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Big guns in the mix

Justin Marville

Big guns in the mix

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With the first week of the new Premier League basketball season completed, NATION basketball reporter Justin Marville begins a weekly review of the league.
Even in the heyday of the 80s and 90s, can you remember the Premier League featuring so many overseas-born players to the point where it feels like every side has at least one foreign player in its midst?
Well, the arrival of American forward Lance Posey (Warrens) and Bahamian combo guard George Zonicle (Cavs) sure has given the league a more international feel to it, and from the look of their debuts, both look to be solid players with well-defined roles.
It’s not quite the United Nations, but by my count that makes five other countries with a stake in the Premier League now that the United States, England (Andre Lockhart, Andre Boadu), Bahamas, St Lucia (Omari Corbin) and Guyana (too many to count) each has a representative on playoff contenders.
And here we were fooled into thinking that the NBA owns the market on global imports.
• How does the saying go again about being careful for what you wish for? If you’re not really au fait with the adage then be sure to stop and ask anyone in Clapham – at least by season’s end.
Years and years of pinning all of Bulls’ problems on Barry Rock might’ve finally led to the beleaguered head coach taking a break from the game that the fans have long been calling for, but exactly how has this been in Clapham’s favour, again?
Before a ball even bounced, Rock’s exodus was felt throughout the community side as key point guard Rahiim Gibbons (Rock’s son) bolted for St John’s, while star guard Jeremy Gill and fellow starters Mark Foster and Sean Parris have yet to turn up.
Sure Bulls’ season is just one game old, and Clapham just so happened to win that overtime thriller against Warriors, but good luck trying to beat the rest of the league with a three-point first-quarter performance.
Of course teams tend to play down to their competition, however I can’t see how your future could bode well if you also struggle to defend a seven-man Warriors outfit that has but one legitimate scoring threat.
How about replacing Gill, Gibbons, Foster and Parris with Nicholas Jones, Neil Leacock, Richard Layne and Alvin Padmore? Oh that should really go well.
Now that I think about it, maybe Rock was the one who finally got what he wished for.  Go figure.
• Just like everyone else, the season kind of snuck up on me (we’re looking at you, Derrick Garrett), so I never got the chance to do my annual team previews and Nostradamus-like predictions following a stressful election period.
But to ensure that I don’t further rob the basketball public of my prophetic gifts (we’re definitely not looking at you, Peter Wickham) here are my not so pre-season picks for this season.
1. Lakers, 2. Sonics, 3. Cougars, 4. Pinelands, 5. Cavs, 6. Warrens, 7. Bulls, 8. Warriors, 9. Challengers, 10. Tridents.
I have Lakers and Sonics to advance to the finals after beating Pinelands and Cougars in the first round of the playoffs respectively, before Lakers hold on for a classic Game 5 victory over Sonics to win their fourth title in six years.
Challengers will be competitive against the lower half of the league with the additions of Ricardo Toussaint, Jamal Headley and Andre Pierre, but without the services of Alwyn Lovell (injury) this side is staring demotion in the face.
Defending champs Warrens should be in mid table without Peter Alleyne, Pearson Griffith and Kevin Austin, but the playoffs is but a pipe dream in the absence of that veteran trio. All bets are off though if those vets do decide to return for a shot at another title.
I’ve continually flip-flopped between Cavs and Pinelands for that last playoff spot and finally settled on the latter because of the Cavs’ relative inexperience, plus the fact Pinelands would have the two best players on the court in a matchup of the teams.
I was ready to hand Sonics the title after Lakers lost Ricardo Jemmott to Cougars, but I’ve also heard rumours that national forward George Haynes doesn’t plan to return from the US this season thus leaving St John’s one big man short.