Friday, 31 July 2015

Tall Blacks tour - European leg

After a pretty convincing victory against Great Britain earlier in the campaign the team travelled to Croatia for a match against the hosts and then followed by a bus ride to Slovenia for a match up against them 24 hours later.

Game one against Croatia was a bit of a heart breaker.  Losing 70-68 on the buzzer to a three pointer after a Mika Vukona put back put them up by one point with 10 seconds remaining. The home side were missing several NBA players so weren't a full strength side but they were still a very good team featuring many euroleague level players. A pretty special comeback was on the cards after being down 11 after three quarters and as I mentioned earlier they actually had the lead with 10 seconds left courtesy of Mika's offensive rebound and put back  but wasn't meant to be with Croatia's Rok Stipcevic hitting a three as the final buzzer went off!! Would have been a tough pill to swallow! They shot over 50% for the game and 39% from 3 and the rebounding count was even, but ball security let them down, committing 24 turnovers for the game. Corey Webster backed up his showing against Great Britain with a game high 19 points on 50% shooting and Mika Vukona added a workman like 10 points and 9 rebounds, Rob loe and Isaac Fotu added 9 points each.

Twenty four hours and a long bus trip later they played their second game of the european part of their tour against Slovenia. Unfortunately Slovenia escaped with a narrow 73-68. Leading by 5 at half time and by 3 at 3/4 time the boys will be gutted that a golden opportunity to knock of a euro powerhouse slipped through their fingers. The shooting wasn't quite as accurate as the night before against Croatia, going 35% from the field and 31% from 3, but the turnover count was significantly lower with 11 for the game. For the third game in a row C Web lead the scorers with 19, though not quite as efficient as his previous two outings going 5-18 from the field. Isaac Fotu continued his good form with 13 points and Reuben TeRangi was the third player in double figures with 10, Mika again chipped in with 6 & 8 and Tom Abercrombie helped out with 8 - 5 and a couple of steals.

The results obviously weren't what they were after and moral victories don't count in the win loss column but there were definitely positives to take away from both games and seem to be building nicely towards the Oceania series

The boys now fly off to China for the Stankovic cup...They will play games against China, Mexico and Venezuela. Three more tough tests on foreign soil.


Monday, 27 July 2015

Steven Adams out of Oceania series

After months of waiting on a decision by Steven Adams and OKC on his participation in this years Oceania series, today it has been revealed that unfortunately this year won't be the year we see him pull on the black singlet for the first time.

One can only speculate as to why he won't be participating after feedback a few months ago seemed quite positive...A big factor is probably the well documented coaching change, with Scott Brooks being relieved of his coaching duties and former University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan coming in. As well as the recent re-signing of Turkish big man Enes Kanter, a restricted free agent, Kanter was offered a 4 year $70 million offer sheet by the Portland Trail Blazers and the Thunder opted to match the offer to retain his services! So the training camp and pre season battle for the starting spot will be a very competitive one and Steve (and his management) might not want to risk slipping down the pecking order...Which sucks for Tall Blacks fans, but is completely understandable.

As we all know by now Australia have assembled one of the stronger Boomer squads in recent memory and Steve's presence obviously would have been huge, especially matching up with Andrew Bogut! Unfortunately it was not meant to be this year, but no doubt conversations will continue between him and basketball New Zealand and hopefully he will make his international debut in the near future!

Speaking of the Tall Blacks, the boys had a very convincing 84-63 win over Great Britain yesterday in their first official game of their build up for the Oceania series! Corey Webster was the stand out scoring what I believe is the most points he has scored in a Tall Blacks game with 32 on 10-15 shooting! Isaac Fotu didn't have the best shooting night of his life but had a pretty useful overall stat line of 10-16 (game high) and 6 assists, Mika Vukona joined also got into double figure rebounds with 11 and Everard Bartlett chipped in with 15 points in 14 minutes off the bench! But everybody made valuable contributions...Also quick shout out to Dion Prewster and Duane Bailey on making their "official" debuts after the closed game a few days earlier! They are now in Croatia to play a few games against, well Croatia (Duh!!!) and Slovenia.  Full stats from the Great Britain game can be found here 


Friday, 24 July 2015

Injury update and Tall Blacks first hit out

Four months down and a few more to go. I saw the surgeon the other day and once again he was extremely pleased with its progress.

