Category Archives: Basketball

The next big thing in the NBL…introducing Ben Allen from the Townsville Crocs

Having played on Ben Allen in high school nationals, I know first hand the skills the young man holds. Standing 211cm tall, the Melbourne bred big man suited up for his rookie year in the 2011 NBL season with the Townsville Crocs behind former Georgia Tech star, Luke Schenscher.

Before joining the Crocs, Allen was a member of the AIS program and ventured to the US to test his talent in the all-powerful NCAA competition. Allen’s collegiate career included stints with the well-renowned University of Indiana for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons; in 2007-08 he didn’t hit the court but in 2008-09 Allen joined with Saint Mary’s where he averaged 9.1 minutes and 2.2 points per game.

In 2009-10, Allen’s game time increased considerably rose to 27.6 minutes per game which enabled fans to see his true potential as he went close to averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Two key games stand out from Allen’s college career. In the ESPN aired West Coast Conference Tournament final against the highly respected Gonzaga outfit, Allen dropped 20, collected 9 boards, dished off two assists and showed his defensive prowess with two big blocks.

The second game of note was in the sweet sixteen (NCAA Div. 1) round against Baylor in which they went down 49-72 – Baylor would lose narrowly to national champion, Duke. Ben Allen top scored for the Gaels with 16 points, 7 defensive rebounds, three assists and one block.

On Saturday 8 October 2011, Allen will resume his NBL career with his second season against the Cairns Taipans. Allen demonstrated his deftness against Melbourne in his hometown; the centre contributed 12 points, three rebound and two assists in a 15-minute burst against the Tigers.

What makes Allen different from other big men is his unselfishness and ability to find teammates. In his final year with Saint Mary’s Allen averaged 2.2 assists per games; he also maintains an encouraging shooting percentage from outside the key; as well as being 82.1 per cent from the free throw line.

Playing with another AIS centre and graduate, Schenscher, Allen will learn further from the ex-Chicago Bull and Port Trailblazer and progressively gain more and more court time and begin to dominate the league like Ray Borner, Mark Davis, Larry Sengstock, Mark Bradtke, Chris Anstey, Dean Uthoff, John Dorge and Paul Rogers.

The Ben Allen show is just beginning.

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NBA players still locked-out as FIBA hit the court

The season won’t be cancelled, the season will be cancelled; the negotiations are on, the negotiations are off; we’ll (European clubs) sign the players, we won’t sign the players. Confusion remains in the best basketball league in the world.

The NBA players are still locked-out and talks remained stalled.

Responding to a question regarding where negotiations are at in a recent podcast, NBA commissioner David Stern said that the demands from players were too demanding.

Stern’s answer to the follow-up inquiring about what he went back with, the commissioner replied that he walked away from the table – they asked for too much.

Over the last several weeks there has been ample discussion about players taking their talent overseas –Turkey,China and Spain are three areas that have the ears of the NBA stars.

However, a recent decision by FIBA (the Swiss-based international governing body for basketball) enables players to go back to the NBA to fulfill their existing contracts should the lock-out be resolved.

This hasn’t been well received from European leagues; the CEO and President of the Euroleague said that European teams need to have in place stable rosters and that it would be difficult or wrong of a club to sign a player without knowing if they will be playing for them for one month, two months, who knows how long they will play in the world’s second best competition.

The NBA lock-out has been a positive for the Euroleague and other leagues such as Chinait has become a showcase opportunity.

Several weeks ago, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter stated publicly that the NBA season is more than likely to be cancelled in whole; David Stern believes the situations will be worked out, and players are undecided and searching the market or preparing for when games commence. 

For Australian basketball, the FIBA decision means that the chance of signing Patrick Mills is all but gone. The acquisition and return home for Mills would’ve been a great promotional means for the NBL and the augmentation of basketball in Australia.

The current NBA lock-out has much more to come; stay tuned.

NBA stars can play overseas but must return when locked doors open

Deron Williams, Jordan Farmar and more recently LA Lakers forward Ron Artest have already signed with international teams and many more remain in negoatiations in various regions.

However, FIBA has announced that contracted players who sign overseas must return to the NBA once the lock-out is resolved.

Much more to come from this situation. Stay tuned.

NBA accuses players of bad sport

The NBA has pointed the finger at the players of being disobliging in conference regarding a new collective bargaining accord by assembling “more than two dozen” threats to disband their union and bring a claim against the league under antitrust laws to secure more favorable terms in a new CBA.

NBA may become NBL for Mills – can we lock it in?

The worlds best basketball player Kobe Bryant in Turkey, Carmelo Anthony in China along with New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul; Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudamire, and Deron Williams have all made public that a trip overseas may be on the cards – the NBA is in real trouble of losing it’s best.

And in the midst of all these names, Australian guard Patty Mills may be one more with international flights booked and a return home to compete in the NBL.

When the time ticked over to 12.01EST in the US on 1 July 2011, an NBA lockout began.

Negotiations involving owners and players with representation from the National Basketball Players Association have at present failed and are on hold.

Lockouts aren’t novel to the American’s with comparable events taking place in 1995 and 1998-99. Although in 95’ when all games were played when an end result was reached in the off-season, 98-99’ was witness to a different outcome by way of only 50 games being played by each team – 464 regular-season games were nowhere to be found; all because of money.

The NFL had a lockout in recent times and there is a slight likelihood of if happening, to our very own AFL.

But let’s get back to the court. Patty will be extremely sought after from NBL boss and former North Melbourne Giant great Larry Sengstock, and Adelaide 36ers and ex-AIS head coach Marty Clarke; and he should, and needs to be.

In Australia, basketball is little by little starting to get noticed once more following a period in the dark, shadowy waters where lack of interest profoundly set in – radically dissimilar from the golden age in the early to mid-1990s.

 

The homecoming of Mills would be an immense acquisition for the NBL and optimistically situate basketball back in the spotlight.

However, there are walls standing in the way of this happening including the lockout being resolved and the second best basketball region Europe attaining the signatures. Mills may well join with players of the ilk of Amare Stoudamire in answering calls from teams in Spain, Turkey, Israel and China.

Can Mills be the answer for Australian basketball? We will have to wait and see. I know what would be a great upshot for the sport – the big names applying their craft in China and then have the NBL set in motion a strategy to penetrate that market even though Singapore failed. We all have dreams.

Yao Ming Retires from the NBA

The 7’6’’ giant and 2002 NBA draft number 1 selection, Yao Ming, announced his retirement from basketball today in Shanghai – his hometown. Over the last six seasons on basketballs biggest stage, Yao had suffered various foot and leg injuries that in the end brought about the eight times All-Star’s retirement.

Drafted by Houston in 2002, Yao had a successful career including the eight All-Star selections, two All-NBA second team and three times named to the All-NBA third team; and was named in the NBA All-Rookie first team.

In a press conference held in China, Yao attributed his departure from the court to stress fractures in his left foot for the third time at the end of last year. The Houston Rocket star was instrumental in promoting the game in Asia and in most cases, his supporters back home got him the numbers for the All-Star games.

Yao leaves the NBA with an average of 19 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. His presence inside the paint was key to the Rockets playing in the playoffs in consecutive years after his rookie season.

The former Shanghai Sharks missed all of the 2009-10 NBA season due to a broken foot whilst playing against the LA Lakers in the playoffs. Fans were excited to see him back but that excitement turned to sorrow when he again broke his foot after only fives games.

Yao thanked former coaches and NBA teammates and competitors including another recent NBA retiree and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.