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Sources tell me... 10


SOURCES TELL ME … 10 : OK, I know my sauces team of Messrs Hollandaise, Mushroom, Sweet Chilli, Tomato, Bernaise and Barbecue, along with Ms Bechamel, are quality but when it comes to the wild west, it’s “in Lachy Reid we trust.”

The Lachster was first to weave the fact the Wildcats would be picking Cotton again this season, way before anyone knew Larry Sengstock Medallist Bryce Cotton would be back to lead Perth in its quest for the one goal it hasn’t nailed (yet) – a threepeat.

Sydney Kings did it. New Zealand did it.

But despite being an unprecedented 8-time NBL champ, including a previous “back-to-back” in 1990-91, in 1992 the Wildcats limped into the eight-team finals of a 13-team league on a 12-12 record to be knocked out in the quarter-final round by Melbourne Tigers.

Now as defending champs and winners in 2015-16 and 2016-17, Perth has a second shot at the threepeat and should it succeed, watch out in 2018-19 as the Wildcats try to become the first team for the “draw-four”.

{OK, maybe the “draw-four” needs work. Possibly a verbal hangover from playing UNO with my niece’s kids last night…}

That also potentially would give Perth 10 NBL crowns.

(Anyone east of the WA border not throwing up about now at those prospects can only be an expat).

* * *

AGAIN though it was the Lachmeister who informed us that Devondrick Walker’s injury-forced departure had opened the door for Perth’s most recent import signing, JP Tokoto.

LACHY MEETS THE JP: A hair-raising moment for at least one of them.

* * *

GOTTA love what FOX SPORTS is bringing to basketball.

This is a real commitment to our sport.

Every NBL game live and in HD with no ad interruptions during play. A WNBL “match of the week” every Saturday at 3pm. All the Boomers games from their FIBA World Cup qualifying matches in the Asian zone, on top of what the pay-TV provider already brought us with the FIBA Asia Cup tournaments of both the Opals and Boomers.

Has our sport ever had it better?

(That’s even without mentioning the additional apps you can access to watch games.)

Mr Mushroom, who is usually in the dark and surrounded by manure, tells us we can expect to see and hear Matt Russell, John Casey and Lachy Reid in anchor roles, with “expert” commentary from Corey Williams, Shane Heal, James Harvey, Tommy Greer, Brad Rosen, Cam Tragardh, Steve Carfino and Shawn Redhage on NBL games.

He’s such a good sauce on Fox, he’s got Warren Smith and Ben Waterworth calling WNBL games, with names such as Lauren Jackson, Erin Phillips and Rachael Sporn being thrown about for the expert roles.

* * *

NO truth to rumours Damian Martin (left) and Matt Knight (right) put in a good word for Mark Worthington to get an assistant coaching gig at Loyola Marymount University, which they both attended.

Actually, it had more to do with Wortho’s desire to expand his coaching knowledge and connections alongside current LMU coach Mike Dunlap, for whom he played at Metro State in Denver.

* * *

ALSO no truth to any scurrilous claims 2016-17 NBL MVP Jerome Randle wanted his new contract in Turkey converted to Italian lire so he could enjoy all those extra zeroes.

Far from the first MVP to be out of the NBL the season after winning the top individual accolade, once Adelaide moved on and United retained Casper Ware, Randle really had no further options in Australia.

Corey Williams won the MVP with Townsville in 2010, then was out of the league until Melbourne cut TJ Campbell into the 2011 season.

Hawks’ league MVP-winner in 2011, Gary Ervin left for greener pastures in Ukraine the following season.

Kevin Lisch won the MVP while at Perth in 2012, stayed a further year, then headed to Europe until Illawarra “brought him home” in 2015.

In 2013, Cedric Jackson not only won the MVP but also the Larry Sengstock Medal, before departing for Slovenia.

Rotnei Clarke rocked the Hawks after winning the 2014 MVP by heading for Belgium for 2015.

MVPs heading off after winning the NBL’s highest individual accolade, is hardly a new phenomenon. Yet the league seems to continue on and flourish regardless!

* * *

KNOW it’s a lost cause but here’s some terminology it would be nice if basketball folk stopped using. E.g.

*Kick-off.

You’ve seen it already. A straight lift from the football codes. Don’t our seasons/games start with a “tip-off”?

*Minor premiership.

Really? Do we have a “minor round”? Sounds like footy again.

Don’t we actually have a “regular season champion” which is the team on top at the end of the, um, regular season? Since when has basketball had a minor round and a major round?

Aren’t our finals/playoffs the “post (regular) season”, also known as, um, the playoffs/finals?

Yes, footy is deeply ingrained for many of us but we do have our own identity and should embrace it wholeheartedly. It becomes even harder to develop a separate sporting identity when our leagues themselves – both NBL and WNBL - continue to lurk in footy’s shadow by using its terms themselves.

Let’s let the AFL keep stealing OUR terminology – you know, presses, zones, assists – rather than we continue to resort to blithely using theirs.

* * *

WHILE we’re at it, isn’t it also time for the NBL and WNBL to upgrade its round-by-round championship ladders (not “premiership tables”) to accommodate and better reflect the fact teams often have played disparate numbers of games as the regular season unfolds?

Adopting the North American sports model of “Games Behind” makes perfect sense and is a much better idea than the “percentages” used to separate teams until we reach the final table when all that becomes meaningless and head-to-heads determine ladder positions between tied teams.

On the Games Behind-style championship tables, all positions are judged against the team with the best record, with every win a team trails it by worth half a game and every loss difference also worth half a game.

So at Round 17 last season for example, an accurate NBL table would have looked like this:

And an accurate WNBL table like this:

Easy to follow, easy to understand and far more reflective of what’s genuinely going on.

* * *

MELBOURNE United playmaker Nate Tomlinson announced his retirement from pro basketball as a player today and will take up coaching, working initially alongside his father Bill in China.

Bill Tomlinson is a highly regarded successful SEABL, NBL and WNBL-championship winning head coach at Sydney Uni Flames, currently head coach at Shantou University in China’s Guangdong Province.

For Nate, 28, it is a premature end to his playing career but he has had his difficulties in recent years under some of Melbourne’s head coaches, since playing some of his best basketball under Chris Anstey with the Tigers.

PROPHET AND PRODIGY: Chris Anstey and Nate Tomlinson after the Tigers became United.

Tomlinson led the NBL in assists in 2014 and won the league's Most Improved Player Award while playing under Anstey.

With only eight NBL teams, it appears Tomlinson’s options were limited but focusing his basketball brain on coaching should prove a positive career step for him and we wish him all the best.

* * *

THIS just in. Apparently Stevie Weigh is miffed he didn’t go to NBA Summer League considering his sub for two years at Cairns Taipans, Torrey Craig, won a shot in The Show.

* * *

KEVIN White is rapt to be the new captain of the Hawks, the hard-hat and lunch-pail guard saying he always felt he punched above his weight and so did Illawarra.

Fairly sure we can all name one former NBL star who definitely would agree, but only with the punching bit.

* * *

WAIT. Basketball has  a premier and a premiership? Really?

OK. When did you last refer to the Wildcats as NBL premiers?

Come on. It’s time we moved forward.

* * *

NEXT time on “Sources”. Some ideas on generating even more excitement for our game, from the West’s No.1 sauce.

Sep 15

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