Strength wise it is doing very well, range of motion is the biggest obstacle (it was always going to be) but it is improving by the day and starting to feel more and more normal, opposed to feeling like a ridiculously tight rubber band under my foot like it did a few months ago.

I can finally do pretty much everything in the gym that isn't explosive, because we all know thats a huge part of my game haha, but I did my first lot of deadlifts for a few months yesterday! Definitely a few muscles that haven't done a whole lot over the past few months have come roaring back to life today!!

I can almost run (if thats a thing lol) ...Starting off slow by running in a swimming pool just to get used to doing it again and then move up to a jog on the treadmill and move on to the court from there...Its not a super quick progression but I'm at that stage where its feeling pretty good and improving daily but its still a bit delicate and it would obviously be pretty heart breaking if something went wrong after all this time because I got a little ahead of myself...Slow and steady wins the race.

Im almost there! A few more barriers to get over then ill be good to go :)


Also the Tall Blacks has their first hit out of their campaign last night against Great Britain...Will no doubt be a nice confidence booster for the boys, especially considering they did it without Leon Henry and Shea Ili who will be going the team on their next leg in Croatia plus Lindsay Tait was out due to illness and Rob Loe sat this one out also with a knee problem.

The score was 77-72. Thats about all I can give at the moment! It was a closed match but by the sound of it there was a stats crew at the game so theres a stat sheet out there somewhere! Ill hunt around the inter webs and see if I can find it!

Despite the lack of info about the game it will no doubt be great for confidence and will give them a little extra boost heading into sunday's match in front of what will probably be a sell out crowd at the Copperbox, where the basketball was played at the London olympics a few years back.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Breakers pre-season

Today it was announced that just like last season we will be facing off against the Sydney Kings for 3 pre-season games in various locations around New Zealand!

The Kings roster isn't quite complete but with the return of centre Julian Khazzouh and former NBA player Josh Childress coming back for a second season in the NBL they will be very formidable not just during the pre-season but during the regular season as well.

Game one takes place on September 9th in my home town of Hamilton, a city that gets an unnecessarily high amount of hate (ill vent about that another day haha) at Claudelands arena...We have had a few games at Claudelands over the years against the Wollongong Hawks and the Dongguan Leopards. Game two is a few days later on September 11th at ILT Stadium in Invercargill, the first time the Breakers have ever been to Invercargill...There will also be a third game up in Auckland but the venue and date are yet to be confirmed!

We love doing these little tours around the country during the pre-season, we may be based in Auckland but we represent all of New Zealand. We don't get many opportunities to play outside of Auckland but we love being able to play a few games in other cities during the pre-season

Tickets go on sale on July 23rd (Hamilton) July 27th (Invercargill) and can be purchased at

Game one - September 9th, Claudelands Arena, Hamilton
Game two - September 11th, ILT Stadium, Invercargill
Game three - date and time TBC, Auckland

Hope to see you there :)


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Boomers name Oceania squad

Today the Australian Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis announced 12 players who will contest the 2015 Oceania olympic qualifying series! The Aussies currently have 7 players who ply their trade in the NBA and four of those players have made themselves available for the series, including recent crowned NBA champion Andrew Bogut and Cleveland cult hero Matthew Dellavedova, rounded off with Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz and Cameron Bairstow, probably not a well known name for kiwi basketball fans but played his rookie season for the Bulls last year.

The three NBA players missing are Aron Baynes, who has recently inked a pretty handy 3 year deal with the Pistons, who from what I can gather has recently had ankle surgery. Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles is taking a little time off. Finally Patty Mills of the Spurs has recently been ruled out of the European part of the Boomers build up, possibly because of problems with his recently operated on shoulder. Because of his inability to participate in the whole campaign Andrej Lemanis didn't name him in the 12.

