NBL Round 17 Winners & Losers: Ebi Is Back, Holt Heats Up & Randle Goes Down


Ebi Ere

“Allow me to re-introduce myself.” – Ebi Ere, Saturday January 30 2016


Melbourne United & Stephen Holt

This week Melbourne snatched back top spot, completed the toughest task in the NBL (beating Perth in Perth), clinched an important series win over the Wildcats and sent a strong message to the rest of the league.

The man that made it all possible was Stephen Holt, who led United into the battle and through the harsh Western Australian jungle with 33 points, hitting 7-11 from deep.

Holt came up big on endless occasions for United, bursting out of the gate with a barrage of threes – some of which had just a hint of Steph Curry about them – and making plays in overtime.

Pinching a high stakes overtime game in Perth takes balls, poise and serious talent. Melbourne United – and Stephen Holt in particular – proved yet again that they have all three.


Thomas Abercrombie

In order to pass Kirk Penney as New Zealand’s all-time leading scorer, Thomas Abercrombie needed just two points against Townsville on Friday night.

He treated himself to 22.

Kudos to Abercrombie, who has been a fixture with NZ since signing with the Breakers as a twenty-year-old in 2008, and has starred for his hometown team throughout its glorious four title run.


Casey Prather

Perth might’ve lost the game, but Casey Prather stuck his hand up to contribute more often than a mature age student in a group uni assignment.

Few contributions stood out more than Prather’s vicious block on Melbourne centre and noted man mountain Majok Majok.

Prather passed a late fitness test to qualify for action, then brought all kinds of action with a swat so filthy we all need showers just for watching.



Adelaide 36ers

The Adelaide 36ers are losers this week purely due to losing Jerome Randle.

Randle is the best thing to happen to professional basketball in Adelaide since a young Willie Farley arrived on the scene in 2001.

To see Randle go down and writhe in agony on the baseline was truly gut wrenching.

A strong case could also be made for putting the 36ers in the winner’s section. The rest of the squad deserves a lot of credit for looking adversity right in the eye and responding to their star’s downfall by promptly blowing the Hawks off the floor.

Adelaide’s fans – understanding the gravity of the situation and realising they could’ve conceivably seen the last of Randle in 36ers blue – quite literally stood and delivered when they gave Randle a standing ovation as he was carried off the floor.

The good news is that Randle appears not to have torn his ACL, according to his agent, but nothing is certain until the scan results are in.

The entire city of Adelaide is nervously waiting with baited breath.


Dean Demopoulos

When Dean Demopoulos was asked a post-game question relating to head-to-head season series tie breakers (his team having just won a crucial season series over Perth) he didn’t know what the reporter was talking about.

“I’m not real familiar with all that head to head stuff right now,” Demopoulos said at the time.

“It doesn’t mean anything now…I don’t think…does it?”

Demopoulos is a proven coach and reigns supreme over the best team in the land, which makes it all the more surprising the he didn’t have a grasp of how tiebreakers work in the NBL.


Corey Webster

The honours and dishonours featured in this column are ideally awarded on a round by round basis, but few events occur in a vacuum and sometimes providing a little broader context is necessary, if not essential.

Corey Webster had just 9 points in a narrow win over Townsville on Friday, but his funk started 10 days ago against those very same Crocs.

Webster had 11 points on 4-12 shooting that night and followed it with another 11 points against Cairns, this time on 3-13 shooting, amidst New Zealand’s uncharacteristic six game slide.

Webster – one of the early season favourites for MVP – is averaging 10.3 points on 24.3% shooting over his last three games, and will need to lift himself out of this mini funk before it’s too late for his ailing Breakers.



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