Saturday, 12 March 2011

5 days till season opener!

Wow here we are's been almost 2 weeks since my last blog and things have really been flying!

I left off with a "scratch match" AKA scrimmage game against the Mandurah Magic on my last post. Well the game ended up going very well, it was a full 48 minute match (which is a SUPER long game BTW lol), and we didn't have our full squad in action for the day but we came out on the losing end after a great effort by 9 points. So that was a real positive outcome for us to be that competetive against a team that finished in the #9 spot last season without our full team suited up. I personally had around 30pts and 11rebs and it was a good opening impression for me in front of some of our board committee that came to watch. It was a lot of fun to play against Casey too, he played well and has a good team this season. It's gonna be a blast to play almost every game against a good friend, always makes for some good ol' trash talking :)

Last weekend was the "Blitz" tournament in Perth. All the teams from the SBL were there in action and playing 2 games each day. This was going to be our time to showcase that this season was going to be nothing like the last one (1-25 record...ouch). The gym facility we played at is a newly built arena that the Perry Lake Hawks play in for their home games. It was absolutely HUGE! On one side of the building there were 6 full bball courts, 2 X 2 X 2 and on the other side of the building were the 2 main courts (with A/C thank GOD! haha). The game formats for the weekend were 2 twenty minute halves with a running clock, so they went pretty quick and the scores were quite low (like in the 40's or 50's).

We started off our first match against the Geraldton Bucaneers (a final four team last season). The game started off great as we jumped to a 21-10 lead and I personally had 8 quick points. At halftime we were down 2pts. We ended up losing by 20pts. We only scored 6 points as a team in the 2nd half!! Talk about a brainfart haha. BUT we definitely showed that we have the potential to hang with a top team in the league. I finished that game with 12pts and 5rebs.

We then took on the Stirling Senators (usually a middle to bottom of the ladder team). This was a tight game from start to finish but we pulled out a victory by 1 point!!! I was SO happy to just get the "W" hahaha. This was literally only the 2nd "W" the Slammers had seen in quite some time, so I was happy about that. The team went well and our young boys made some nice plays and showed their potential, but there's still a lot of work to be done. I finished that game with 14pts and 6rebs.

The whole team stayed together that night in a hotel and decided to go out for dinner as a group at a restaurant right next door. It was fun to get all the fellas in one spot and get to eat and chill and spend some "team time" together. Our next game was Sunday morning at 9:30AM so I headed back to my room, got ready for bed, chilled and watched some movies on TV. Some of the boys on the other hand wanted to "get on the piss" (drink), even though we had disscussed as a team prior to leaving Bunbury that there would be NO DRINKING (or maybe 2 beers at dinner but that's it) for that weekend. I tell you what, these guys out here LOVE to drink no matter what the situation hahaha. That's going to be one of my missions with these guys while I'm here playing, to get them more serious about preparing for games and saving the partying for afterwards(hopefully after a win!). Thankfully everyone was good and the whole team showed up on time for the early AM game.

Our first game was against the powerhouse Lakeside Lightning. I was excited because my good buddy Ben Beran and also another AIA guy Luke Payne (who i hadn't met yet) play for Lakeside. This is a really good team that always finishes in the top 3 year in and year out. Last season they lost in the championship game by 8pts and the year before that they won the "Ship". So we knew it would be a tough game for us. To my surprise their coach decided to give some of his players a "rest" for their afternoon game so he sat both imports (ben and luke) and also 2 of their really good local guys. Even without their full team they still had a very solid squad and we ended up losing by 2 points. They are going to be a tough one during the season. I finished that game with 12pts and 5rebs.

Our last game of the day and tournament was against the U20 Metro State team (under 20yrs old). Every SBL team had to play at least one game against the U20 squad. I don't think any SBL team had lost to them and you can bet I wasn't gonna let us be the first!! I had watched them play earlier against the East Perth Eagles and my good buddy Colin Matteson(from Seattle and also played in Darwin with me). They were a talented team of young kids and played hard, so I knew it wasn't going to be an "easy win". SBL teams were only winning by 15-20pts at most. This game wasn't easy by any means as we were only up 2 points at half time. I had a good first half and scored 15pts to keep us ahead. We finally took ahold of the game and ended up winning by about 16pts. I had to play the whole 40 minutes due to a few of our guys being "hurt" from previous games, but that's ok as I want to be in premium condition for the long season. I finished that game with 22pts and 8rebs.

Overall it was a really good weekend for us and we finished up with a 2-2 record. I think the coaches and board committee liked what they saw and can see the potential this team has to have a successful season. We now just have to continue to build as the time goes on.

Only 5 days until our season opener against the Rockingham Flame, and a very winnable game might I add as they didn't look to strong at the Blitz tourney. We will see how things go but I'm overly excited to get back on the court and get this club back to winning some games!!

Article from the Bunbury Herald after the weekend games...

