A couple of contenders for Rookie of the Week squared off in the opening game of round one of the Bartercard NBL on Wednesday. If it was boxing the contest wouldn’t have taken place, the diminutive Derek Albertsen giving away to many kilos and centimetres to the towering Tohi Smith-Milner.
Both players are playing quality minutes for their respective teams and enjoying extended court time. Point guard Albertsen ran the Good Home Taranaki Mountain Airs offence for the majority of the game contributing 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists a steal and only committing one turnover. Tohi Smith-Milner playing the four spot for the James Blond Super City Rangers was equally effective, running the floor, throwing down dunks, blocking shots and producing a stat line of 27 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a couple of blocks. The Rangers won the fight 97-88 but the two rookies shared the rounds fairly evenly in an intriguing contest. Wollongong Hawks head coach Gordie McLeod was in the crowd and couldn’t help but have been impressed by the effort and form of the Rangers heavy weight and the Taranaki fly weight.
McLeod moved south to Wellington on Friday to take in the Pacific Jewllers Saints versus Canterbury Rams encounter. There he watched former NZ Junior Tall Blacks team mates Richie Edwards and Dion Prewster in opposition. Edwards (26 points) shaded Prewster (15 points) on the individual stats but it was the Wellingtonian who would have had the biggest smile as his team got their campaign back on track with a 99-82 victory.
McLeod, headed back to Auckland for his third game of the round to see the James Blond Super City Rangers upset the Zerofees Southland Sharks 97-94. Once again Smith-Milner was prominent scoring 22 points and securing 4 rebounds. The 2010 ANBL Coach of the Year can’t help but to have been impressed by Smith-Milner’s athleticism and touch.
Earlier in the weekend Derek Albertsen delivered 11pts/2 rebs/2 assists as the Mountainairs came up one point short against the OceanaGold Otago Nuggets.
Finn Delaney had an extremely useful 10pts/6 rebounds/2 assists/2 steals outing for the Fico Finance Nelson Giants as they defeated the Nuggets 108-79.
Dyson King-Hawea had a quietly efficient 11 points, 6 rebounds outing for the Pistons as they came unstuck against a determined Rams outfit, the Cantabs winning 86-82 in overtime.
The Rams cause was not helped when forward Richie Edwards was ejected from the game after just 13 minutes of court time. His chance of Rookie of the Week evaporating following a string of abuse directed at the officials.
Impossible to go past two 20+ points outings from Tohi Smith-Milne who impressed the wily Gordy Mcleod , the Rangers forward a worthy recipient of Rookie of the Week for Round 11 of the NBL