The win in Perth last week was a great way to start the season, even more meritorious given that the injury gods were once again frowning on the SKY CITY Breakers. Alex Pledger is on light duties due to a toe injury and Tom Abercrombie missed the trip west following a sports hernia operation. To add to that Corey Webster was only able to play just over 11 minutes in Perth after sustaining a back injury.
Friday’s game promises to be exciting on a number of fronts:
* The retiring of CJ’s number 23 singlet
* The return of the other CJ – Cedric Jackson
* The home debuts of Rhys Carter, Tai Wesley and Ekene Ibekwe.
* The visit of the Adelaide 36ers, last season’s NBL runners-up
CJ Bruton played 179 games for the club, scored 2049 points, dished off 466 assists, snared 170 steals and of course was a integral part of three championship winning teams. CJ has been a crowd favourite for the past six seasons and Friday we get the opportunity to recognise the contribution to the SKY CITY Breakers of a truly great player as his number 23 singlet is retired.
It is exciting to welcome Cedric Jackson back after a one season absence. The 2013 League MVP returns after spending time in Slovenia and certainly showed he has lost none of his zip when putting together a 22 pts/5 rbs/5 assists performance last week.
Rhys Carter played for visitors the Adelaisde 36ers last season. With 223 NBL games under his belt the experienced Australian guard is a key addition to the SKY CITY Breakers as he demonstrated in Perth, adding 7 assists to a 14 points haul.
Another addition is power forward Tai Wesley who has joined the club after impressing Breakers assistant coach Paul Henare during his time at Southland Sharks during the NZNBL season.
The third new man is Ekene Ibekwe who replaces Gary Wilkinson in the second import spot. The 2.06m Nigerian international will play centre and add rebounding strength and athleticism to the Breakers front court. Ibekwe experience foul trouble against the Wildcats fouling out in under 20 minutes court time but still contributed 10pts, 6 rebounds and a block.
As mentioned the Adelaide 36ers are Friday’s visitors, the team that stole a one point win with a Gary Ervin intercept and lay up in the last four seconds of the corresponding fixture last season.
Ervin has moved on to the Wollongong Hawks but the 36ers have signed the classy Jamar Wilson (from Cairns Taipans) in his place. Adam Gibson was at the recent World Cup with the Australian Boomers and his backcourt partnership with Wilson has the potential to be a formidable combination.
Anthony Petrie usually performs well against the Breakers, his match up with Mika Vukona always intriguing. Centre Luke Schenscher will test the defensive capabilities of Alex Pledger and Ekene Ibekwe and of course Tall Black BJ Anthony always enjoys the chance to get one over on his former teammates – something he did four times in four games last season.
The Breakers will be keen for it not to be five in a row