We are a few rounds into the rebuilt South Australian metropolitan basketball league. The league is in a clear rebuilding and re-branding phase with a much needed overhaul of the local competition taking place. Let’s have a look at the teams for this year and some of the other top teams contesting at different levels of the Basketball Premier League…
Coach: Corey Maclean (Men), Christian Bell (Women)
Finished last season: 1st (Men), 6th (Women)
Prediction: 3rd (Men), 5th (Women)
Overseas?: Ian Nixson (Men), Callan Taylor (Women)
NBL?: Mitch Creek (Men)
Clutch?: Cameron Wilson (Men), Katherine Perkas (Women)
Bolter?: Luke Stanbridge (Men), Ursula Richards (Women)
Rookie?: Daniel McKee (Men), Rachel Griffiths (Women)
The Men: The Warriors have lost a few loyal servants and last years Woollacott medallist in Alex Starling but have recruited well in Creek and Nixson. They have a deep guard rotation in the Wilson’s and Standbridge will be a huge inside presence. They are still every chance to go back to back in a tight competition.
The Women: Expect improvement as Perkas is supported on the scoring front this season. A youthful group coming through along with new import Taylor will make the Warriors a much harder team to beat this season. They’ll push for a top five finish but might still fall short but look out in 2016 for a Warriors tilt at the title.
West Adelaide Bearcats
Coach: Brendan Mann (Men), Glenn Shaw (Women)
Finished last season: 2nd (Men), 7th (Women)
Prediction: 6th (Men), 6th (Women)
Overseas?: David Sturner (Men),
Clutch?: Blake Truslove (Men), Ashlea Vordermaier (Women)
Bolter?: Daniel Phillips (Men), Trudy Holland (Women)
Rookie?: Jordan Annor (Men), Skye Landebrinck (Women)
The Men: Can they recover from so many so close yet so far seasons? That’s the question most local basketball experts are asking. The Bearcats may slide this year after many years at the top and look to lack depth in the bench compared to other contenders.
The Women: Recruit Vodermaier will have them in the hunt for a top five finish. They’ll be in a log jam with plenty of other teams at the pointy end of the season so they’ll need their young brigade to step up and get them across the line. Think they might miss given a lack of bench depth and big game experience.
Coach: Brett Maher (Men), Marcus Wong (Women)
Finished last season: 7th (Men), 2nd (Women)
Prediction: 7th (Men), 2nd (Women)
Overseas?: Clifford Reed (Men)
NBL?: Angela Marino, Hannah Richards (Women)
Clutch?: Max Calligeros (Men), Hannah Richards (Women)
Bolter?: Tim Klaosen (Men), Kate Gladstone (Women)
Rookie?: Dylan Rawson (Men), Lauren Gibbons (Women)
The Men: In his 2nd year, Maher’s Men have the goods to be around the top five mark. A strong front court including Klaosen and added some scoring power in import Reed, The Sabres will be in the mix but might struggle to match the national and local experience some of the other clubs have in their squads. Watch with interest to see if they do make a move up the ranks.
The Women: New coach but a heap of exits may again hurt the Sabres chances of making it to the big dance. Injury ruined their run last season and if that strikes again, they may fall down the ladder. The Sabres with their WNBL experienced players however have always been a strong club in the Women’s and should once again register a top three finish.
Coach: Andy Simons (Men), Sharon Simons (Women)
Finished last season: 5th (Men), 5th (Women)
Prediction: 1st (Men), 9th (Women)
Overseas?: Jake Rios (Men),
Clutch?: Daniel Sims (Men), Megan Kermond (Women)
Bolter?: Kyle Howe-Tiepene (Men), Sarah Petrie (Women)
Rookie?: Hayden Kanisauskas (Men), Anastasia Falkenberg (Women)
The Men: A surprise pick for the title this year but not a surprise to all most judges would say. The recruitment of the powerful Pero Vaselijevic to join Brad Haydon and Brad Gerlach in the front court along with the returning import Rios has them in the top three mix. With the addition of former 36ers rookie Sims and a settled squad, the depth the Eagles will throw at teams for 40 minutes should see them claim challenge for the another title.