Thats obviously three pretty big losses! Players who have been part of the Boomers for years, but the squad still has a lot of fire power including European based and former NBA players Nathan Jawai and David Anderson, European based guards/swingmen Brad Newley and Ryan Broekhoff and last but not least some names Breakers fans will be quite familiar with, Adam Gibson, Damian Martin, Brook Motum and Chris Goulding.

Its not quite a full strength squad but will still be tough! Im never going to bet against the Tall Blacks though...As usual, they will go into the series as under dogs, but the TBs have a habit of punching above their weight and it should prove to be a very competitive and entertaining series, especially if our own NBA player Steven Adams gets the all clear to play...CC Billy Donovan 

Tall Blacks - Tom Abercrombie, Duane Bailey, Everard Bartlett, Isaac Fotu, Leon Henry, Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Rob Loe, Dion Prewster, Lindsay Tait, Reuben Te Rangi, Mika Vukona, Corey Webster, Tai Wynyard (subject to change depending on Adams availability)

Boomers - David Anderson, Cameron Bairstow, Andrew Bogut, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Adam Gibson, Chris Goulding, Nathan Jawai, Damian Martin, Brock Motum, Brad Newley.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Tall Blacks named

The Paul Henare era officially got under way a few days ago with an extended squad of players invited to try out for this years tour of Europe and China and today he named his first 14 man squad to head away for those games against Great Britain, Croatia, Slovenia, China, Venezuela and Mexico.

The fourteen players selected are:
Tom Abercrombie
Duane Bailey
Everard Bartlett
Isaac Fotu
Leon Henry
Shea Ili
Jarrod Kenny
Rob Loe
Dion Prewster
Lindsay Tait
Reuben Te Rangi
Mika Vukona
Corey Webster
Tai Wynyard

Duane Bailey, Shea Ili and Dion Prewster all make their national team debuts after impressive NBL seasons for their respective teams! With Casey Frank and Kirk Penney not being available (or retired, not sure) it is definitely a young squad and players like Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster, Jarrod Kenny and even Rob Loe (despite only being 23) have definitely entered 'veteran' status alongside Mika Vukona and Lindsay Tait.

After the tour around China and Europe the squad will be reduced to 12 for the two games against the Boomers in August! The big question is obviously whether or not Steven Adams will be given the all clear by the Oklahoma City Thunder to play in the series...Its kind of hard to know at this point but hopefully Billy Donovan will think playing against an Aussie team that will have plenty of NBA talent will be good for him! 

Big congrats to the 14 who got selected! Its a great feeling hearing your name get called after a tough trial and knowing you get to put on the Black singlet! 


Thursday, 9 July 2015

DeAndre Jordan saga

Well today was entertaining wasn't it...that is if your an NBA fan and avid twitter user (like me)

After verbally agreeing to join the Mavs for four years just a few days ago Jordan apparently had second thoughts about leaving LA...From what I can gather those 'second thoughts' have become reality and is set to sign (if he hasn't already) a five year max deal worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of $110 million!!

There are some people who think he should not have gone against his word (Mavs fans) and then there are others who say that he didn't put his signature on anything so he can do what he wants (Clippers fans) ...Ill let you decide what you think is right and what isn't.

But then a rather entertaining 'emoji' twitter battle involving Chandler Parsons, JJ Redick, Blake Griffon begun then Marreese Speights, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan (well the Jordan brand twitter account) Paul Pierce, Rudy Gobert and Andrew Bogut got in on it as well. Click here to see it all unfold, it is pretty damn funny, especially the Paul Pierce/Rudy Gobert part haha

Amongst all this twitter action Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin all showed up to Jordan's home in Houston and "locked" him in his own house and held him "hostage" basically to keep the Mavs away...Blake Griffin even posted this picture playfully indicating they had locked Jordan inside his house with the caption "Don't agree with the furniture layout but I'm not an interior designer" I had a good laugh

Amongst all that Chris Broussard said that Mavs owner Mark Cuban was flipping his lid driving around Houston doing anything possible to find out Jordan's Houston address to try and have his own meeting with him...To which Cuban's brother had a go at Broussard on twitter, not the first guy to do that!! Now all we need to complete this is for Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless to give us their two cents haha.

