#1. This week's number one is an international center Alex Pledger (213-87, college: Belm.Abbey, currently plays in Australia). Pledger was the major contributor in a 3-point New Zealand Breakers' victory against the closely-ranked Kings (4-4) 79-76 in the Australian NBL last Friday.
He recorded a double-double by scoring 16 points and getting 10 rebounds. Pledger also added 3 blocks.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. New Zealand Breakers (5-1) are placed first in the NBL.
It was his team's fifth consecutive victory in a row.
But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.
It's Pledger's fourth year with the team.
He belongs to league's best rebounders (ranked #7) and also on the list of best blockers (first place).
This season Pledger averages: 9.5ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.0bpg, 2FGP: 45.1% and FT: 61.1%.
He is currently a member of the New Zealand senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to an international swingman Thomas Abercrombie (198-87, agency: Priority Sports, college: Washington St., currently plays in Australia) is a teammate of previously mentioned Alex Pledger. But that was another game of his team in Australian NBL which we would like to mention.
Abercrombie led New Zealand Breakers to a victory against the league outsider Townsville Crocodiles (0-8) 81-72.
He scored 15 points, had 6 rebounds and made 2 blocks in 27 minutes.
New Zealand Breakers (5-1) are placed first in the NBL.
It was his team's fifth consecutive victory in a row.
Abercrombie is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his fifth year in New Zealand Breakers' roster.
Abercrombie has relatively good stats this season: 11.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 2FGP: 39.5%, 3FGP: 38.9% and FT: 68.8% in the six games he played so far.
He played for the New Zealand national team in 2011.
#3. The New Zealand player who performed third best last week abroad was an international forward Mika Vukona (198-82, currently plays in Australia) is a teammate of previously mentioned Alex Pledger and both played together in the last Australian NBL game.
Vukona contributed to a 3-point New Zealand Breakers' victory against the closely-ranked Kings (4-4) 79-76.
He scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished 3 assists.
Vukona is currently second on the list of best rebounders and also on the list of best passers (seventh place).
His overall stats this season are: 8.3ppg, 8.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 43.9% and FT: 47.8%.
Vukona has a dual citizenship: Fijian and New Zealand.
He is also a member of the New Zealand senior national team.
#4. Swingman Brendon Polyblank (197-78, college: Texas St., currently plays in Switzerland) contributed to a 2-point Fribourg's victory against the closely-ranked Geneve Lions (3-2) 83-81 in the Swiss LNA on Saturday night.
Polyblank scored 13 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Benetton Fribourg Olympic (4-1) is placed second in the LNA.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
But the season just started, so everything may happen.
This year Polyblank has relatively solid stats: 11.6ppg, 5.0rpg and 1.6spg.
He is another player who holds two passports: British and New Zealand.
Polyblank used to play for the New Zealand national team
back in 2004.
#5. International power forward Jeremiah Trueman (206-87, college: Alaska-Anch., currently plays in Australia), who plays in the Australian NBL could not help Perth Wildcats (3-1) to beat Wollongong Hawks (5-1).
He scored 8 points in only 13 minutes.
Perth Wildcats were crushed 100-67 on the road by the second-ranked Wollongong Hawks.
They ended the series of three consecutive victories.
But the season is still in it's first stage and everything can happen.
This year Trueman's overall stats are: 4.3ppg and 2.0rpg in the four games.
He plays currently for the New Zealand national team.
#6. Forward Dillon Boucher (196-75, currently plays in Australia) is a teammate of previously mentioned Alex Pledger. He played also in the last Australian NBL game facing Thomas Abercrombie (above) in the other team.
Boucher managed to help New Zealand Breakers to win against the league outsider Townsville Crocodiles (0-8) 81-72.
He scored only 4 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Boucher has been at the team for five years.
Boucher's total stats this season are: 2.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.2apg and 1.3spg.
He is a former international player as he played for the New Zealand senior team five years ago.
#7. International swingman Leon Henry (200-85, college: S.Idaho JC, currently plays in Australia) is a teammate of previously mentioned Alex Pledger. He played also in the last Australian NBL game facing Mika Vukona (above) in the other team.
