The Courtside Collective

Exclusive TCC/Intrepid Competition!

The Courtside Collective have teamed up with Intrepid Sportswear to bring all of our readers the chance to win some exclusive EBC Rucker Park Basketball Uniforms! Read below for details on how you can enter this fantastic competition!

One of the exclusive EBC Uniforms that is up for grabs!


Intrepid Sportswear is now in operation here in Ireland delivering American style, pro quality Basketball uniforms at all-inclusive pricing to clubs, schools and colleges throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe.

To celebrate the opening of the European office we are offering two people the chance to win one of our basketball kits that were custom-designed and supplied to this year’s Entertainers Basketball Classic held at the iconic Harlem outdoor basketball court Rucker Park in New York.

The famous Streetball league has hosted some of basketball’s greatest stars including Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant, plus this year the Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans.

“Landing something like the EBC lends an urban credibility to our brand,” said Rob Grabow, founder of Intrepid Sportswear. “The history, culture, and stories engrained in Rucker Park and the EBC make it one of the biggest draws in the world for anyone with a passion for the game of basketball.”

All you have to do to win one these Intrepid uniforms is log on to the Intrepid Sportswear Facebook page, hit the ‘Like’ button and post a comment our banner photo of the EBC uniforms to let us know which current or past NBA player would make the ultimate Streetball player and why.

Intrepid Sportswear and The Courtside Collective will vote on which answer has the most street cred and post the winners on this site. The closing date for entries is 11th June.

 For more information on Intrepid uniforms for your club, school or college please email



The NBA before the All-Star Game: what do we know?

The NBA breaks this weekend for its annual All-Star game, a game which TCC was fortunate enough to attend last year in Houston.  The All-Star Game, while lacking in the intensity of some regular season games, does allow the best players to showcase their skills and, in some cases, network with their fellow players in a more cordial environment than the “heat of battle” of the regular season.

It also allows us pause for reflection of the first few months of the season and take stock of where we are, particularly looking ahead to the end of the season and the playoffs.  Here are a few of my own observations and thoughts about what has gone on over the past few weeks:

The East is AWFUL: The Eastern Conference is truly playing up to the old “Leastern Conference” moniker.  Four teams are over .500 at the moment: Miami, Atlanta, Toronto (!) and Indiana.  The Bulls and Wizards are only a game under .500 as well.  That means a team with a sub-.500 record will almost certainly get into the playoffs again, where they will likely get smashed by Indiana or Miami.  Milwaukee haven’t even won a tenth game yet.  They are over 30 games back but have only played 50.  Now a lot of teams have both eyes firmly on the upcoming draft class, with Joel Embiid now becoming a likely contender for the 1st overall pick – if he chooses to declare for the draft, which isn’t a given. Teams like New York, however, were not tanking for the 1st overall pick.  They just suck.  Brooklyn have improved somewhat in recent weeks, but the fact remains that they feature a bunch of guys over 30 years old and have a head coach who has no coaching experience.  Without Brook Lopez, it’s hard to see what will surely be Kevin Garnett’s last season ending in anything other than mediocrity.  The fact that Washington, who were so desperate they gave John Wall a max contract, are tied for 5th in the conference says everything.  Incidentally, keep an eye on Washington over the next couple of seasons.  In this sort of conference, they could become a playoff team very easily.

Indiana signing Bynum instals them as favorites: I can’t believe that Miami have seen enough from Greg Oden to make them think he gives them what they need so they have the best chance to beat the Pacers in the playoffs.  After he was unceremoniously dumped by the Cavaliers, I expected Andrew Bynum to be on his way to South Beach if for no other reason that to give the Heat a proper big man to battle Roy Hibbert, who tends to save his best performances against the relatively undersized Heat.  Their last meeting in mid December saw Hibbert in foul trouble and finish with 6 points and 2 rebounds.  With Hibbert out of the equation, the Heat will of course be contenders to beat Indiana in just about any given game, but they cannot expect him to be as ineffective for an entire series.  I seriously doubt that Oden is the guy to stop him, as heartening as it is to see him back playing and playing relatively well.  Unless Miami makes a move before the trade deadline, which I find hard to believe will happen, Indiana are strong favorites to win the East.  They have only lost 2 games at home so far this season.  Only OKC has a similar dominance in their own building.  And, of course, Miami.