I feel kind of like the E! Channel posting something like this haha, but I found it pretty entertaining.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

NBA Free agency!!

Free agency has been a bit of a frenzy over the last few days! Some players resigned, some high profile players have moved and over two billion dollars, billion with a B, worth of deals have been negotiated since free agency started! Some crazy money has been thrown around...Below are a few of my thoughts about some of the signings and other player movement, trades be here all day if I went over all of them haha

The Spurs have won free agency

What an off season the Spurs have had so far! Firstly they resigned Kawhi Leonard for 5 years! Leonard has become one of the best two players in the NBA over the past few years and this deal shows they see him being a franchise type player when the big three hang them up! They also won the LeMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes, several teams were after his services but the Spurs got him and locked him in for four years! David West also opted out of his last year in Indiana that would have paid him 12 million and signed with the Spurs for the veterans minimum, giving up over 10 million in hopes of getting a championship. Combine that with the big three returning for another go 'round and Pop at the helm, he might just get it.

DeAndre Jordan to Mavs

DeAndre Jordan to decided to move on from the team that drafted him and signed with the Mavericks for four years. He was looking for a larger offensive role and with Chris Paul and Blake Griffon he was at best going to be the third guy. Dallas still have a few more spots to fill but but Dirk Slowing down a bit there we be increased responsibility at the offensive end for Jordan...Even if his offensive game remains almost exclusively alley ops and put backs he will still be worth what they are paying him (80 mill), he is still the best rebounder in the league and arguably the best interior defender/rim protector and when you're the best at something you're going to get paid. Excellent pick up by the Mavs. The Mavs also picked up Wesley Matthews and signed him to a four year deal that will pay him 57 million! Maybe a bit of an overpay for someone coming off an achilles rupture but when healthy he is one of the best 3 point shooters in the game as well as being a good wing defender.

Rajon Rondo

Rondo signed a one year deal with Sacramento a few days ago and not really sure what to think! His troubles in Dallas last season in the playoffs have been well documented and has developed a bit of a reputation as a problem child. It will be interesting to see how it all works out with him, George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins...Personalities galore!! He hurt his stock a lot in Dallas last year! But at 29 he has a lot of good years left in him so if he can keep it together this season and get himself back into that upper echelon like he was in the Boston days he could be in for a handy pay day next off season...Not like the 10 mill he will get this season is bad though lol

Hibbert to the Lakers

This wasn't a free agent signing but is still a nice pick up for the Lakers! Hibbert had a $15 million player option with Indiana and there was no way he wasn't going to exercise that! He didn't play bad for Indiana this past season but his production didn't exactly scream '15 million' at you! After missing out on LeMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Robin Lopez and Greg Munroe they could do worse than Hibbert! His stock took a major hit after a shocking post season the season before last where he had multiple scoreless and rebound-less games. Not sure what happened but behind closed doors something definitely went down (insert Space Jam Monstars joke here)...He is still on of the best rim protectors in the league and hopefully a new environment will help him play the way he did when he made those 2 all star games. Hopefully Kobe won't destroy his soul haha.

Those were just a few of the more notable deals that have happened so far...Some others that have moved in to other teams include Greg Monroe to Milwaukee for 5 years, Monta Ellis to Indiana for 4 years, DeMarre Carroll to Toronto for 4 years, Tyson Chandler to Phoenix for 4 years and Robin Lopez to the Knicks for 4 years.

There are some good players still available and would help a lot teams...Josh Smith is probably the best of those who are unrestricted. Tristan Thompson and Enis Kanter are probably the best who are restricted ...LeBron James is an unrestricted free after opting out of his second year with Cleveland but from what I have heard and read it is almost a certainty he will re-sign with the Cavs. Though this could potentially throw a spanner in the works.