Henry contributed to a 3-point New Zealand Breakers' victory against the closely-ranked Kings (4-4) 79-76.
He scored only 4 points in 7 minutes on the court.
This year Henry's total stats are: 1.6ppg and 1.2rpg in the five games.
He is also New Zealand national team player.
#8. Guard Everard Bartlett (198-86, currently plays in Australia) is a teammate of previously mentioned Jeremiah Trueman and both played together in the last Australian NBL game.
Bartlett was not able to help Perth Wildcats (3-1) in their game against Wollongong Hawks (5-1). He cannot count Sunday's game as one of the best ones.
Bartlett scored only 2 points.
Perth Wildcats were crushed 100-67 in Gwynneville by the second-ranked Wollongong Hawks.
This season Bartlett averages just 6.3ppg.
He plays currently for the New Zealand national team.
The list of other players, who all have New Zealand passport but never been selected to any of New Zealand national teams:
#1.Aaron Baynes (208-C-86, college: Washington St., currently plays in Euroleague), who plays in Slovenia could not help Union Olimpija (1-4) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the sixth-placed Union Olimpija lost 65-75 on the road to the higher-ranked (#3) Khimky in the group A of Euroleague.
Baynes had a double-double by scoring 27 points and getting 10 rebounds in 27 minutes.
It was Union Olimpija's fourth consecutive loss in a row.
It's Baynes' first season with the team.
Baynes is currently seventh on the list of top scorers and also on the list of best rebounders (first place).
He has individually a very good year with high stats. Baynes averages: 16.8ppg and 10.0rpg in the five games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Australian and New Zealand.
#2.Marcel Jones (203-F-85, college: Oregon St., currently plays in Romania), who plays in the Romanian Division A was not able to help Pitesti (3-5) in their last game. Despite Jones' very good performance Pitesti lost 86-97 at home to the lower-ranked (#11) Ploiesti.
He was the second best scorer with 23 points. Jones also added 8 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Jones is ranked fifth on the list of the best rebounders in the league and also on the list of most steals (fourth place).
He has very reliable stats this year: 14.5ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.6apg and 2.1spg in the eight games.
Jones is a naturalized American.
He used to play for McDonalds Manawatu Jets in New Zealand league.
The Fico Finance Nelson Giants move to second spot, after defeating the ADVICE FIRST WAIKATO PISTONS 89-75, while in Invercargill the Zero Fees Southland Sharks have their fourth win of the season, dispatching the GOOD HOME TARANAKI MOUNTAIN AIRS 105-83.
ERRON MAXEY continued his hot form scoring twenty two points, while fellow American JOSH PACE collected 19 points and nine rebounds [read more]
ERRON MAXEY continued his hot form scoring twenty two points, while fellow American JOSH PACE collected 19 points and nine rebounds.
Pistons guard TAI WEBSTER had a game high 23 points, but it was another slow start for the visitors as they were down 15 at half time.
Nelson would extend their lead to 19, but a late rally by Waikato in the fourth quarter, managed to close the gap to only six points with still five minutes remaining.
After a time out, the Giants regrouped and put a halt to the Pistons momentum, pushing their lead back up to double-digits, sealing win number five for the season.
League leading rebounder ZACK ATKINSON had a solid double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, but Giants MIKA VUKONA replied with fourteen rebounds of his own.
It is the Pistons fifth loss of the season and they will play their fourth straight road next week, which will be against the Mountain Airs, who have had back to back twenty plus point losses.
It was not the start to the double down south the Airs were hoping for, as the Sharks outplayed them on every facet.
Sharks import Brian Conklin (198-F-89, college: St.Louis) was impressive scoring 31 points and only missed two field goals (12/14 FG), while Breakers development player REUBEN TE RANGI had 25 points, making four of eight three pointers.
Round Three player of the week KENNY GABRIEL had limited minutes due to foul trouble, eventually fouling out in fourteen minutes, only scoring five points.
It was also a tough night for JACK LEASURE who was held to 11 points, going 5-for-15 from the field.
