Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Season is officially over....13 days till take off!!

Since my last post we've played two games, I'll start with last Tuesday against the 5th place Lightning. This was a team that was finally starting to play really well and had won the last two games they played before us, beating teams that they had never beaten before. They were already out of the playoff hunt but were finally clicking as a team and looking to hurt some records. We came into the game a little over confident and didn't come out to a great start. We were only up by about 2 at halftime. I had already scored 15pts and was feeling in a pretty good rhythm. It wasn't until about the end of the third quarter where we finally kicked into gear and took the game over. We ended up winning by 17pts I believe and that was our last regular season game. I finished with 27pts and a career high 32rebounds!!!

Now it was on to the playoffs and if you lost from this point on you were DONE! We ended the regular season in 3rd place so we were to play the 4th place team in a knockout game, winner moves on. That team would be the Warriors, a team that has added an import each time we've played them. During the course of the season we beat them 3 out of 4 games, losing the last game when they reached a total of 4 American imports to our 2. We knew this game was going to be very tough and hard fought as they are also a very scrappy team. We started off in a FUNK and ended up down by about 16pts at halftime. Once the 3rd quarter hit I knew we needed some energy and after a big dunk and backboard slap (by yours truly) down the middle of the key, it was ON! We quickly made a run back into the game and pulled the deficit to 2 points going into the fourth quarter. It was a grudge match from there on out, back and forth. We had 3 different occasions tie the game or take the lead within the last 2 minutes, but struggled to make free throws....It's a sad thing when it comes down to free throws and you lose a season ending game. It wasn't me though, it was one of our local players and he just couldn't pull through for us this time. We ended up losing by 3 pts in the closing seconds. I didn't get as many shots as usual because they played in a zone defense all game and we didn't move the ball very well. I only finished with 14pts and 7rebs.

Overall I had a really good season here in Darwin and averaged 23.4points, 14.8rebounds, 2.1assists and 1 block per game. All of these statistics are season highs for me and I look to build on them as I progress in my professional career. I am very happy with the way things turned out and feel like we grew as a team over the length of the season and I grew as a player and a leader as well. I wish the best to these guys out here for future seasons and you never know if maybe I'll make it back up north to play in the NT again..??? The Eagles club has been amazing to play for! I've felt like part of a family while here in Darwin and I've got to say that it's made me feel very comfortable and at ease in order to do my job on the court. I wouldn't of wanted it any other way! Much love to everyone here in Darwin, ESPECIALLY momma Donna!

Things at work have been rolling right along as usual. My U.G.L.Y. fundraiser has really started to take off! We're now at $1,300 after a few friendly donations and we still have another 6 days until all the money has to be turned in. I have a big raffle set up for Friday night where we are going to auction off a XXXX (brand of beer) keg that I got donated for free. That alone should bring in a few hundred dollars. I think we should be able hit around $1,500-1,700 dollars by the 1st of December, well above and beyond our original goal of a $1,000. I'm happy that I've been able to be a part of this project as I have some very close people in my life that suffer from cancer each and everyday. It's been a fun experience wearing my UGLY t-shirt at work everyday and getting to hear all of the funny remarks from the customers. I've also enjoyed the conversations with customers about what has happened in their lives that has lead them to donate to the cause. Overall it's been a humbling experience to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation. It truly feels good to give.

As far as my last 2 weeks go here in Australia, it should be pretty busy. I have worked scheduled until the 5th, but I may be heading to Perth for a little meet and greet with my new team and management (but nothing is for sure yet...). I still haven't signed any paperwork yet, but that should all be taken care of by the end of this week. There were some things that needed to be added to the original version once we (my agent and myself) received it last week. I am really excited to get home and take about a week off from bball then get right back on the GRIND and prepare myself for this next season in Perth!!!

Our team presentation and end of the year party is this Saturday night and should be a lot of fun. I think they will be handing out some awards and we'll just be able to eat, dance and hang out as a group. Should be a good time!

Other than work for this last 2 weeks I have still have my 3 schools that I've been going to for the last 6 weeks to finish up. I've had a good time with the kids and it's once again taught me a lot about what to be ready for one day when I have mine hahahaha. I've always thought about one day coaching and it still creeps into my head every now and then, especially after I get to spend a certain amount of time with a group of kids and they grow on me. I guess I'll always consider coaching as a career after I'm done playing since I'm sure I'll still want to be around the game of basketball as long as I'm still living. Who knows, but as for now I'm fine with just having to deal with the kids for an hour a week hahaha! MAN they can be a handful!

I think that's about for now and I'm not sure if I'll have another post or not for the time being, BUTTTTTTTTTTTTT I'll probably do one more before we take off outa here. So until then, best wishes to all my people back home and other friends in other countries balling. I can't wait to be back in the beautiful Northwest and some COLD weather!

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!! I'm definitely gonna miss eating all that goooooooooood food and taking several naps throughout the day.... I hope everyone gets to enjoy the day with some family!

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday Service...A new contract for the 2011 season...and 23 days until homebound!!

So it's been about 2 weeks since my last post and a TON has happened, i'm just hoping that I can remember it all as I write this hahah!