The Women: The exodus of the likes of Jess Fergus and the Robinson Sisters is going to hurt the Eagles in a massive way. The inclusion of the Adelaide Thunderbirds Carla Borrego=Williams and the improvement of Sarah Petrie need to lead a young list to fight week in week out. Too may gaps in the team sees them have a development season down the bottom of the ladder.
Central Districts Lions
Coach: Scott Whitmore (Men), Kevin Brooks (Women)
Finished last season: 4th (Men), 10th (Women)
Prediction: 4th (Men), 10th (Women)
Overseas?: Tyler Kennedy (Men), TBA (Women)
NBL?: Amy Lewis (Women)
Clutch?: Joel Goodenough (Men), Demi Skinner (Women)
Bolter?: Paul Joyce (Men), Aimee Herriman (Women)
Rookie?: Jordan Centenara (Men), Hannah Dixon (Women)
The Men: Two finals finishes in a row is a huge possibility for a squad that has been together for many years. The middle-tier players are improving and they have a solid core group thats played together a few years now in Chris Clausen, Goodenough, Matt Atkins, Luke Frost and Joyce. It comes down to the import for the Lions, if Kennedy fires the same as Kyle Miller then they can look beyond the elimination final to a real run at the top three. Not sure if he’ll have the same impact but they won’t miss the finals unless injuries and form affect them.
The Women: KB is starting to build some foundation by recruiting WNBL player Amy Lewis and whilst they may not advance far, they’ll definitely improve on last years record of 0-18. If the Eagles and a few other teams struggle then they may jump out of last place and start to build fora tilt at some serious basketball in 2016.
Coach: David Cooper (Men), Jessica Foley (Women)
Finished last season: 3rd (Men), 3rd (Women)
Prediction: 2nd (Men), 1st (Women)
NBL?: Jacob Holmes, Matthew Lycett (Men), Jessica Good, Jessica Foley (Women)
Clutch?: Andrew Webber (Men), Jessica Foley (Women)
Bolter?: Ian O’Boyle (Men), Kelsey Ireland (Women)
Rookie?: Ben Mwroka (Men), Jessica Good (Women)
The Men: Holmes, Nick Hambour and Ben Howell have them a definite top three finisher and a huge chance to be there on the last day. Expect them to have some middle-tiers and rookies prop them up too as they take one of the more exciting lineups through the competition each week.
The Women: They are stacked with depth and have the goods to win the whole thing. Rebecca Duke has returned and Ireland will be the bigger mover across the league having watched her make some clutch plays in other tournaments outside of the competition. Only thing that can derail this team is the juggling of the player-coach role from Foley and the WNBL experience of other contenders come playoff time.
North Adelaide Rockets
Coach: Nathan Hawkes (Men), Brenton Johnston (Women)
Finished last season: 10th (Men), 1st (Women)
Prediction: 4th (Men), 3rd (Women)
Overseas?: Aric Miller (Men),
Clutch?: Aric Miller (Men), Jo Hill (Women)
Bolter?: Daniel Goodluck (Men), Jamie-Lee Peris (Women)
Rookie?: Luke Pike (Men), Lauren Badenoch (Women)
The Men: The big movers of this season because of the recruitment of College gun Miller even with the loss of star Vaselijevic. You throw in the maturing of the squad led by the likes of Goodluck and Pike and they’ll be pushing for a much better season. They’ll go close to the finals and be an extremely hard unit to top this year.
The Women: Lost some experience but still look very strong. A team with Hill and Peris is always to challenge for the top three, but the other contenders look a tad stronger in the depth stakes. No reason why they can’t go back to back if their in the mix though.
Coach: Rashad Tucker (Men), Tracy York (Women)
Finished last season: 8th (Men), 9th (Women)
Prediction: 10th (Men), 7th (Women)
NBL?: Samuel Johns (Men), Tara Robinson (Women)
Clutch?: Matthew Williams (Men), Hannah Fisher (Women)
Bolter?: Craig Catford (Men), Denelle Fawcett (Women)
Rookie?: Majok Deng (Men), Alexandra Kraemer (Women)
The Men: The tigers are in for a tough season with an import already released before getting under-way. The recruitment of Deng should at least give them a show above the ring and the NBL experience for Johns will benefit the team long-term. A couple of upset wins on the cards this year, but they look the least strongest of the ten teams.