The Heat might be coasting, but they are still playing very well: The third year of an attempted three-peat is notoriously tough on players.  The Heat were quite an old team last year, particularly guys like Shane Battier and Ray Allen. Dwyane Wade is not as old, but has serious issues with his knees that have limited him to 36 games out of a possible 49 so far this season.  How will he fare once the season extends to the playoffs?  LeBron has been more or less flat out, but that’s been true for a few seasons now.  The issue of his potential burnout must surely concern the Heat management.  He has, of course, shown no signs of this, but the possibility exists nonetheless.  Despite taking things relatively easy, the Heat are still the second best team in the East by ten games.  Unless something goes disastrously wrong, they should take the East’s 2 seed easily.  Their foes of last season, Chicago, are clearly in the process of rebuilding in the hope that Derrick Rose comes back stronger next season after another year of knee trouble.  That just leaves Indiana in their path towards a fourth consecutive finals appearance.

The Suns are playing out of their minds: There is no good reason for the Suns to be the sixth best team in the Western conference at the moment.  They have four first round picks for the upcoming draft and everyone thought they were going to play out this season and try to rebuild next year.  Instead, driven by the excellent Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe along with a cast of impressive role players, Jeff Hornacek’s team have been on a tear which saw them beat the heavily-fancied Indiana Pacers twice.  Whether or not they decide to trade away some of those picks for experienced players in bad situations (Pau Gasol has been mooted, Kevin Love is another name that makes sense for both parties) or if they keep them and go for a really young team next season remains to be seen but the Suns are fun again and it happened much quicker than anyone expected.

Kevin Durant is a really good basketball player: Paging Captain Obvious.  Captain Obvious to the lobby.  Look, KD has just claimed his 31st 30 point game of the season against the Knicks.  It was also his 7th 40 point game of the season.  He’s the top scorer in the NBA and he’s also the NBA’s best scorer.  It’s not even close.  Nothing he does looks forced.  Everything looks like a good shot.  Durant is probably the leading candidate for MVP and with his OKC Thunder sitting with the league’s best record without the now-long-departed James Harden and the currently injured Russell Westbrook, he is a deserving candidate.  Other guys have of course stepped up in Westbrook’s absence, but this is mostly about Durant.  He’s not the best player in the league, for my money, though.  The way LeBron makes his entire team better eclipses Durant who is more of a lead-by-example guy.  We shouldn’t get too bogged down in the LeBron vs Durant debate just yet, though.  Let’s just enjoy having these two incredible players in the prime at the same time.  As long as they remain in opposing conferences, we could be in for years of classic NBA finals.

Cleveland is a disaster: If you didn’t already read it, read this link.  Luol Deng, traded to Cleveland in a salary dump, has reportedly told a confidante (might want to rethink who you talk to in future, Lu) that the Cavaliers have serious, almost endemic, problems with professionalism throughout the organization.  In LeBron’s final season in Cleveland, the Cavs won 61 games.  They have only just won 61 games since LeBron left.  No names were named in the reports based on Deng’s comments, but it seems that Dion Waiters is a big problem.  No criticism was leveled at Kyrie Irving, the current franchise player, but if anyone is likely to be the one making demands that could challenge Coach Mike Brown’s authority from within the playing squad, it could only be Irving.  Reporters claim that when LeBron was in Cleveland, he was more or less allowed to do as he wished and it has been speculated that this institutional culture has persisted since LeBron’s departure.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that whatever LeBron decides to do this offseason, he is not going to re-sign for the Cavaliers.  Dan Gilbert has a lot of work to do to sort out this mess.  He should start by trading Anderson Varejao to a better team.

