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Australia the place to be - Gaze, RandleTweet
JEROME Randle touched down in Adelaide today while across the continent, new Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze was lauding Australia as a playing destination.
Randle, who led the NBL in scoring last season, returns after winning the finals MVP while leading Zalgiris Kaunas to the Lithuanian championship.
And while he was rapt to win a European championship in front of 20,000 ardent fans, the situation across many parts of Europe right now does support Gaze’s contention imports are viewing Australia with greater enthusiasm.
“A lot of the acts of terrorism and instability in some of these countries, that have big money to offer - there’s now a significant fear factor that’s out there - see Australia as a safe environment,” Gaze (below) said today.
“Some of them say to heck with the money I want to live in a place (that’s safe) … although it’s disappointing that instability throughout the rest of the world is working in our favour.”
While potential imports appear to favour the safety of Australia over more lucrative, but less safe markets, Randle’s return to Adelaide was driven by its feel as a second home.
The Chicago native and his wife Zhordan were welcomed and feted in Adelaide last season and that again was evident today when a crowd of hardy Sixers supporters were awaiting their arrival at Adelaide Airport.
The 36ers have not yet declared their final import (and roster) spot but it is believed 208cm Arizona State University big-man Eric Jacobsen (below) is their target.
Jacobsen played with former Melbourne United import Jordy McRae and ex-36ers power forward Diamon Simpson on Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.
Gaze also attended the summer league in pursuit of imports to round out his imposing squad, hence the first-hand feel for what many are thinking.
So how will that first match go against Melbourne United?
“It would be a lot harder for myself and (assistant-coach) Lanard (Copeland) and others who have been through the Tigers program if the Tigers were still in the NBL,” he said.
KINGS HOLD COURT: From left, Jeromie Hill, Julian Khazzouh, asst coach Lanard Copeland, Andrew Gaze, Tom Garlepp, Jason Cadee.
“Outside of the Melbourne Tigers, Sydney Kings is probably one of the most famous brands in the country.”
The NBA Summer League concluded with Tyus Jones (Minnesota) winning MVP honours but being joined in the All Star Five (First Team) by Australian tyro Ben Simmons (Philadelphia).
McRae (Cleveland), Bobby Portis (Chicago) and Alan Williams (Phoenix) completed the First Team.
Aussie Thon Maker (Milwaukee), Jaylen Brown (Boston), Kelly Oubre Jnr (Washington), Norman Powell (Toronto) and Tyler Ulis (Phoenix) rounded out the Second Team.
ADELAIDE 36ERS: Mitch Creek, Majok Deng, Adam Doyle, Anthony Drmic, Terrance Ferguson, Matt Hodgson, *Eric Jacobsen, Daniel Johnson, Jerome Randle, Nathan Sobey, Brendan Teys. Coach: Joey Wright
BRISBANE BULLETS: Cameron Bairstow, Shaun Bruce, Torrey Craig, Adam Gibson, Tom Jervis, Daniel Kickert, Anthony Petrie, Reuben Te Rangi, Mitch Young. Coach: Andrej Lemanis
CAIRNS TAIPANS: Cameron Gliddon, Nathan Jawai, Alex Loughton, Mitch McCarron, Jarrad Weeks, Stephen Weigh, Mark Worthington. Coach: Aaron Fearne
ILLAWARRA HAWKS: Rotnei Clarke, Tim Coenraad, Cody Ellis, Oscar Forman, Nick Kay, Rhys Martin, Mitch Norton, AJ Ogilvy, Kevin White. Coach: Rob Beveridge
MELBOURNE UNITED: David Andersen, David Barlow, Todd Blanchfield, Chris Goulding, Cedric Jackson, Majok Majok, Owen Odigie, Nate Tomlinson, Tai Wesley. Coach: Dean Demopoulos
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS: Thomas Abercrombie, Finn Delany, Shea Ili, Rob Loe, Kirk Penney, Alex Pledger, Mika Vukona, Corey Webster, Ben Woodside. Coach: Paul Henare
PERTH WILDCATS: Angus Brandt, Greg Hire, Jarrod Kenny, Matt Knight, Damian Martin, Casey Prather, Jesse Wagstaff. Coach: Trevor Gleeson
SYDNEY KINGS: Jason Cadee, Mirko Djeric, Tom Garlepp, Jeromie Hill, Julian Khazzouh, Kevin Lisch, Aleks Maric, Brad Newley. Coach: Andrew Gaze