Taranaki will now move on to Dunedin to face the red hot OCEANAGOLD NUGGETS tomorrow night, while the Sharks will have a night off before they also travel to play the Nuggets in arguably the game of Round Five.
Gabriel number one in New Zealand for round 3 - May 6, 2013
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American forward Kenny Gabriel (203-F-89) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for Taranaki MA, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 3.
The 23-year old player had a double-double of 31 points and 12 rebounds, while his team crushed, the league's bottom-ranked team Super City R. (#9, 0-5) with 18-point margin 104-86. Taranaki MA maintains the 6th position in New Zealand NBL. Taranaki MA is rather a weak team placed in lower part in the standings [read more]
American forward Kenny Gabriel (203-F-89) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for Taranaki MA, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 3. The 23-year old player had a double-double of 31 points and 12 rebounds, while his team crushed, the league's bottom-ranked team Super City R. (#9, 0-5) with 18-point margin 104-86. Taranaki MA maintains the 6th position in New Zealand NBL. Taranaki MA is rather a weak team placed in lower part in the standings. They need more victories to improve their 2-3 record. In the team's last game Gabriel had a remarkable 71.4% from 2-point range. He just recently signed at Taranaki MA, being already a very valuable addition to the team. Former Auburn University star has very solid stats this year. Gabriel is in league's top in points (5th best: 20.0ppg), rebounds (3rd best: 10.6rpg) and averages impressive 1.8bpg and 70.6% FGP.
The second best player in last round's games was 24-year old British forward Benny Anthony (198-F-88) of league's second-best OceanaGold N.. Anthony had a very good evening with a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds. Of course he lead OceanaGold N. to another comfortable win outscoring Nelson G. (3-2) 90-59. A very good start of the season for his team, which won so far all 4 games without any defeat. Anthony is one of the most experienced players at OceanaGold N. and has a reputation of one of team's most reliable players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 23.0ppg (#1). He also registered 8.5 boards per game.
Third on the list of top players last round was American forward Nick Horvath (208-F/C-81) of Hub Jets (#4). Horvath scored 25 points and grabbed six rebounds. Despite Horvath's great performance Hub Jets lost 77-107 to #1 ranked Wellington S.. But his team cannot count on just a single player as he also needs help of the other teammates especially in such crucial game. The last thing Hub Jets needs is to lose another game like this one. They lose more and more distance to the top teams. Their record is 2 victories and 2 lost games. Horvath has a great season in New Zealand. After only 4 games, he made it on the list of the league's leaders in rebounds with 11.3rpg (#1 in league). Nick Horvath has also New Zealand passport and can play in the league with a status of domestic player.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Bryant Markson (198-F-83) of Wellington S. - 22 points and 10 rebounds 5. Lindsay Tait (190-G-82) of Wellington S. - 22 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists 6. Antoine Tisby (203-F/C-83) of OceanaGold N. - 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists 7. Corey Webster (188-G-88) of Wellington S. - 27 points and 7 rebounds 8. Link Abrams (195-F-73) of Taranaki MA - 20 points and 8 rebounds 9. Brian Conklin (198-F-89) of Southland S. - 14 points and 15 rebounds
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
The opening game of round 3 in the NBL featured two of last seasons top four teams, Wellington Saints (4-0) visiting the Palmerston North Jets (2-1). The Jets, led by 13 points from Marcel Jones trailed by just two points at half time and were sniffing a win. However the Saints opened the second half with a blistering 17-0 run, Corey Webster(188-G-88, college: Lambuth) contributing nine of those points and from there it was all uphill for the hosts [read more]
The opening game of round 3 in the NBL featured two of last seasons top four teams, Wellington Saints (4-0) visiting the Palmerston North Jets (2-1). The Jets, led by 13 points from Marcel Jones trailed by just two points at half time and were sniffing a win. However the Saints opened the second half with a blistering 17-0 run, Corey Webster (188-G-88, college: Lambuth) contributing nine of those points and from there it was all uphill for the hosts. The Saints eventually won the third quarter 31-14 before cruising to a 107-77 victory. Corey Webster led all scorers with 28 points (10 from 14 from the field), American Bryant Markson (198-F-83, college: Utah) had a double double of 22 points/ 10 rebounds and Lindsay Tait chimed in with 22 points and 7 assists. Nick Horvath was the best of the Jets scoring 25 points.