Andrew Wiggins is not going to be a stud in the NBA next season: Wiggins was much fancied as the number 1 overall a couple of months ago, but a series of indifferent performances at Kansas and the fact that his team-mate Joel Embiid has overtaken him as the predicted first overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft despite recent comments that he (Embiid) would consider playing at least another year in college to develop his game – Embiid has only played organised basketball for a couple of years – have dropped Wiggins’ chances of being an NBA stud next season to average.  He might well be a one-and-done, but Wiggins has proven to anyone who has seen him this season that at least one more year of college would be really good for him.  I already wrote about the issue of “one and done” players and the list of guys who did not work out at the professional level is extensive when compared to those that did.  Wiggins is not ready for the NBA and a couple of months won’t change that.  Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are probably ready and will probably enter the next draft – Randle almost definitely as no player worth his salt seems to want to stay at Kentucky for more than one season.  Charles Barkley recently spoke on sports radio and said that the NBA should change its rules to force players to stay in school for at least two years, which makes a lot of sense.  This sort of rule would protect talented players like Wiggins who lack the strength, both physical and mental, for the NBA challenge at such a young age.

The Lakers: Anyone see their 4 legal men beat Cleveland the other day?  Unreal.  Forty year old Steve Nash is working his way back after nerve issues ruled him out for the start of 2014.  Thousand year old Chris Kaman was asleep on the bench like a student during finals.  Ryan Kelly (remember that awkward but talented gunner for Duke last season?) has been one of LA’s best players in recent weeks.  They needed to invoke a practically unknown NBA rule to allow Robert Sacre to finish the Cleveland game despite having 6 fouls.  Kobe is due to come back from his “not as serious” knee injury soon, and lets face it, he probably will come back regardless of how good an idea it is.  Pau Gasol is injured and has been linked with a trade to Phoenix, but his injury will keep him out until after the trade deadline, so Phoenix will have no idea how ready to play he is if/when they do trade for him.  Things are a bit messy for the Lakers and the Clippers playing relatively well without Chris Paul doesn’t help.  They’ve written off the majority of their salary cap for next season to re-sign Kobe, so while they do have the money to make a run at an opt-out-free-agent like LeBron or Carmelo Anthony, they lack anything like the resources to put a decent team around Kobe and his new apprentice.  A couple of creative trades might be the only way out of this.  Dr Buss must be rolling in his grave.

New proposal addresses player eligibility of Non-EU residents

BREAKING NEWS: Basketball Ireland has notified clubs of a significant proposal from the Senior Games Management Board (SGMB) that would change the game for all. The proposal would create a new category of player (2A) that would allow players who are studying or working in Ireland (non-professional athletes) to compete in the recently re-branded Basketball League of Ireland.


Dear Clubs,

Please see below in relation to the proposed changes to the regulations for the Senior Men’s Game 2013-2014.

The SGMB are seeking the club’s views on the proposed changes as outlined in Items 1 & 2 via email by close of business Wednesday 7th August. Item 3 Work Permits is for information purposes for teams in the Premier League and should be a big help in resolving the difficulties in obtaining a Work Permit.

1. Proposed: Alteration to Category 2.

A new Category 2A player category be created for Non EU/EEA students or Non EU/EEA workers, who are resident in the island of Ireland . A team shall be allowed have one Category 2 and one Category 2A on court at any one time or two Category 2A on court at any one time(a team shall not be allowed two Category 2 players on court at the same time). A maximum of two players from these categories will be permitted to be on the scoresheet for any game.

Basketball Ireland

Last year, TCC’s Andrew Sanders tackled the issue of eligibility in an in-depth article that featured an interview with one of Ireland’s premier American basketball stars, Jermaine Turner, who settled in Ireland after meeting his wife, Leesa. Turner, a longstanding player for Killester in Dublin, has been forced to play as an Category 2 player on-court despite being a resident in Ireland for over a decade. The list goes on…. Check the article out here for more.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that this proposal will help the game or hurt it?

Start the discussion below and let’s help keep the spotlight on this important issue!

Turner looks on during a time-out

Turner looks on during a time-out during a game early last season (2012-2013)

Ireland U16 Squad Teaches Local Hoopers a Lesson (or Two)

When Tony McGaharan asked me to play in a pick-up game against the Ireland U-16 team, I said sure. It would be a nice practice for TCC’s Wingfoot Summer League, and we’d probably beat up on some kids in the process, no big deal.