Its been an exciting free agency period so far and though most of the 'big' names have been locked up! There are still some excellent players to keep an eye on.

*shameless plug* as I mentioned the other day I'm participating in the "red beard" challenge to raise money for Cure Kids! If you are interested in donating click here ..any donation, no matter how big or small, would be greatly appreciated! Its for a great cause :)


Friday, 3 July 2015

'Red Beard' challenge for Cure Kids

Hi everybody

This year as part of a fundraiser I have joined a team to help raise money for Cure Kids! The beard seems to be my trademark these days so now I have a good reason to grow it out, instead of just doing it to annoy my girlfriend haha

The "Red Beard" challenge ends on Red Nose day (August 21st) and on that day we will all dye our beards red and then shave them off...The team has already raised $15,000 of our $50,000 goal! I have recently joined the team so have a little bit of catching up to do!

Cure Kids is a fantastic organisation that dedicates itself to finding cures to life threatening illnesses that affect many of New Zealand's children. Click here to find out more about Cure Kids and the work they do.

As you can imagine fundraising and donations is what keeps an organisation like this alive! If you are interested in donating please click on one of the links below. The first one is to our teams page and the second one is to my individual page (the one where you get your wallet out haha)

This is a for a fantastic cause! Any donation, no matter how big or small, will help Cure Kids continue their research and find cures for these life threatening illnesses!

So please retweet/share/like/whatever other type of social media-ing there is to help spread the word! Every little bit helps :)


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Final four game two - Giants v Saints

Game two of the final four features playoff regulars the Nelson Giants and Wellington Saints. The Giants finished second on the ladder with a 13-5 record and the Saints finished third with a 12-6 is a closer look at each team


The Giants weren't a team that was being talked about a lot during the preseason! Most of the talk was centred around the other three teams who have made the playoffs, but the Giants put together a highly impressive campaign. There was good reason for the lack of pre season noise! Two imports who had never played in the league (though they struck gold there), a rookie head coach, Phill Jones was pulled out of retirement and Mika Vukona wasn't available at the start, outside of a few early games, because of a break after the Breakers championship season and a short term deal in Italy...But they proved all the doubters wrong! They came out of the blocks hot with a 6-0 start to the season, there were a few hiccups in the middle stages but finished strong winning 6 of there last 8 games. They bought in two quality imports, but they really hit the jackpot with McKenzie Moore! A true stat stuffer, he put up 22,6,4 plus 2 blocks (ok 1.8) and 2 steals a game, great production at both ends. He is a little spotty from behind the arc but he relentlessly attacks the basket and attempted 149 free throws during the regular season (8.2 per game) he's a top candidate for league MVP and a surefire all star 5 selection. They have very good inside outside balance with Deronn Scott, Phill Jones out on the perimeter and Josh Duinker and Mika Vukona inside, utility man Sam Dempster filling in wherever his team needs him and Finn Delany and Bronson Beri giving solid minutes off the bench! Plus with Mika recently announcing his retirement from the (nz) NBL he will want to go out with a bang and a determined Mika is a lot more fun to play alongside than to play against!


Some major changes happened this season in the capital after winning it all last year! They bought back two time championship winning coach Pero Cameron from the tron, no reigning league MVP Corey Webster! But despite those changes, the results were what most expect from a Saints team! Another playoff appearance. However with the playing status of league MVP candidate Torrey Craig up in the air I'm not sure what to think, they definitely have the depth to cover him but its very difficult to cover the loss of a teams leading scorer and rebounder as evidenced by their 1-2 record in the games he didn't play, with the one win being against winless Taranaki...But if playing in and watching the NBL over the years has taught me anything its that if Lindsay Tait is on your team you are gonna be in with a shot and he has young gun Izayah Le'Afa backing him up. They have two of the best marksmen in the league on the wings with Dion Prewster and Leon Henry (mask and all), the ever reliable Brendan Polyblank, ANBL star Daniel Johnson, rebounding machine Nick Horvath and throw the guy everyone hates playing against, Damien Ekenasio, in there as well you definitely have a very good squad! 


