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    August 04

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ON THE BALL: The fall of Lakers


Added 25 February 2015


In this week’s edition of On The Ball, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville does a brief preview of the 2015 Co-operators General Insurance Premier League season.

INSIGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, PREDITCITON and the odd rumour-mongering ahead of the season should make it one of the most eventful ones in recent Premier League history.

Biggest storyline: Lakers’ break-up

So yeah, who saw this one coming eh? Only just about any and everyone who remotely follows local ball.

They say winning cures all, so it really is no surprise the decade-long rumblings were so previously well-hidden while Lakers were busy making ten straight post-season, eight finals appearances and four title runs.

But not even the Romulans could cloak something so big forever, and the countdown to doom officially began from the time Andre Lockhart called out head coach Francis Williams in public while deciding to use the media to announce the very messy split.

And that’s the problem right there, because everything else last season played out in the public’s eye and there’s really just no going back after everyone has already seen your dirty laundry.

To recap, Jamar King was clearly seen rooted to the bench despite a clear need to find rest for Keefe Birkett. The whole basketball public pondered how Adrian Allman somehow managed not to get invited to national trials even though Williams served as the chairman of selectors in a season where Allman averaged 15.2 points.

Then, on the biggest local stage, everyone watched as Mark Bridgeman couldn’t get a single minute in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the finals, only to see the talented forward be made a starter on the national team some weeks later.

So one could only conclude that these men would eventually make their way out of Dodge, and wouldn’t you just know all three men opted to take their talents across town to Warrens right along with Lockhart.

Now no team is surrounded by more uncertainty than the league’s model of consistency as no one can fathom what the future will hold for this version of the Husbands men.

If there’s one thing they do know, though, it’s the common denominator in each case. And it so happens to rhyme with Bandis Scilliams.

Most overlooked storyline: The best schoolboy talent still leaving Tridents early.

If I didn’t know any better I’d say it’s almost as if certain clubs are trying to test the council as best they could.

But as I do know better, I’d say it’s almost as if certain clubs put their own interests ahead of basketball’s development.

I mean just days after the association announces a proposal to “encourage” the best juniors to ply their trade for the Tridents programme, then we learn good ole Station Hill has snapped up the three of the team’s top players who still had several years left in their “schoolboy” tenure.

Yup, that’s right, Gang Green is back at it again, with gifted young ballers Anand Joseph-Thorne, Joel Hunte and Antoine Lawrence all heading up the hill for this current top flight season to further strengthen a sure title contender.

But exactly how does this strengthen local basketball when our most talented youngsters are trading big minutes and huge roles for lessened playing time and spots on the bench during a crucial part of their development?

Yet I am almost certain that it’s in these clubs best interest to let the kids mature and improve in the demotion-exempt Tridents team before coming back to them as the more finished product.

However, the argument presented by certain coaches is that the juniors aren’t developing as they should under the schoolboy programme. But how can they if the best of the crop is being picked off before they ripen, thus leaving only the worse of the lot to complete the full Tridents tenure?

Maybe I’m just shooting the gun, though, and all three young guards will play major roles while getting the rare exposure to postseason basketball.

Or maybe they get stuck behind the Cavs’ litany of guards this season, and the BABA knows exactly what it’s doing.


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