I guess I'll start of by saying that I was offered a contract last week by the East Perth Eagles of the SBL (state basketball league) in WA (western Australia) Perth!! I am suppossed to receive the paperwork early this week to sign and all will be set in stone!! I am SUPER excited as it was my goal to have a contract lined up before leaving Darwin to head home for Christmas, and sure enough I achieved it!! I can't be more thankful for yet another blessing in my bball career, it's a crazy business to be in but I love every moment of it! Nothing like a Christmas present to yourself :). All the hard work I've put in this past year is really paying off and deals are starting to fly in at me left and right! So needless to say I'll be returning to Australia February 19th for pre-season training with my new squad!!

I am also super pumped that about 3-6 AIA (athletes in action) guys will be in Perth playing ball as well for other teams!!! There was a good group of guys out there this past season and I know they had a blast all getting together for church and bible studies every so often. I'm really looking forward to that situation and being able to grow spiritually with some other ballers. The last situation I had like that was in England with Johny O. and I miss that a lot. It's been tough at times out here w/o anyone to push me to stay on track and further my walk with God, so I'm really excited about that!!

On to other news....

We played last Tuesday against the TV Jets and ended up winning by about 25pts. It was a game that sealed us in 3rd place for the playoffs! I had 24pts and 14rebs. So from that point on it doesn't matter how we do the last 2 games of the regular season, ALTHOUGH of course we want to win every game and get in a good rythm as a team going into the playoffs. So last night we had our final Saturday game of the regular season. We played against the Rebels who are currently tied for 1st place and are a tough team, although they are not deep off the bench at all. It was a battle and we made a great run in the 4th quarter to cut their lead to 6 but couldn't pull out the victory. We ended up losing by 9 points, but hopefully we will get another shot at them for the championship game... I finished with 21pts and 13rebs. Now we have our final game on Tuesday against the Lightning who we have already beaten 2 or 3 times. Then it's on to the first round of the playoffs the following Tuesday. I'm excited to see how things pan out, I think our guys will be ready to roll.

In our game last Tuesday I took an elbow to the face and got my lower lip busted open through my tooth!!! I ended up playing the rest of the game, but had to go get 3 stitches later that night at the ER hahaha. It actually didn't hurt as bad as you think it would... Anyway I've got them in for a week then I'll get them taken out. Might have a nice little scar for that one :)

Work has been pretty busy actually. I'm getting 4-5 days a week and it's keeping me busy passing the time. I've decided to work up until the 6th of December, right before I take off. My U.G.L.Y. fundraiser is still going very well and we're currently up to $640, almost to our $1000 goal! I still have until December 1st to get all my funds raised and turned in to be eligible to win the contest, so we're making good progress.

The schools I've been working at weekly have been going well and I'm having fun teaching them some new things. It's always a challenge to get 25-30 kids to focus for a whole hour but that's part of the fun of it all haha. Every time I'm around the kids it makes me think about when I have kids how crazy the whole journey is gonna be! Being a parent must be quite the experience... It's definitely a FULL time job hahaha. I'm looking forward to it, let's just say that (although I have no plans anytime soon to be a Dad so get that mixed up haha!).

I finally made it into a church for a service today!! It's been WAYYYYY to long and it felt nice to be back in it again (even though I do online services every week, it's just not the same). I went to a christian church just a few minutes from our house and it was a small but nice play to worship and get my Jesus time in. I'll definitely be there for my last few Sundays I have left!!

As you can tell from the title there's 23 days and counting until I touch down in SeaTown and I can't express to you how excited I am to be coming home!!! It's more than ever before when I've been out of the country... Although I must say that I am going to miss being here in Darwin. It really feels like home here and a big reason for that is Momma Donna. She has made this situation here feel just like home! I've been treated and loved like a son and can't express how much I appreciate that. I'm definitely planning up something nice for her before I leave! I've really been lucky to make some nice friends while I've spent my time on the road the past 5-6 months. I couldn't be any more happy for the past 2 contracts I've had. This is just the beginning of my career in Australia though!!

I often catch myself thinking while at work or on the way to the bus stop or while getting shots up at the gym. I really am truely blessed to be able to do what I do and travel and see the world. I know I am missing things back home, but honestly every time I come back not much has really "changed". People are usually still doing the "same old" things and still working at the same old jobs. So as much as I sometimes think about hanging up the shoes for the "real world" again I usually quickly correct myself and remember how lucky I am to be doing what I do . There's a bunch of guys who would love to be in my position and "trade" lives... I always end up talking to old teammates and all they ever say is "keep playing until you can't do it anymore!!" I think that's the right advice to give. As much as there are certain things and people back home that I want to be with 24/7 I believe in my heart that God has me doing what I'm doing for a reason. I'm on his path and it just happens to be as a professional bball player, what I always wanted to be...

Well it's going to be another super busy week with 5 days of work and a game on Tuesday night, but I'm sure it'll fly by like it has been. I hope all is going well for those back home and life is treating ya good! I'm thinking about everyone a ton and appreciate all the emails and skype calls that I get weekly, it makes me feel NOT so far from home :). Have a great and uplifting week, catch ya next time!

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"