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Big offseason signings, new blood in the coaching ranks and the Sydney Kings are back. Is 2010 when the NBL returns to its glory days?
One of Australia’s young stars returns to the country after having a stint in Hungary. Matthew Knight, a Tasmanian junior, showed us all two years ago that he is going to be a star. In his rookie year for the Sydney Spirit, Knight became one of the most feared competitors in the game. Last season’s NBL Champions, Perth, have snared the monster and will make them an even greater force in the season to come. It is a step in the right direction for the NBL. If they can lure the young Australians’ back from Europe, then it is saying something about the quality of the competition back home.
The free agency market has given teams across the league a chance to purchase some quality talent. With every player listed on the market this season, it has added excitement to a once dour NBL offseason.
Melbourne and Adelaide have been quick to snap up some local talent whom dominated last season. Adelaide picked up Daniel Johnson, a young kid who still has many, many years a head of him. Melbourne has picked up the signing of the year so far in Cameron ‘Trigger’ Tragardh. Trigger was outstanding last season and is becoming one of the most potent scorers in the league. With many big name players yet to be signed, fans have to wait on the edge of their seats to see if their favourite player remains at the club.
The NBL is witnessing some new blood in the coaching ranks. In only his second season of coaching in the NBL, Rob Beveridge helped the Perth Wildcats hold up the Championship Trophy. Adelaide has just signed Martin Clarke, former Australian Institute of Sport head coach and current Boomers assistant coach. This is the right time for coaches like Brian Goorjian and Lindsay Gaze, to let some of the predecessors have a chance in the big league. Goorjian and Gaze have set a platform for all of the new coaches, the NBL thanks them for that, but it’s time for the new guys to take over. I’m hoping they bring back the wow factor the game has been missing for years.
The Sydney Kings are back, and what a time for it to happen. With the NBL quickly falling off the side of the sporting world, the Kings have given it a new lease of life. The problem now is the Kings are behind the eight ball. Many of the teams have started purchasing players and filling their roster. The Kings have not yet bought one player. All the Kings have done is appoint a coach. Ian ‘Moose’ Robilliard will hopefully take the Kings back to the Glory days, when the Entertainment Centre was jam packed and the fans were bopping along to the band that played before and after the game. I have heard that new Kings Chief Executive, Bob Turner, is keeping his cards very close to his chest, which is making it very hard for the Consortium to get things off the ground and running.
Sydney fans must not be ready for fireworks from day one of the competition, let alone the season. The Kings must put their heart and soul into trying to get bums on seats and get the Entertainment Centre pumping. The Kings will win games, there is no doubting that. I just hope that the Kings spend their money on local talent, meaning NSW, not Victoria or Western Australia. Fans want to see what their state has to offer not anyone else’s. This is where I think Sydney went wrong in previous years.
Enjoy what the off-season has to offer, but when the season begins it’s SHOWTIME!