The James Blond Super City Rangers will open their 2014 NBL campaign against the Advice First Waikato Pistons on Sunday afternoon. The two teams occupied the bottom two places on the ladder last season but both have recruited strongly in a bid to be play-off contenders this season.
The Rangers have acquired Daryl Corletto and American Eric Devendorf to fill their import slots and enticed Dillon Boucher away from the Saints to double as a player and coach. Boucher will assist returning head coach Aik Ho.
Unfortunately both Corletto and Boucher will be absent from the first game. Corletto is enjoying a short break following his season with the Breakers and Boucher is recovering from foot surgery. Houston O’Riley, Duane Bailey, Patrich Bolstad, and Johnny Fesolai will be the main supporting cast for Devendorf and we may also see the NBL debut of teenage star Tai Wynyard.
The Waikato Pistons were dealt a major blow in the lead up to the season when it was revealed their star signing Tom Abercrombie was heading to Europe to take up a short term contract with French club ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne. Nevertheless new Pistons coach Pero Cameron will have a handy starting line up at his disposal.
The guards will be imports Corin Henry (ex Sydney Kings) and Akeem Wright who was with the Otago Nuggets last year. The three spot is filled by Zac Carter an Australian with a Kiwi passport and the forwards will be the veteran Casey Frank and young Jack Salt who suited for the Rangers last season. Nick Barrow and James Comer return to lead the bench brigade that also boasts the former North Harbour trio of Karl Noyer, Matt Lacey and Alex Talma.
The Pistons already have a game under their belts having gone down to the Hawks on Friday night. Both teams will be keen to get the win something they only achieved twice each last campaign.