Ireland U16 2013

Kelleher’s team were well drilled

Except, not so much. First of all, the players were plenty big. When I showed up to St. Malachy’s College on Saturday, July 6, with Tony and his brother, I knew I had gotten myself into something more serious than I had anticipated. The youngsters sported their flashy green uniforms and warmed up seriously with their coach, Paul Kelleher, barking instructions. A pile of blue jerseys awaited my team, a last-minute, pieced-together group of out-of-shape, Belfast-adult hoopers.

The green jerseys played with great organisation. For the forty minutes, the U-16s proceeded to teach us lesson after lesson, executing with great precision all the different aspects of the game: screening, moving, passing, aggressive defence, fast-breaking, and shooting. Boy, did they shoot. It seems like at any given time, they had three or four guys on the floor who were capable of knocking the three-point shot down with consistency. I came away impressed with the degree to which each player seemed to understand his role on the floor.

Ireland U16 Challenge Team Belfast 2013

Not sure why we were smiling with the final score in the backdrop….
(L-R- Back Row: Ben Horner, Conor McQuillan, Mark Galway, Paddy McGaharan, Chris Schumerth… Front: Tony McGaharan, Gerard Ryan, Stephen Fox)

My team, on the other hand, tried desperately to come up with any sort of offensive or defensive strategy. With the game being played at a much quicker pace than our summer league, we were peeling over and sucking air by the time the first quarter ended. Our opponents were in potentially the peak physical condition of their lives, after all. After an unnecessary buzzer-beating layup, the Ireland team went on to win the game 97-67. By then, we were just glad for the workout and that the beat-down was over.

“When they work hard, everything else becomes easier,” Kelleher said after the exhibition win.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ireland U-16s, they pull from both Ireland and Northern Ireland, and they’ve been playing together since October of 2011. They split their practices between the places — Cork, Dublin, Belfast — from which they draw players. Right now, they’re training three times a week, but those days can include as much as six hours on the court.

Over the course of the next month, the team will travel to places like Luxembourg and Portugal, as well as play in a tournament in Cork and even take on an American Athletic Union (AAU) team from the United States. The build-up is toward the European Championships in Bosnia, where the Ireland group will play eight games in the B Division starting on August 18.

Wingfoot Summer League 2013

Wingfoot Summer League Captains 2013

This past week, TCC held a launch night to reveal the draft picks for the first-ever Wingfoot Summer League. The event was a huge success with around 40 people showing up to receive their T-Shirts and get a photo with their team captain. This year’s team captains (pictured above) are: Sean Wynne (Queen’s), Andrew Dolliver (Queen’s), Michael Campbell (Belfast Stormers), Fearghal Toner (Belfast Star), Mike Calo (Belfast Star), and Paddy McGaharan (Ulster Elks). The event has been organised to help further TCC’s mission ‘to raise the profile of the game of basketball on the Island of Ireland.

This year's teams.

This year’s teams.

The 2013 league format:

4 v 4        |       Games: 40 minutes          |        2 games per night         |         Running subs

•1 minute break between halves
•1x 30 second time-out given to each team
•Clock only stops during dead ball in the final 60 seconds of the second half

The 2013 league rules:

1 Referee         |          2 Table Officials           |         5 personal fouls       |               7 team

Point System:

1 free-throw = 2 points            |                 And1 = 3 points                 |              2’s and 3’s

•Each team must supply a Referee and two Table Officials during games off
•If a team does not comply, then that team will lose a point from the table
Week One:

Week 1 Summer League 2013

Women’s Pick-Up:

Don’t forget every Tuesday there will be Open Pick-Up for Women who have signed up! We will be offering a pay per session rate (£4) for the two- hours but we will cap the numbers at 16, with preference going to those players who have signed up for the entire programme. So, get down early to ensure you get a good run!

