It is fitting that the two best teams from last season kick start the 2012-2013 iiNet ANBL season. Just 164 days after the SKY CITY New Zealand Breakers won their second iiNet Championship on a memorable night at Vector Arena, the Perth Wildcats are back in Auckland. Games between the Breakers and the Wildcats are always hard fought, intense affairs as we witnessed in the Finals series in April. The opening game of the season always holds extra interest for the fans as they get to view new additions to the team for the first time, Will Hudson arrives at the Breakers from the recently disbanded Gold Coast Blaze. The 23 years old power forward was a standout at Oakland University before helping the Blaze to the semi-finals of the ANBL last season. He averaged 9.5ppg and 6.0 rebounds expect similar productivity from the American this season as he joins Alex Pledger (213-C-87, college: Belm.Abbey), Dillon Boucher and Mika Vukona in a powerful front court.
Corey Webster returns to the club after a twelve months break. He is a product of the Breakers development programme has played 41 games for the Breakers over three seasons, scoring 129 points at 3.1 points per game. Much will be expected of Webster this season as he provides valuable cover at the point and shooting guard spots. Also look out for the captain of the 2012 Junior Tall Blacks, Reuben Te Rangi who was voted New Zealand National Basketball League Rookie of the Year after an eye catching season with the Harbour Heat. Not expected to play many minutes, the 17 year old, in his first season as a Development Player is viewed by the coaching staff as a player of the future.
Like the SKY CITY New Zealand Breakers the Perth Wildcats have a very similar line up to last season. They have parted company with giant centre Luke Nevill and guard Drew Williamson but added Hawkes Bay favourite Everard Bartlett who debuted for the Tall Blacks in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament earlier in the year. Like team mates Jeremiah Trueman and Shawn Redhage, Bartlett had a spell with the Breakers a few seasons back.
The two teams played each other six times last season with two of the games going to overtime and three of the other encounters decided by six points or less. The Wildcats have had the more solid pre-season winning seven games on the trot and also won the recent National Basketball preseason tournament, at which the SKY CITY New Zealand Breakers finished fourth. Not sure any of this will count for much when the two teams cross the white line onto the court but television and live fans can expect another intense affair between the two top teams in Australasia.
Hutt Valley claim their 2nd NBC title in 3 years - 22 days ago
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92-87 win over the Canterbury Knights in Saturday night's final at Te Rauparaha Arena. With Canterbury down four with forty seconds remaining in the Grand Final, Marty Davison hit what initially looked to be a fallaway three pointer and the foul, sending the mainly Hutt-cheering crowd into shock, though after a few moments it was made clear that the whistle was infact for Davison stepping out of bounds. That... [read more]
Hutt Valley were named National Mens Basketball Champions following a hard-fought 92-87 win over the Canterbury Knights in Saturday night's final at Te Rauparaha Arena. With Canterbury down four with forty seconds remaining in the Grand Final, Marty Davison hit what initially looked to be a fallaway three pointer and the foul, sending the mainly Hutt-cheering crowd into shock, though after a few moments it was made clear that the whistle was infact for Davison stepping out of bounds. That was the final push for Canterbury as Brendon Polyblank put the game out of Canterbury's reach at the free-throw line, seeing Hutt Valley claim the Championship. It was a back-and-forth opening quarter with both teams making runs of their own, before Polyblank sparked Hutt Valley to a seven-point lead. The big man finished the opening 10 minutes with 12 points, though the Canterbury Knights clawed back in the dying stages of the period to make it a 25-23 ball game. As was the case in the opening quarter though, Hutt Valley made a mid-quarter run to stretch their lead out to nine as their pressurising defence left Canterbury scoreless for the opening four and a half minutes of the spell. Nico Buckrell (190-G-95) was crucial in this stretch on his way to 27-point night on 13 shots though the NBC MVP was quick to pass the credit onto his team. 'We've just got a core group of guys who have been playing for five or six years together so we've got that chemistry. We just know how to play together. It's nothing more than that,' said Buckrell. However, the Knights soon began to play together themselves, eroding away the Hutt Valley lead using an 22-9 stretch to take a 45-42 lead into the half-time interval. Crucial in that stretch was again Davison. The veteran guard had himself 12 points by the half and was the spark to Canterbury's resurgence, hitting two three-pointers to end their drought. A lethargic Hutt Valley outfit came out to start the third quarter, forgetting about transition defence as Canterbury raced out to an eight-point lead. Marques Whippy (193-PF-86, college: BYU-Hawaii) then took matters into his own hands as he bushed away his first half cobwebs to torture Hutt Valley on the offensive glass, leading to second-chance points that the Fijian was missing in the opening half as he made his way to a 22-point, 20-rebound statline. As was the theme of the game though, Hutt bounced back right at Canterbury. The substitution of Whippy opened up an 11-1 Hutt run which they used to make the score just two points in the Knights' favour heading into the final period, 65-63. Beginning the forth quarter as they ended the third, Hutt Valley leaped out to a seven-point lead with five minutes remaining thanks to Jackson and Elliot Stubbins as Hutt managed to keep the Knights at arms-length as the Grand Final drew to a close to claim the 2016 crown. A big part of the team's success was player-coach George Le'afa (178-PG-78) whose pair of three-balls put Hutt Valley in the driver's seat in the dying stages of the semi-final, before contributing 11 points, six rebounds and five assists - all at the age of 38. 'I've got one sore body. I don't know how I ended up playing but hey, it is what it is and I'm not sure how I made the All-Star five but hey, I'll take it… ' said Le'afa. Though, despite Le'afa claiming the individual accolade of making the tournament team, the player-coach was quick to credit his team attitude as the reason for success. 'These boys have been playing together for quite some time, so it wasn't that hard to build that chemistry. All it was, was work for each other, play hard and play our game. 'It was good to play with these young guys and I told them from the start 'this is your guys' competition, this is an opportunity for you guys to go into the NBL… it was awesome.'
Breakers add Stockton to their roster, ex Cedevita - 1 month ago
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25-year old American point guard David Stockton (180-75kg-91, college: Gonzaga). He already started the season at Cedevita in Croatia A1 league. Stockton managed to play in three leagues this year. In 5 A1 games he recorded 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 6.2apg and 3.0spg. Stockton also played 2 games in Eurocup where he averaged 5.5ppg and 1.5apg. And finally he contributed to 6 games in ABA League where he had 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.3apg and 1.0spg. The las... [read more]
New Zealand Breakers (NBL) added to their roster 25-year old American point guard David Stockton (180-75kg-91, college: Gonzaga). He already started the season at Cedevita in Croatia A1 league. Stockton managed to play in three leagues this year. In 5 A1 games he recorded 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 6.2apg and 3.0spg. Stockton also played 2 games in Eurocup where he averaged 5.5ppg and 1.5apg. And finally he contributed to 6 games in ABA League where he had 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.3apg and 1.0spg. The last season Stockton played at another team Bighorns in U.S. semi-pro league D-League. In 49 games he got impressive 18.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 7.2apg (top 4) and 1.0spg. He helped them to win the D-League West Division title (twice). Two years ago Stockton was drafted by Maine Red Claws (D-League) in third round (40th overall). The former Gonzaga University staris in his third season in pro basketball. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League this summer. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Stockton was voted USBasket.com D-League All-Rookie 2nd Team in 2015. He has played also professionally for other NBA teams like Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings.
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