I decided to stay that Sunday night up in Perth since I had nothing on Monday to do. So I asked Ben Beran if I could stay with him at his host families house (to just happened to be my old host family from the AIA tour in Perth in 09'). The Weir family is an awesome family to be around and they LOVE the game of basketball. They actually came on Sunday morning to watch us play Lakeside because they are supporters for the Lakeside squad. It was an awesome night as we went over to Jane's (host mum) daughters home to celebrate her husbands Bday. There was a big barbeque and a night filled with Settlers of Catan Seafair Edition (which is a ton of fun as well as the original version). After a late night Ben and I headed back to his house to just lounge for a little while and catch some ESPN (which is now on out here at certain times! It's pretty sweet to get that taste of home.) then we zonked out! Monday consisted of some more settlers and an awesome lunch cookout then it was back to Bunbo aka Bunbury for me :) . The weekend was awesome and I can't wait to have many more with some good bball and fun with the fellas. This really is the perfect situation to have SOOOO many friends in one spot playing the game we all love.

It's pretty cool being the only team in Bunbury because then we get all the "media attention", where as in Perth there are like 10 teams that are all within about 30 minutes of eachother. So last week I did 2 TV interviews, one for GWN7 and the other for WIN TV. It was pretty sweet getting interviewed and the kids loved seeing it on TV. Then as I showed up for my usual bball session at their school they went nuts! Along with the TV we also have the newspaper and radio who all sponsor the Slammers in some fashion. I am currently trying to get a DVD copy of one of the TV interviews to put online so everyone can check it out!! Stay tuned for that!!

Last night we had our "singlet" presentation banquet for both the men's and women's team. It was basically a time for all the sponsors to get to come and mingle with all the players and coaches. It was a good time and I got to meet all the important people who are giving us the money to have a season. So its important now for us to WIN so that the crowds will fill the gym and bring some money in for the sponsors. That's the name of the game....WIN!!!

The new women's import player flew in about a week ago, her name is Lavesa and she's from Miami. She's also living here in the Donovan family house with me. She's a real cool chick and we get along great and have a lot in common. She's already brought some good laughs into the house and should make for more good times! Our other mens import player Nick is suppossed to be getting in on Wednesday, which is awesome! I don't know yet if he'll be able to play on Fridays game because of paperwork stuff yet but we're hoping he can! That will make for almost a full house for the next 5 months, but many good times I'm sure.

On days when we don't have practice I tend to make it down to the beach for a little while to read, relax, and soak in the sun :). BUT only once I've gotten my daily workout in of course! I've quickly found that that "beach time" tends to be my "quiet time", where I can think about life, love, God, basketball, family, etc. The beach here to me is so peaceful and amazing that I always end up lost in my own thoughts. I am so blessed to be here and have this opportunity to play ball and hopefully change some lives along the way with my attitude and influence.

A beautiful beach sunset...

Perfect place for a little R & R

The book I just currently finished is called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. My good friend and old England teammate John Olinger reccommended some books for me to read while out here for the season. If you want to read a good book about faith and where you stand in your current Christian walk then give Crazy Love a try. It is a real "ball buster" in so many ways. It really gets you to take a step back and look at your current life to see how exactly you are living your life for Christ and if not then how are you going to change that. It's challenging in so many good ways. There of course is plenty of encouragement throughout the book as well, as the author Francis admits to having his own "issues" just like anyone else does. It was a great read and I reccommend it to anyone, even those not of the Christian faith or religious at all. It is an eye opener and will help to change your life for the better.

It is the time of Lent now for the next 40 days, and my mom usually always makes us give up something. A sacrifice to the Lord as he has sacrificed so much for us. As I was brainstorming for ideas of meaningful things to give up other than the usual pop, candy, tv, fast food, etc. I found myself coming to a blank... Not that I BY ANY MEANS don't have things that I could give up, its just that I couldn't think of many "meaningful" things that were really a "problem" or major issue for me. I then started to think "why not just make this a time to START some positive habits???" Like reading more (both the Bible and just in general). Giving more of my time to help others around the team and house. Giving more of my money to those who need it more. Giving more verbal encouragement when sometimes I bite my tongue. In the end I think I came up with some good ideas and it'll be a good Lent this year. I am also giving up listening to Rap/Hip Hop music that is particularly crude with language and lyrics (this will be a tough one). You are what you surround yourself by...

As far as updates from back home goes... The house in Lynnwood that my parents were set on buying didn't get the "GO" because of a bad inspection. SOOO now its back to the "house search" drawing board, which I can imagine is a long and stressful process, but we're hoping that sometime pops up soon that will work out as time is closing in for them to move out of our current home! Other than that I don't think that there is too many "new" things going on back home except for the usual day-to-day activities.

I think that about wraps it all up for now! I'm having a blast out here and it's only getting better. I hope everyone is doing well and life is rolling right along. Send prayers out to those in Japan and anyone effected by the tragic earthquake and tsunami. I miss and love you all! Here's some pics and also a video I made of my Bunbury home...

Here is a link of a video that I made of my crib here in Bunbury! Enjoy it haha!

Here's a pic of my new car for the season. I'm calling her "Great White" lol! It only seemed right...

This is where the Donovan family posts pictures of all the exchange students and others who have stayed in their home over the past 2 years.

This is the Donovan fam. Back row left to right- Laticia, Sophie, Bianca. Middle row- Russell and Karen. Front row- Alex and James.

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"

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