Details of the League & Pick-Up:

Queen’s PEC            |          Men’s League :   7pm – 9.30pm          |        Women’s Pick-Up:   7pm – 9pm

1. Tuesday, 2 July 2013

2. Tuesday, 9 July 2013

3. Tuesday, 16 July 2013

4. Tuesday, 23 July 2013

5. Monday 29 July 2013

6. Tuesday, 13 August 2013

7. Tuesday, 20 August 2013

8. Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Special Thanks:

We would like to thank our sponsors, Wingfoot, for supplying us with tremendously high quality gear for this league. Wingfoot will also be presenting the winners of the league with exclusive Wingfoot/TCC long-sleeve shooting shirts!

Wingfoot Authentic

2012-2013 NBA Finals Preview

The San Antonio Spurs finally found out who they will face in the NBA Finals when the Miami Heat overcame the Indiana Pacers at the end of a grueling but enthralling series that went the full distance.


Haslem and Duncan will meet again


There is a lot on the line in this best-of-seven series, and not just the honour of becoming NBA Champions.  The two teams, along the the LA Lakers, have been the mainstays of the NBA finals: since 1998 one of the three teams has been involved in each and every finals series.

Both sides have won all their championships in recent memory: San Antonio has four championships from 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.  Meanwhile Miami won in 2006 and 2012.  The last time the Spurs won the title, it was when they swept LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Spurs version of the “big three” have won all three of their most recent titles, but, incredibly, Tim Duncan and Coach Popovich have the opportunity to win titles together fourteen years apart, testament to the longevity of either man but particularly to that of Duncan who, at 37, has managed to revive his career that seemed on the wane as recently as three years ago.


Young Timmy


Timmy has played 190 playoff games, on top of 1170 regular season games.  Then, you have to remember, he also played four years in college.  He averages 20 and 11 for his career, 22 and 12 in the playoffs.

There is no doubt that the Spurs-Heat is an interesting clash of styles.  Whereas Indiana have relied on their big men, much as the Spurs do with Duncan at least, Miami have no real big men.  Thiago Splitter has worked his way into the San Antonio lineup to the extent that few people even remember that DeJuan Blair even exists.  San Antonio has speed in the form of Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard and then their x-factor: Manu Ginobili.  It is perhaps a forgotten reality that Ginobili missed a quarter of this season through injury, such has been his return to form since his return from injury.

On the other hand, the Heat have been somewhat hobbled by injuries over the past weeks.  The most notable injured party has been Dwyane Wade, whose knee issues are well known and perhaps more hobbling than he would like to admit.  He has been joined on the treatment table by Chris Bosh, who has hardly been in the sort of form (16 points, 7 rebounds) a game that are likely to trouble the Spurs too much, particularly as he is the biggest player on the Heat.

The thing is that Chris Bosh seems to like playing against San Antonio.


Bosh beats the Spurs in their last meeting


Bosh led a LeBron and Wade-less Heat to victory over the Spurs back in March, scoring 23 points.  He’s scored 30 on San Antonio twice as a Heat player, twice more as a Raptor.  Since 2010, he’s never scored less than 17 against them.

Then you have the juggernaut that is LeBron James.  We don’t really need to say too much more about him.  He’s playing at a transcendent level.

Dwyane Wade is, for me, the key to this series.  If he plays like he did against Indiana in game 7, no question in my mind that Miami will win.  On the other hand, if he plays like he did against Indiana in game 6, no question that San Antonio wins.


Wade and Manu


First game is Thursday night at 8pm central time (that’s 2am UK time).  Get the coffee on!

TCC Talks with Miami Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra

Over the course of All-Star Weekend, The Courtside Collective (TCC) spoke with, among others, Eric Spoelstra. Spoelstra coaches the Miami Heat, including the Big Three of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Spoelstra combined with the trio to lead the Heat to the NBA Championship last June. On a quest to repeat, the Heat are off to a 37-14 record in 2012-2013, good for first place in the Southeast Division.

Coach Spo was a real gentleman and mentioned that he has Irish roots

Coach Spo was a real gentleman and mentioned that he has Irish roots

TCC asked Spoelstra about his experiences working with video early on in his career. Spoelstra admitted that he had experience working with several facets of the game, including video but also scouting, preparation, and player development. He also credited Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy as a few of his influential teachers along the way.

About a potential visit to Ireland, a place to which his family ancestry has ties, Spoelstra had this to say:  “My dad would love that. He and I never pass up a good Irish beer.”

