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Illawarra Hawks take fly high in Pre Season!

The NBL is just around the corner, and if the preseason Australian Basketball Challenge is anything to go by, we are in for one hell of an exciting season!!

The Illawarra Hawks, tipped by many to not do a whole lot this season after losing reigning league MVP Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings) and Kirk Penney (NZ Breakers), have won the inaugural Australian Basketball Challenge in Brisbane defeating Melbourne Utd 94-86 in the “final”. Illawarra are still the best coached team in the league (Rob Beveridge) and it showed again. He just gets the best out of his guys and once again will be a super-fast team to watch. They bring back former league MVP Rotnei Clarke (ultimate gamer and knock down shooter) along with another import in Marvelle Harris and this team looks talented enough to win a lot of games with bigs like Kay and Ogilvy!

Technically this wasn’t a knock out style tournament, it just so happened they beat up on a couple of the Chinese teams that came across and had much higher % than other teams in the tournament. My real team of the tournament goes to the Cairns Taipans.

Taking nothing away from Illawarra and Melbourne, what Cairns did was unbelievable. They are wildly tipped to finish last this season in a highly stacked league, Cairns decided to go undefeated in the tournament beating Adelaide, New Zealand and Brisbane in 3 days (all comfortably). The reason why these wins are so impressive are the talent that was off the court! No Worthington, Jawai and Travis Trice (former Michigan State Spartan) to name a few, Cam Gliddon who was on the brink of Boomers selection, was the star of the tournament collecting MVP honours and rightly so!

Our very own Sydney Kings were average at best. Beating a depleted Breakers team early in the tournament, the boys finished with a 1-2 record, with losses to the newly formed Brisbane Bullets and Perth Wildcats (reigning champions). Here’s hoping this talented squad can turn it around heading into the season opener next week!!

Melbourne Utd are by far the most talented team I think that has ever been assembled before. Ever!

Cedric Jackson at the point, Chris Goulding at the two guard, Ramone Moore or Todd Blanchfield at the three, then you’re looking at Dave Anderson (multiple Olympian) and Majok Majok/Devin Williams (walking double double) as their bigs. Yes ladies and gents they are my selection to win the NBL and rightly so! I’ve never seen a team this talented ever, but will it be a case of not enough basketballs on the court for this team? Time will tell!! 

One thing that does need to change at the NBL is the music. It’s horrifically loud and played throughout the entire game. We don’t go to games to listen to the latest top 40 hits! We go there to watch good quality basketball that doesn’t need to be drowned out by Justin Bieber and co. for 40 minutes! *Rant Over*

All in all I can’t wait for the season to start. Whether it being watching Melbourne’s stacked team, or even seeing the highlight reel that is exciting young NBA Draft Lottery prospect Terrance “2k” Ferguson throwing down all kinds of dunks, we are in for a very exciting season!

Tip off next Thursday night with the Brisbane Bullets taking on reigning champs Perth in the season opener!

Let us know what you’re most excited about this coming NBL Season!!


Dave Bauk

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