This is a tough one to call, Craig is a huge loss if he is unable to play but I still think they have the talent to win this one without him! A lot will depend on how well the Giants defend Lindsay Tait...If the Giants allow the game to be played at a hectic pace and give Lindsay freedom in the open court and he has one of those games where he gets 12-15 assists it may be a tough night for the Giants. But if they can slow the ball down, get it out of his hands and make the guys who are normally on the receiving end of his dimes try and create for themselves they will be in a good position! But for the Giants, Moore will be tough going to the basket, Mika and Sam Dempster will be everywhere, Duinker will do his thing inside and Jones will bomb away from deep...Without Craig this one is pretty much 50-50 to me but with home court advantage, id give a slight edge to the Saints. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

NBL final four - Semi final 1 - Sharks v Rangers

To open up the final four in Wellington we have the Southland Sharks facing off against the Super City Rangers. As I've mentioned quite a bit during the season I havent seen many games in person since they are not shown on TV nor are they live streamed like last season! But I'm pretty famaiar with the league and most of the players in it so I think what you read below is pretty accurate despite not having stats to back everything up. Here is a look at the two teams.


After a controversial season last year in the deep south the Sharks have bounced back in a big way this season. Recruiting NBL most improved player Todd Blanchfield, last seasons outstanding NZ forward Duane Bailey and Adrian Majstrovich, a former NBL MVP. As well as retaining club legend Kevin Braswell, Shea Ili and find of the century big man Tai Wesley...After a disappointing 1-3 start the Sharks havent lost a game since, going on a massive 14 game winning streak!! Winning 14 in a row is impressive no matter how long the season but with the NBL being just 18 games long, its a pretty remarkable streak! Kiwis know what to expect from players like Kevin Braswell, Duane Bailey and Adrian Majstrovich and they all produced at a high level, new recruit Todd Blanchfield, fresh of his breakout season with the Townsville Crocs, provided a consistent scoring threat finishing 5th in the league at 22ppg. Tai Wesley has been phenomenal and is a top candidate for league MVP! Averaging 18 and 9.5 he has been a model of consistency and efficiency, shooting a ridiculous 66% from the field for the season...on top of that he is the anchor of the leagues best defence and despite not being an amazing athlete (Sorry Tai lol) he blocks 2 shots a game and uses veteran savvy and smarts to make up for the few inches he gives up to most of the players he matches up against. If there is one thing against this team depth might be it, all 5 starters average over 30 mins and Shea Ili is the only player who consistently gets extended playing time off the bench...But that obviously didn't cause to many issues over the course of the season and probably won't be over the final four.


A team many thought would be a definite championship contender at the start of the season, they perhaps weren't quite as dominant as some might have thought and struggled for consistency, but they did enough to make the final 4. The Rangers like to run and gun and put a lot of points on the board. They have three guys who average over 20 a game. Jason Cadee has continued his form from last season and is the leagues second leading scorer, Tom Garlepp and Rueben TeRangi average 20.7 and 20.5 respectively. Casey Frank provided great all around play with 10,8 and 3 assists a game, his 3 point %age was down compared to previous years but outside of that had a pretty tidy season. Plus Hayden Allen also had a pretty useful season after coming out of retirement. When I heard that Jeff Green was going to be coaching I wondered if they would press full court and try to create havoc defensively the way his teams did back in the day and that they did (based off the one game I saw in person). The Rangers may not have been quite as dominant as a lot had anticipated before the season started but they are a very good team and if they catch fire from deep (they shoot quite a few of them) they can be a handful for any team.


The Rangers are a talented team, but I think the Sharks will be too good! The Rangers have a lot of championship winning experience with Dillion Boucher, Casey Frank and Hayden Allen who between them probably have about 15 championships...But with Kevin Braswell retiring after this season and coach Paul Henare moving on after this year they will definitely want to send them out the right way and will use that as a little extra motivation... The Sharks won both games against the Rangers this season and I think the Sharks will get up for this one as well.



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