The Women: The Tigers are the winners of the Eagles exodus with the Robinson sisters joining the club (and probably adding Fergus for the next season word is). Hannah Fisher (formerly Robinson) and Tara Robinson make the Tigers side an instantly better outfit both back court and front court. Along with the improvement of Danielle Fawcett, they’ll push for top five but really make a run in 2016 with some handy future additions.
South Adelaide Panthers
Coach: Matt Davies (Men), Vikki Kelson (Women)
Finished last season: 6th (Men), 4th (Women)
Prediction: 9th (Men), 4th (Women)
Overseas?: Jeremy Smith (Men),
Clutch?: Shane Boal (Men), Jessica Mahony (Women)
Bolter?: Hamish Gardiner (Men), Ieva Nagy (Women)
Rookie?: Dylan Pfitzner (Men), Madeline Cunningham (Women)
The Men: A strongly balanced side with hardened experience in Boal, Thomas Mckenzie and Bradley Reid and recruits of Matthew Dubrich and Phil Brown have them most definitely primed for a push up the ladder. Add import Smith and more years into their squad members and you have a smokey for the top five. The only query is game fade outs and the strength of other teams in star power. Most likely even though we pick them where they are, they’ll probably prove us wrong.
The Women: The Nagy’s have arrived and that equals a much stronger Panthers outfit. Look out for Teresa Kinross as well as our picks above as they very much remain in the mix. They’ll be just behind the big three but could break through with a deep youthful lineup coming through the ranks.
Coach: Will Smith (Men), Nathon Jones (Women)
Finished last season: 9th (Men), 8th (Women)
Prediction: 8th (Men), 8th (Women)
Overseas?: Decorey Jones (Men), Demetria Frank (Women)
NBL?: Atem Atem (Men)
Clutch?: Shane Breheny (Men), Amanda Williams (Women)
Bolter?: Atem Atem (Men), Emma Hooley (Women)
Rookie?: Tom Giles (Men), Jamia Rock (Women)
The Men: The Mavericks have depth this year with the recruitment of 36ers rookie Atem and the Sabres Breheny. Add the import and you’ve got another that could easily challenge those up the ladder on their night. Consistency and a lack of ability to win on the road in their history suggest it may be a struggle still, but don’t be surprised if they get up and contest for the final spots for the play-offs.
The Women: Much like the men they look like they’ve bolstered their squad. Williams (formerly McDermott) is a star and Demetria Frank could be one of the imports of this season in the BPL. Add the improvement of Rock, Hooley and recruitment of Tiger Shayde Qunitrell and you’ve got yourself a very competitive unit.
And the rest…
Adelaide University Griffins
Finished last season: Unknown
Prediction: Mid-table in Div 4 (Men), Mid-table in Div 3 (Women)
Clutch?: John Reichestein (Men), Danielle Bator (Women)
Bolter?: Oliver Sainsbury (Men), Kirsty Tanner (Women)
Rookie?: Kartik Iyer (Men), Yasmin Gill (Women)
The Men: In their top teams they have some strong players that can tear games apart. A club that’s struggled for numbers at different times but when they do play they’ve got some players which can lead their club to victory. Look out for Iyer in the lower divisions as he can play some seriously good basketball.
The Women: Bator is a superstar in their top division team and has some team-mates that support her well. Their 2nd team is very competitive in Division 5 and will challenge some of the top teams with the likes of Emma Reichstein and Yasmin Gill.
