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Bits&Pieces: Here comes Big E


WITH Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos agreeing to terms with Jacob Wiley for next season, expect Adelaide 36ers to soon reveal Eric Griffin as his replacement import for the 2019-20 NBL season.

Watching Wiley delivering a team-high 16.5 points plus 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 25.3 minutes a game - the most of anyone on Gran Canaria's roster - Sixers coach Joey Wright quickly was on the front foot, aware the import's stint in Spain would lead to further European opportunities.

Despite signing on for a second NBL season with the 36ers, Wiley has an "out" clause in his deal which he now will exercise.

That means Adelaide finally can pull the trigger on Griffin, 29 and a versatile and athletic 203cm forward who plays D, hits the boards, can create his own shot and has a high basketball IQ.

It appears to be a huge Win-Win for all concerned, with Wiley able to earn substantially more by staying and playing in Europe and Griffin arguably an upgrade for the 36ers.

Griffin (pictured playing NBA Summer League with Utah Jazz) is a seasoned, athletic veteran giving Wright some of the balance and nous necessary for a run at the playoffs.

The Sixers' lineup for their shift from the club's ancestral home at Titanium Security Arena to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre will be college playmaker *Deshon Taylor, combo-guard *Ramone Moore, *Griffin, multiple club MVP Daniel Johnson, rising star Harry Froling, veterans Daniel Dillon and Kevin White, with emerging Anthony Drmic and Jack McVeigh, along with exciting new face Obi Kyei and returning "glue guy" Brendan Teys. (*Denotes import)

* * *

THE NBL's Hawks and Phoenix will bring big-league basketball to Albury's Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Sunday, September 15 in their preseason "Battle of the Border".

Both Illawarra and South East Melbourne will conduct open practices on Saturday, September 14, with additional junior coaching clinics by the players and coaches from both teams.

Retaining that "Battle of the Border" theme, South East Melbourne Phoenix will hold their open practice and junior coaching clinic at Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre, the Illawarra Hawks running similar events at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in Albury.

Some of the biggest names in Australian basketball also will appear at a Sportsman’s Night on Saturday.

“We are incredibly excited to represent Victoria and South East Melbourne, Wodonga, in the Battle of the Border. We are incredibly honoured to bring NBL basketball back to Albury/Wodonga after a 20 year hiatus,” Phoenix's incredibly incredible GM Tommy Greer said.

* * *

DANDENONG-bound Opals captain Jenna O'Hea continues to inspire with her heartfelt work supporting the AIS and Lifeline Australia's Broken Hill 'How's Ya Mate' Campaign over the weekend, spreading mental health and suicide prevention awareness.

Meanwhile, as foreshadowed hereShannon Seebohm returns to coaching WNBL, taking the reins at Townsville Fire.

* * *

WITH Toronto Raptors last week claiming the franchise's historic first NBA championship, they set a cluster of records and "firsts" along the road to glory.

Personal favourite though is Spain's Gasol brothers becoming the first set of siblings to win NBA championships.

Pau Gasol won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and again in 2010, while Marc Gasol was right there, starting for the Raptors.

You would think in the NBA's 73-year history, there would be more but there you go. Ole!

* * *

AMAZING that in the announcement of next month's Australian teams for the World University Games in Naples, Basketball Australia was rapt to welcome back Emerging Opals Abbey Wehrung, Alex Sharp, Keely Froling and Lauren Scherf to defend their Gold Medal success from two years ago in Taipei, but didn't also welcome coach Chris Lucas.

Lucas steered the team to the top of the podium before being rushed home for emergency and life-threatening cancer surgery. Since then, he has taken Adelaide Lightning to the WNBL Grand Final and won Coach of the Year honours.

Even so, he was overlooked to return in his successful role, apparently out of favour for doing so much better than was expected!

Alex Mudronja, a recent Adelaide 36ers' NBL signing, is one of the new names in the Emerging Boomers team under Rob Beveridge, along with Isaac White (Stanford University, pictured below), hopefully a future Sixer. 

The teams for the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy from July 3-14 are:

Women: Alicia Froling (Southern Methodist University), Keeley Froling (Uni of Canberra), Lara McSpadden (Uni of Sydney), Ezi Magbegor (Deakin Uni), Anneli Maley (LCI Melbourne), Stephanie Reid (Curtin Uni), Maddison Rocci (Swinburne Victoria Uni), Lauren Scherf (Victoria Uni), Alex Sharp (Wake Forest), Jasmine Simmons (Oregon State Uni), Abbey Wehrung (Uni of Canberra). COACH: Shannon Seebohm. Assistants: Mark Wrobel, Cherie Cordoba (nee Hogg).

Men: Jonah Antonio (UNLV), George Blagojevic (Uni of Hartford), Kyrin Galloway (Uni of North Carolina), Tanner Krebs (St Mary's), Will Magnay (Open universities), Alex Mudronja (St Mary's), Jock Perry (St Mary's), Jack Purchase (Uni of Hawaii), Dejan Vasiljevic (Uni of Miami), Isaac White (Stanford Uni), Jack White (Duke Uni), Kyle Zunic (Winthrop Uni). COACH: Rob Beveridge. Assistants: Adam Forde, Jamie O'Loughlin.

Jun 17

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