The Border Watch : March 20th 2014
30 BASKETBALL Get opportunity to prove themselves in SEABL REVOR ACKSON JA opportunity to prove themselves in SEABL REVOR ACKSON JA email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org MOUNT Gambier’s Pioneers basketball team begins its 2014 ign tomorrow night against Ballarat and some Limestone Coast youngsters will be given the chance to prove themselves. While the majority of last year’s conference-winning squad is still in place, a few new additions will be taking to the court, sure to delight the diehard fans. Kane de Wit, Sam Stafford, Brad Rathjen and Dellon Brown join the line up along with Monyjath Makoi, a young Sudanese lad who has come down from Newcastle, and according to coach Richard Hill they will all be worthy additions to his roster. With a depleted line up due to players still involved in NBL duties and injury Hill will need all the manpower he can muster if his team is to survive the opening round of the competition. Tom Daly is out with an ankle injury, Brad Hill and Ben Allen are both currently playing with Sydney and Erik Burdon is still involved in Perth Wildcats’ finals campaign. So it will be up to the young Mount Gambier players to stand up tomorrow night and Hill said some of them can expect real court time. “Realistically probably three or maybe four of those kids might hit the court Friday night,” Hill said. “Kane de Wit most likely will be a starter for us and that’s really good. “I would expect Sam Stafford and Brad Rathjen will find their way onto the court. VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Youngsters get their chance NEW BLOOD: Four Limestone Coast youngsters and a Sudanese player from Newcastle will bolster the Pioneers’ roster this season and have the chance to prove their worth in the SEABL (from left) Sam Stafford, Dellon Brown, Monyjath Makoi, Brad Rathjen and Kane de Wit. “It is going to be interesting because we will be missing four of our starters. “These kids have been coming along nicely and will probably be thrown to the wolves a little bit.” Hill said he expected de Wit and Stafford to have a big impact on the season. “The other lads have been tied up with state stuff and it has made it difficult for them,” he said. “But we have three of the best kids in South Australia at their age here in Mount Gambier – Kane de Wit, Sam Stafford and Brad Rathjen.” Hill said he felt having good local players in the squad was a part of the Pioneers program that had been missing for some time. “The Pioneers will always be sustainable but it will be much better if we can have a good number of born-and-bred Mount Gambier kids in the team,” he said. “Last year pretty much everybody had to come from elsewhere to play in our team. “Some of those guys have come here and stayed here and become Mount Gambier people, the likes of our captain Matt Sutton, Eric Burdon has been here for four years, Kurt Russell has retired, he came here 10 or 11 years ago and he’s still here in town. “But none of those guys played their junior basketball here so it would be sensational to have some guys who have played their junior basketball here to filter through into our team. “Our fans, while they love the Pioneers, hopefully will be able to identify with them even more so because they have some of their own people in the team.” Long term Hill hopes the players will develop their own games and accepts what he termed the “double edged sword” that comes with developing such talent. “While we work with them to make them better, they may go on to somewhere else and that would be good for Mount Gambier basketball as well,” he said. “Our job is to try to help them get to the top level. “SEABL is a great level but if they can go to college in the US or maybe make it through to the NBL that would be great as well.” Pioneers coach looks to new season with optimism From back page “They are both good basketball teams so we are pretty happy with the way it’s going.” As the team returns to full strength Hill said there is one common focus among the whole squad. “All the guys who have made a commitment to come back want to go one better than last season, but that’s going to be a hard act to play out,” he said. “They have made that commitment and as their coach I am going to give them every chance to actually get there, but it’s a tough competition so we have to wait and see.” Hill said with the main group back on the court it provided a good opportunity to hit the floor running, with most players knowing his system and what he expects. WELCOME ADDITION: Import player Damian Johnson has been a welcome addition to the Pioneers’ roster, both on and off the court. 30 - The Border Watch, Thursday, March 20, 2014 He said the addition of Johnson appeared to have been a good move at this stage, not just for his playing ability but for how he has fitted into the group overall. “We are lucky because I figured he was going to be a good player, but he is just as good a guy which is crucial for the chemistry in the group,” Hill said. “You never really know until you get people here in your own environment, so he certainly helps us from that point of view as well. “The young guys are going to learn from these guys, good guys who know STARTER: Pioneers’ coach Richard Hill expects Mount Gambier youngster Kane de Wit to start the first game of the SEABL season at the Icehouse tomorrow night against Ballarat. Pictures: TREVOR JACKSON how to work hard and know how to play the game the right way.” On paper the Pioneers should struggle in the season opener but Hill isn’t too worried about that. “Even though we have been undermanned in the pre-season I’m going into the game feeling confident because of the way we are going about it,” he said. The Pioneers’ season tips off tomorrow at 8pm at the Icehouse. SOLID START: Pioneers’ coach Richard Hill said Matt Sutton has been in good touch throughout the pre season competitions.
March 19th 2014
March 21st 2014