Flinders University Phantoms
Coach: David Cornish (Men), Gillian Hendrie (Women)
Finished last season: Unknown (Men), Last in Div 3 (Women)
Prediction: Mid-table in Div 3 (Men), Bottom four in Div 3 (Women)
Clutch?: Alijosva Severinski (Men), Gillian Hendrie (Women)
Bolter?: Donald Kilori (Men), Stacey Huddleston (Women)
Rookie?: Caleb Brown (Men), Chloe Humpheries (Women)
The Men: A very competitive outfit awaits opposition in their 1st team. However they do lack a consistent scoring supply from players outside of Severinski meaning they’ll need to have their defensive unit on-song to grab those wins.
The Women: Competitive but lack a few offensive guns to rise them up the ladder. Hendrie and Huddleston will guarantee that, watch out in the lower divisions for Jacqui Schar as she can hit a clutch basket when her team needs it.
SA Church Stars
Coach: Leighton Boyd (Men), David Burnat (Women)
Finished last season: 2nd in Division 3 (Men), 2nd in Division 3 (Women)
Prediction: 1st in Division 4 (Men), 1st in Division 4 (Women)
Clutch?: Nathan Rice (Men), Melissa Bode (Women)
Bolter?: Leighton Boyd (Men), Emma Boyle (Women)
Rookie?: Daniel Clark (Men), Holly Trueack (Women)
The Men: Excitement is brewing down at the Stars as the men chase the clubs first title since its rebuild in the 00s. The growing club has solid depth across the top team with the likes of John Chambers, Adrian Werner and Wade Kelly are led from the front by general player coach Boyd. Watch out in the 2nd team for the likes of James Gordon and Calvin Logan as a much more gelled organised unit takes the floor.
The Women: The loss of Jess Nolan to the Panthers Reserves and BPL team shouldn’t dampen the spirits of this competitive unit. They’ve recruited former Eagles/Sabres player Boyle and Eagle Ali Trewartha making them very solid across all areas of the court. The Women could make it a double this season for the culture changed club.
Finished last season: Unknown
Prediction: Top four in Div 4 (Men), Mid-table for Div 4 (Women)
Clutch?: Trent Winstanley (Men), Ashlee Clifford (Women)
Bolter?: Todd Winstanley (Men), Samantha Hulme (Women)
Rookie?: Chad Winstanley (Men), Penny Need (Women)
The Men: Its all about the Winstanley trio for United Districts. The tough competitors make their top teams a hard unit to compete against. They will contest for the top four and be a massive chance to cause some upsets late in the season to fellow competitors.
The Women: Led by Clifford, the Women will be equally as competitive in division 4. However they probably lack the depth with not too many scoring contributors. Watch out for youn gun Penny Need coming through the Youth Division team.
University of South Australia
Coach: Nigel Alexander (Men), Thomas Carroll (Women)
Finished last season: Unknown
Prediction: Top four in Div 3 (Men), Bottom four in Div 3 (Women)
Clutch?: Ben Elliott (Men), Jordan Dickie (Women)
Bolter?: John Kuot (Men), Emma Foreman (Women)
Rookie?: Henry Parsons (Men), Leah Feuerherdt (Women)
The Men: They’ve got two guns in their top team in Elliott and Kuot and that makes them an instant competitor. They have started the season well and will look to pour in plenty of points with good spot shooters. Should challenge for the top four in division three.
The Women: Some powerful opposition may be the downfall for the Womens team. Dickie and Forman will keep the girls competitive most of the year but the other sides just look too strong in a powerful division 3 competition.
Finished last season: Unknown
Prediction: Mid-table in Div 3 (Men), Bottom four in Div 4 (Women)
Clutch?: Simon Bowie (Men), Allie Kulcsar (Women)
Bolter?: Brad Baldacchino (Men), Rebecca McKee (Women)
Rookie?: Corey O’Neill (Men), Emma Thomson (Women)
The Men: The starman “David” Bowie is an out and out shooter and a constant dominating force in the Magic team. Add the inside presence of big giant Joe Kisel and you’ve got a super string unit. In a competitive division three line-up, they can challenge for the top four but there might be too many gun league clubs with strong division three teams.
The Women: Unfortunately there won’t be too much for the Women to cheer for this season. While consistent scorer Kulscar will prop them up, they lack the firepower to challenge the top teams in division four. McKee has come from the Youth division team last season and will be one to watch for the club.