The Southland Sharks took on the Nelson Giants in Invercargill, the Giants, playing their third consecutive road game had marginally the better of the opening stanza ahead 22-20 at the first break. Leon Henry responded well to the disappointing news received earlier in the week, that he had been released by the Sky City Breakers, he scored 10 first half points to help the Sharks to a 50-38 lead. The Giants made a strong run in the third period trimming the Sharks advantage to just five points, 61-56. A Brooke Ruscoe three early in the final period narrowed the Sharks advantage to just two points, Sharks coach Paul Henare calling a timeout to rally his troops. Both teams were struggling to score but the Sharks maintained their narrow advantage, up 78-74 with 3:20 remaining. Reuben Te Rangis pair of missed free throws with 1:47 remaining looked costly when Phill Jones scored a pair of baskets at the other end. However, a Luke Martin triple eased the nerves and the Sharks were able to celebrate their first ever victory against their South Island opponents 89-82. Brian Conklin had a massive double double of 14 points/15 rebounds for the hosts but the shooting of Te Rangi (16pts), Henry (18pts) and Martin (13pts) who combined for 18 from 26 from the floor did a lot to get the win. Josh Pace top scored for the Giants with 19 points but he was unusually wayward going just 8 from 21 from the floor. Brooke Ruscoe was also prominent with 17 points.
The third game on Saturday featured the Taranaki Mountain Airs hosting the Bay Hawks. The Hawks were up by a dozen points midway through the second quarter and were still in the ascendancy at half time 43-38. Hawks captain Paora Winitana leading his team with 11 points. The Airs responded admirably in the third quarter and took the lead shortly before the break courtesy of a Brad Anderson basket, to lead 63-61 with a period to play. The game was still in the balance deep into the final period. Winitana made a basket with 2:12 remaining, the Airs ahead 81-76 but what followed cost the visitors any chance of victory. Winitana committed a foul and followed up with a technical, his fifth foul. That was costly but two coach technical's and the automatic ejection from the game of Tab Baldwin was terminal. The Airs were gifted eight consecutive free throws and scored seven of them. Suddenly the Airs were 12 ahead and able to ease to a 101-86 victory. Jack Leasure led all scorers with 27 points including a perfect 12 of 12 from the charity stripe. Fellow American Kenny Gabriel had 25 points and 16 rebounds and for the Hawks, Winitana top scored with 21 points.
The Mountain Airs were quickly in action again, travelling up to Auckland to take on the James Blond Super City Rangers. The Airs were just ahead 55-52 at the main break on the back of 18 points from Kenny Gabriel. Guards Shea Ili and Houston ORiley contributed 13 third quarter points for the Rangers but five turnovers in the period gifted some easy transition points to the Rangers who extended their lead to 81-71 at three quarter time. Carl Buck (18 points) and Jack Salt (19 points) were valiant in defeat for the Rangers but ultimately the greater experience and firepower of the visitors ensured the Airs secured a valuable weekend winning double, 104-86. Gabriel led all scorers with 31 points ably supported by Jack Leasure (17pts), Brad Anderson (15pts) and Ethan Rusbatch (13pts).
The Nelson Giants were also in action on consecutive days, completing the southern swing in Dunedin but were beaten comprehensively 92-59 by the Otago Nuggets who won every quarter and now boast a 4-0 record. Beny Anthony collected a double double of 21 points and 14 rebounds and Akeem Wright, Antoine Tisby, Hayden Allen and Brendon Polyblank also made double figure contributions. Josh Pace (17pts) once again led the Nelson scoring and Mika Vukona grabbed 10 rebounds but otherwise it was a game to forget for the Giants. You imagine both coaches will be calling for extra shooting practice in the week as collectively the two teams connected with just 5 of 37 attempts from behind the arc ouch.
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