Season Preview - Collie Crane Hire Southwest Slammers
Life has been extremely difficult for both the men's and women's Slammers teams in recent seasons. But they've made several major changes for 2012 in a bold bid to improve. Find out the moves they've made with the next of our season previews.
Collie Crane Hire Southwest Slammers 2012 Season Preview
2011 Recap: The Southwest Slammers walked away from a disappointing season in 2011 with no wins on the board. The Slammers were challenging at times throughout the season with the help of their import, Nick Freer, who averaged more than 26 points per game and improved in their teamwork towards the end of the season, but could not quite finish on top.
Off-Season Grade: C-
Off-Season Summary: The Slammers have made plenty of changes during the break, but kept it in the family with a returning coach and a group of locals to give the Southwest a fresh look. Greg Worthington, father of Slammers forward Trent and NBL player Mark Worthington, took over the top job for 2012 after four years away from the position. Worthington has brought in many a young talent along with two experienced, top scoring players from the Bunbury Basketball Association in Wade Hitchcock and Tim Collins. But arguably their most exciting recruit is American import Senario Hillman, a guard from the University of Alabama who knows how to dunk and get the game started with his scoring antics. Another American, Carlos White, also joined the squad to give the team more height, while Trent Worthington and Nat Van Dijk continue on with Southwest.
2012 Fixture: Southwest start their 2012 campaign at home against the Geraldton Buccaneers their games get tougher as the season goes on with games against East Perth, Stirling and Cockburn within the first five rounds. The Slammers will want to get off to a good start to challenge throughout the year.
2011 Recap: The Slammers struggled through another season in 2011 with only two wins, but the team put up a fight in many of their games which saw them lift from the bottom of the ladder on percentage. They also saw shining lights in young players; Bianca Donovan averaged almost 13 points per game and Donnelle Wallam clocking up the boards for the side.
Off-Season Grade: A+
Off-Season Summary: The Slammers have been busy during the off season with a new coach and key recruitments giving the regional team promise to dramatically improve for the 2012 season. Former Queensland Basketball League coach, Darren Austin, took over the reins for Southwest and helped secure two American imports with a wealth of experience in Rachele Kloke from Idaho College and Californian girl, Valerie Ogoke. WNBL players Zoe Harper, forward, and Kara Hargreaves, guard, also join the team. Harper makes the move from the Willetton Tigers where she averaged over 13 points and nine rebounds per game and help lead the Tigers to their third consecutive SBL Championship last year. Some local, young faces have been brought through the ranks, while the Slammers have retained their own experienced in Lisa Cartwright and Catherine Waycott.
2012 Fixture: First game up will be a challenge against 2011 Runner-up Champions, East Perth Eagles, with competitive games expected in their next six match ups before they test their strengths in Round 10 with a double header against Lakeside and Willetton.
What the Grades Mean: The grades are a subjective way of analysing whether each team has improved over the off-season. A grade of C- or better indicates they are well positioned to improve on their 2011 performance, while a grade of D+ or below indicates they're expected to be weaker. They are not intended to predict each team's ladder position.
Article by Frizz Ferguson
Photo by Helen Theoharakis (Hoop Shots)