It’s hard to believe that TCC has now been up and running for just over a year. The idea for an Irish basketball podcast in the summer of 2011 quickly morphed into an idea for an Irish basketball website and after a few months of brainstorming and planning we were up in running in January of 2012. Even in our most ambitious year one plans we didn’t think we would be speaking to NBA legends like Magic Johnson and NBA superstars such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. However despite our NBA dealings (which set to continue next week with TCC reporting live from the NBA All-Star weekend in Houston.) we are most proud of trying to provide a platform to promote the sport in the Island of Ireland. Our first official TCC event was the 2012 ESPN Northern Ireland All-Star game and it was a huge success with a sell-out crowd at the University of Ulster Jordanstown enjoying the all-star game, three point shoot out and epic dunk contest.
As we have just celebrated our one year anniversary I decided it was time to take a look back at year one to see what were our most popular posts. Let us know what you enjoyed or would like to see more of in the comments below.
It might come as no surprise that the number one post of the year involved a historic two days of basketball that had some of the best male and female players of all time playing on the same team. Team USA came to Manchester to play exhibition games in the run up to the London Olympics and TCC was on the scene to report live from the event. Check the link for all the news videos and pictures from Manchester.
Our second most popular post was the thoughtful piece by Andrew Sanders discussing the situation with Jermaine Turner and his dispute with Basketball Ireland. Once this was published it spread like wildfire through our social media pages and began a nationwide discussion on how the sport regulates non Irish born players.
Next up on the list was our round up of all the action at the first ever Northern Ireland All-Star game, the day was a great success and plans are well underway for the 2013 version of the event.
When our friend at Hoopsfix Sam Neter sent us a video he had made of Barking Abbey rising star Roy Downey we knew it was going to be a hit on the site. The former Neptune player is making a name for himself across the water and this short video shows why.
Following on from Roy Downey another up and coming Irish baller makes the number five spot on our list. Jordan McClelland is one of the top 1996s in the country and his mixtape shows off his fine array of basketball skills.
One of the best days in the BNI calendar, the junior finals day is always full of tension and excitement as a season of hard work comes down to a series of championship games. The 2012 finals day was no different with some amazing games and this round up proved to be popular with our visitors.
Maybe a surprise entry on the list for some but at the time we were one of the first blogs on the scene with this story and received hits from all over the world on this one! If you haven’t seen this yet then you have to check it out – crazy stuff!
Just like the junior finals day the BNI senior finals day also proved to be a popular draw and this picture round up manages to make it into our top 10.
One of the first players to feature on TCC, this profile of 14 year old Queens and St Malachy’s was a hit with readers and Odhrán went on to have a fantastic season, making the 1997 Irish squad and lifting the u16 All-Ireland schools cup with St Malachy’s.
Ryan Hayes’ profile on one of the few Irish born players playing pro ball overseas grabs the last spot in our top 10 countdown. Chris Butler, the former Ballymena Blackstone and Belfast Star player is playing in Luxembourg this year, his six as a professional player.
What is it about the varsities tournament that you love? Is it the basketball? How about the craic? Members of The Courtside Collective have developed a list of 10 reasons why we love the annual tournament. We are already looking forward to next year – who isn’t?
1. Basketball is just the cover story.
2. Student physios
3. Referees who finally make the right call… ‘Taxi’
4. Logging onto Facebook to find you’ve been tagged in 600 photos, all taken by the quiet rookie on your team.
5. “Honestly, I am eligible. I’m doing a part-time bar-tending course.”
6. The Varsity ball – might as well be held in a warehouse with a carryout and an iPod dock.
7. 8-minute quarters… Feels like 10
8. Accidentally watching a ‘B’ league game
9. You’ve made new friends but you won’t remember their name until they add you on Facebook
10. It happens every year
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s), and do not reflect in any way those of the The Courtside Collective of which he/she is a member.
Every year at The Courtside Collective we will be counting down our top 10 BNI plays of the year (that get caught on camera). So whatever local game you’re at – get recording! It can be a play from a game at any level and at the end of the season the TCC team will decide on our Top-10. These plays will go to a public vote with the winning player and the person who filmed the footage winning an exclusive TCC T-Shirt and other goodies.
Here is a short clip of two plays that could be already in the running; Seamus Hickey hitting a high-arcing, buzzer beating three-pointer and North Star’s Bencze Mate with the sweet behind the back pass. Let us know what you think in the comments!