HomeSportHuge month for Boomers star as NBA clubs watch closely

Huge month for Boomers star as NBA clubs watch closely

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That’s the official word from league commissioner Jeremy Loeliger following talk this week about the NBL’s game time expanding to mirror the NBA.Watch Every Game of the 21/22 NBL Season Live & On-Demand with ESPN on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >The league’s best player – Perth superstar Bryce Cotton – is one who would like to see the game return to 48 minutes. “I‘ve always wondered what that would be like; to play out here in a 48-minute era,” Cotton told ESPN.“I would love for it (48 minutes) to happen. I’m a student of the game and the NBL as well and that would be pretty cool to take it back to the old days.”Should the NBL return to 48-minute games?Cotton has plenty of friends when it comes players who would also like to play in a 48-minute game. Brisbane Bullets guard Jason Cadee has long pushed for the NBL to emulate the NBA’s 48-minute game while there are plenty of players who agree with him. League legend Andrew Gaze played in the 48-minute ere before it was replaced with the current 40-minute game in the 2009/2010 season.Basketball Australia were in charge of the NBL at the time and made the decision to align the Australian league with FIBA’s international rules. Gaze can see the positives of playing under the longer version of the game. “The good thing about a 48-minute (game) is for the casual fans who watch a lot of NBA,” Gaze said on The Jump. “They look at numbers here in our league and they try and make those comparisons when it is very difficult because the minutes just aren’t here for our guys.“In the (48 minute) game you’ll see higher scoring and individual statistical numbers that will get people talking and help to promote the game.”Gaze also understands the logistic challenges and realities of a return to the longer 48-minute game.“The big issue, of course, is your broadcast partner and trying to fit it in,” he said.“It (the 48 minute) probably requires an extra half an hour, which is a bit of an issue, and it was the issue back when they decided to change.”Loeliger sees merit in the 48-minute game, but says it isn’t on the NBL’s radar at present. “We have considered it from time to time, but it’s not something we’re actively considering at present,” Loeliger said. EXUM’S FUTURE IN EUROPEBoomers star Dante Exum says he’ll return to Europe if he doesn’t land another NBA contract. Exum has excelled playing for Barcelona in the EuroLeague, averaging 7.5 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist while shooting 52.9 per cent from the field. The move has been a masterstroke following the disappointment of being waived by the Houston Rockets shortly after last year’s bronze medal winning Tokyo Olympic campaign. Exum’s injury history has long been a concern for NBA teams looking to secure his signature.He hopes a healthy season with Barcelona can help him return to America, but if not, he is happy to continue playing in Europe.“I talked to many (NBA) teams, and it wasn‘t about my ability,” Exum said on the BasketNews Talks podcast.“It was just my ability to stay healthy.“The only way I can prove that is if I‘m playing on a team and, you know, we have a crazy pretty much NBA schedule this month with 17 games in 35 days. “So, I think it’s the perfect time to show that I can keep playing, knock on wood, and nothing happens. That’s the goal. And then in summer, we’ll revisit that (the NBA).“I think the biggest jump is making that first step to come over to Europe and play. If nothing works out, I know I can come back to Europe. I know the system. I know how everyone plays over here, so it will be an easier adjustment.” MARTIN A LONG-TERM KINGSydney Kings big man Jarell Martin is enjoying success on-and-off the court in the Harbour City – and the Kings want to reward him with a contract extension.Martin, who is in second and final season of a two-year contract, has been magnificent for the in-form Kings this season. The former Memphis and Orlando power forward has averaged 16.21 points and 8.74 rebounds while he is shooting 48 per cent from the field.Martin was particularly impressive in Sydney’s big win over the Phoenix in Melbourne on Saturday night, finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds.He also combined beautifully with Kings gun guard Jaylen Adams to produce a mouth-watering alley-hoop. Kings CEO Chris Pongrass wants to see Martin in Sydney long-term.“Re-signing Jarell is 100 per cent a priority,” Pongrass said. “Phenomenal basketball talent and a better human.”Martin is also loving life off the court in Sydney.The versatile big is an avid fisherman, but he has struggled to find the time in between his busy basketball schedule.This changed last week when Kings owner Paul Smith lent his boat to a host of Kings players, including Martin, to go fishing in Sydney Harbour. I’m told the boys, featuring Xavier Cooks and Shaun Bruce, had a successful day on the water, catching at least eight fish to match the franchise’s current winning streak.  VICKERMAN’S CRACKERApril Fools’ Day came early last Thursday when Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman got this scribe with one of the all-time great stings.The sporting world, well at least AFL circles, were immersed in Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge hitting out at a journalist in his post-game press conference for leaking a team selection before the club announcement.Beveridge’s tirade dominated headlines, and inspired Vickerman to send a text threatening to blow up at his next media opportunity after I revealed United had been in discussions to sign former championship-winning guard Yudai Baba. “I am going to have a Bevo rant at my next press conference with you putting that out about Baba,” Vickerman texted. The United coach left me stewing for the next hour thinking I was in for one almighty public spray before he texted back: “I was just winding you up,” accompanied with a giant smile emoji.Fair play, Deano, you got me a beauty.  MCCARRON ON THE MONEYAdelaide 36ers guard Mitch McCarron has faced enormous pressure all season as the franchise’s prized recruit.The former United championship-winner is one of the league’s highest paid players and the 36ers signed him to be an offensive leader. Adelaide’s inconsistent form, and injuries, hasn’t helped McCarron, but he responded on Friday with an impressive 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Cairns.This is the standard he needs to maintain for the 36ers to be a force.  LIKEThe Melbourne United machine is impressive to watch.Too old and too slow was what some experts said about United in the pre-season, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.Coach Dean Vickerman has his charges playing quality basketball, but it’s their resilience that sets them apart. This was on show against Adelaide on Sunday when senior stars Matthew Dellavedova and Chris Goulding went off early with injuries, but the men from Melbourne found a way to win on the back of their impressive depth.  DISLIKEThe South East Melbourne Phoenix being in danger of missing out on the finals is a major disappointment given their season to date.The Phoenix have been contenders all season on the back of MVP candidate Mitch Creek and an attractive style of team basketball.Sadly, their defence has been lacking at crucial times, forcing the franchise to fight for a finals spot in the closing rounds.The Phoenix can still make it, but they’ll need to discover consistency and hope other results go their way. SHOOSH Which NBL club expressed interest in signing experienced Australian forward Brock Motum, who is now playing for AS Monaco in France?

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