Hurdle and non-import (as I was reminded repeatedly on Twitter) Centre Auryn MacMilan.
Lance Hurdle, new Hawks import point guard
If there is one thing that Geordie McLeod loves more than the sandy beaches of Wollongong, it’s his import point guards. Often either very hit or miss, McLeod’s strike rate ignoring the recent Showron Glover, is very high. If Hurdle can be as good as Gary Ervin or Tywain McKee, then they will be in playoff contention. However, if Hurdle’s game doesn’t transfer from the NBA D-League to the NBL, pencil in the Hawks to be cellar dwellers next season.
As we head about 2,000 kilometers north, we catch up with Townsville and Cairns’ recent news.
The Townsville Crocs have signed import Jason Forte as their point guard to replace the void Eddie Gill left after his departure. While Gill’s absence will be big, Forte’s signing is a big one. Literally. Standing at 6’4, he is arguable the biggest playmaker in the NBL this season. Forte is very flexible and playing for coach Woolpert previously, means that the Crocs know they can use him all the way from point guard, to power forward. Flexibility that is a plus when you want to be developing the Cedar brothers.
Jason Forte and Curtis Withers are the Crocs new imports
The Crocs also signed forward/centre Curtis Withers for the next season. The 203cm Withers you would think would have to fit into the Rosell Ellis mould of being undersized but being a beast on the boards. After “Big Red’s” departure to Adelaide, the Crocs have a problem at centre. Unless Ben Allen surprises us this season. Please, hold your laughter…
The Cairns Taipans added two new development players (Bruce & Andronicos) and locked down Kerry Williams for another season after missing all of last season with a knee injury. It’s a stable signing for the franchise, which still allows room for another import and maintaining team chemistry.
Anyone who’s been following SEABL of recent times knows of or at least has heard of CJ Massingale. If you haven’t, go Google him. Or Youtube him and let his 45 point game against Knox the other day speak for itself. Back to my point, the Adelaide 36ers have room for one import in their points cap and are genuinely interested in the Knox guard. Massingale is on Marty Clarke’s shopping list, previously along with Kimmani Barret from the Geelong Supercats before he went down with injury. Clarke’s list also features veteran NBL journeyman centre Pero Vasiljevic.
A quick headcount shows Adelaide are still on the lookout for one import, along with Wollongong and Cairns.
So with the NBL off season rolling on, make sure you are following @hoopdiary and myself @rangaMITCH on Twitter, as well as @HD_Paul and @HD_RyanB for all your NBL news.
And once again I will confirm, Auryn MacMilan is not an import. My bad hoops world!