ABSL injunction with Youthtown is bring Elite basketball back to Auckland City. ABSL Development officer, Lindsay Tait is well known for his on court basketball achievements in the NBL and with the Tall Blacks. However, over the next three months he will combine his on court skill with off court organisation as he drives a new and exciting basketball competition. The Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam 2013 is set to spice up the Auckland Premier Men’s basketball scene as four high quality teams battle for supremacy on Tuesday nights at Youthtown.
Tait has organised a draft system in an attempt to draw up four evenly matched teams although first impressions are that his Youthtown Clique will be the team to beat. He captains a team boasting the majority of the 2013 Super City Rangers NBL team. Guards Shea Ili, Carl Buck and Jason Goodwin form a powerful back court with Tait and are joined by Rangers forwards Duane Bailey, Patrich Bolstad and Robson Tavita. Add in Hawkes Bay swingman Dion Prewster and Westlake Boys point guard Jaylen Gerrand and you can see they have a stack of talent. The only concern might be that one ball may not be enough to satisfy the needs of the Clique.
The Birdmen have three Tall Blacks in their line up and they have also tempted former NBL legend Prem Krishna out of retirement to keep an eye on their young guards Josh Bloxham, Brook Ruscoe, and Derone Rukawa. Javaan Mumtaz was a stand out for Counties at the recent Under 23 Nationals and Chris Fahrensohn had moments of excellence for Waitakere at the same tournament. Casey Frank will provide the class and leadership for the Birdmen, his forward combination with Johnny Fesolai potentially the most potent in the competition.
Another legend, Paul Henare will be strutting his stuff for the interestingly named Block City Brawlers who will boast three Breakers development players, Jack Salt, Alonzo Burton and Luuk Witteveen in their line up. Supercity Rangers starting point guard Houston O’Riley will be on hand to give Pauli a breather if (sorry – when) he runs out of puff. Captain of the National Championship winning Harbour Under 23 team, Inga Solofuti will be one of their three men and former Tall Black Daryl Cartwright will enjoy leading the team alongside Henare.
The fourth team, the Flava Flyers is captained by Hayden Allen. He is joined in the backcourt by Tall Black colleague Jarrod Kenny as well as Tyler Kerlin, Matt Lacey and Dylan Perfect-Tait. Ana Haku will probably take the three spot, his Waikato Pistons colleague Nick Barrow will be at centre, Mark Kelly and Zack Makavilitogia the power forwards.
Each of the four teams has a squad of 14 players, at least three of whom have to be under twenty three. By my reckoning thirteen of the players on show have won NBL titles and ten are current or former Tall Blacks. It should be enjoyable for spectators and fun for the players too as long as one or two egos can be left out on Nelson Street!