Maya Moore Excited for Olympics in London 2012

Maya Moore was the MVP of Team USA’s victory over GB on Wednesday night and anyone that watched the game will have witnessed what an all round polished game the young Minnesota Lynx  player has. GB got out to fast start and built up an 11 point lead but when Moore came off the bench she helped spark a 23-0 USA run to take control of the game. What was most impressive was the variety of ways in which she was able to effect the game; smothering on the ball defense, creating her own space and knocking down jumpers, getting to the rim, steals, rebounds and some flashy assists when attacking off the dribble. USA never looked back and despite a brave effort by GB won the game comfortably enough. The day after the game TCC headed to the USA practice and caught up with Maya to ask her about the game, the USA team heading to the Olympics and what it is like playing for coach Geno Auriemma for UConn and the USA. Check below for the video.

Maya Moore at Team USA Practice

Maya Moore at Team USA Practice

Maya Moore is the youngest member on the Team USA roster heading into the Olympics and is one of the most talented players in the squad. The 2011 WNBA rookie of the year is arguably one of the best female college players of all-time, leading the UConn Huskies to an incredible 114-2 record over her three years at the school. UConn went a perfect 78-0 in her final two years at the school capturing back to back NCAA championships. In her first season in the WNBA she helped lead the Lynx to the WNBA title – the first number one pick to do so and now she is looking to become art of a select club of players to win an Olympic gold, NCAA and WNBA Championships.

Streetball – 3v3 Tournament

This Saturday will see the return of 3v3 Streetball to the Belfast city centre. It promises to be a great event with some seriously ridiculously talented dunkers on display, including the current Polish freestyle dunk champion, Lipinski [see video below]. There are cash prizes for the top 2 teams! First place will take home £100 while second place wins a nice clean £50. Other prizes include a Segway Tour around Belfast for 2. DJ Hix, from CoolFM, will be spinning tunes the whole day and, with other urban sports taking place, there will be a great vibe under the M3 flyover bridge this Saturday afternoon.

Redbull are sponsors of the event and will be giving away free drinks!

There are currently only 7 more spots remaining for the 3v3 tournament. Get your players, register here (£20 per team) and make sure you’re a part of the only Streetball tournament of the year. You may also register on the day before 12.30pm. The first games are scheduled to take place at 1pm with the finals taking place after the official opening ceremony at 3pm, with appearances from the First Minister, Peter Robinson, and MLA’s Naomi Long, Alliance, and Alex Maskey, Sinn Fein.

For more details on what else will be happening at the event, visit the Street eXperience website. 


The Courtside Collective are proud to support this upcoming event and will be on site to provide players with free ESPN caps. We will also be giving out spot prizes to the best plays of the day.

Mention The Courtside Collective and save 25% on the team registration and enter the tournament for £15.

Segway tours around Belfast... Nice.


Polish Association Northern Ireland and Belfast Hussars cordially invite basketball players across Northern Ireland to take part in the 3v3 outdoor streetball tournament which will take place in Belfast on 12 May 2012 during the Street Experience Festival.

This will be the first time a streetball tournament will be located in one of the most urban areas of Belfast –  under the M3 flyover at the junction of Little Patrick Street and Corporation Street.

The final game of the tournament will be powered by a showcase of the current Polish freestyle dunk champion Michal LipkaLipinski and his “Speedballin” crew.

Each team can register up to 5 players. Please enroll your team via online registration. Registration fee per team is £20. The number of teams is limited to 18.

In the past decade, sports like skateboarding, BMX, streetball together with street culture including street art, breakdance and hip hop have become increasingly popular among young people in Europe, much like the fast-growing urban sports community in Belfast. Street eXperience Day provides the perfect opportunity to present and share the street culture from a different perspective and to demonstrate that people from different countries and backgrounds share the same hobbies and passions.

The Street eXperience day is a part of the VI Polish Cultural Week and No More Traffik on Our Streets Campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking in Northern Ireland.

Join Street eXperience Day page on Facebook!!

For more information, please contact Maciek at 07930476649.