It really seems like a long time ago that the Houston Rockets were good. It has, however, only been a year since their run past the Dallas Mavericks (4-1), the LA Clippers (4-3, coming back from 3-1 down) led them to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the Olajuwon era (they did make the West semi finals in 2009 behind Tracy McGrady and despite Yao Ming’s injury).
About Andrew Sanders
Andrew was something of a latecomer to the game of basketball, having given up rugby after leaving high school. Joining Edinburgh’s fabled Pentland Tigers, he quickly moved on to the East Lothian Peregrines in the Scottish national league before moving to Belfast where he played with Queens and then with Belfast Star. After a year in the superleague, he moved back to Scotland and played with the Scottish Rocks in the BBL. He “retired” (the McDermott rule for using the word “retire” instead of “stopped playing” does require you to have been paid to play, so technically he retired) and moved to Seattle where he began life as an academic, which currently sees him working at University College Dublin. He is a legitimate non-frontrunning Miami Heat fan, having taken up following the team in 2001.
The draw for the 2015-2016 FIBA EuropeCup was made today and Hibernia could scarcely have come out with a tougher draw. The yet-to-be-seen Irish side will face Czech side Nymburk, Danish team Bakken Bears and Tajfun Sentjur from Slovenia. The Czech and Slovenian sides are the defending champions of their domestic leagues, whilst the Danes were runners up, having won the previous season, and have won the title fourteen times.
Today’s Irish Examiner carries an article detailing a statement from Neptune club chairman Paul Barrett, which reads as follows:
Neptune Basketball Club had entered this year’s Premier League campaign and had committed to the association and the other teams. A lot of work had taken place behind the scenes by our club executive to allow this to happen.
However, with all the off court work done, things changed for the worst this week when Roy Downey decided his future was with Blue Demons BC.
This forced the club executive to revisit the decision to enter the Premier League.
Earlier this year, Basketball Ireland placed an advert on their website, seeking a coach to lead a squad at the Sino-European Men’s Basketball Championships to be held in Kunshan, Jaingsu Province in China in mid-July. Crucially, although the post was voluntary, the cost of the trip was covered by the Chinese Basketball Association.
The NBA draft awaits us this Thursday with seemingly one of the deepest drafts in recent memory awaiting us.
The Minnesota Timberwolves seem likely to select Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall. The Wolves have apparently made former 1st overall pick Anthony Bennett available for trade. The other candidate for 1st overall is Duke big man Jahlil Okafor, with other big names including Latvian seven-footer Kristaps Prozingis, Ohio State’s rangy point guard D’Angelo Russell and Barcelona’s Croatian swingman Mario Hezonja.
Fans of existing books on Irish basketball, such as the history of Neptune or Rus Bradburd’s “Paddy on the Hardwood” will be exited to learn that Belfast Star are publishing a commemorative book as the club celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. A press release issued by the club is copied below, including details of the launch at Belfast Castle this Wednesday!
Thank you so much for everything you have done in the last 12 months. Thank you for the countless millions you have brought back to Northeast Ohio and for having the city of Cleveland talked about daily in countless media outlets. Thank you for making Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov household names.
Summer is here, the Wingfoot Summer League awaits all eager participants and, most importantly, there is no other organized basketball on offer to any of us other than the WNBA. So, while we all wait for the chance to commence preseason hill sprints in Barnett’s Park (I tell you, no coach had me in better shape for a preseason than Darren O’Neill), you might be interested in a bit of summer reading.
The Cleveland Cavaliers finally ran out of gas, despite a JR Smith-led late burst in game 6, and the Golden State Warriors are the 2015 NBA Champions. Looking at the two sides, it really shouldn’t even have been as close as it was. The Cavaliers were ravaged with injuries to key players, notably Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao, while the Warriors had a full roster to select from. The Cavaliers, of course, had the self-professed (and who can really argue with him) “best player in the world” in LeBron James and that was almost enough to win the title. Almost.