Kiwis Abroad – Losses for BJ Anthony and Erin Rooney

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 19: Benny Anthony of New Zealand is upt under pressue at the basket during the international match between the New Zealand Tall Blacks and South Korea at North Shore Events Centre on July 19, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Two of the Kiwi international players based in Europe were in action at the weekend.

BJ Anthony scored 13 points (6/8FG) but his British Basketball League club Plymouth Raiders slipped to their second loss in the opening two weeks of the season going down at the Manchester Giants 95-89. The Raiders will be disappointed with the defeat having led by as many as 18 points in the third period. Former Breaker Daryl Corletto scored 18 points for Plymouth but wasn’t at his deadliest as he shot 6 from 18 from the field.

The only other European based player in action at the weekend was Erin Rooney. Unfortunately for Rooney, embarking on her second season in the French League, her new club COB Calais were taken apart by Nantes 93-52 on the opening day of the season.

Rooney scored 7 points (2/9FG) and added 5 rebounds and 3 assists but Calais were never in the hunt trailing 48-29 at half time and 40 points in arrears at three quarter time.

Other players in Europe this coming season are Isaac Fotu, Rob Loe and Jillian Harmon.

Isaac Fotu will once again play in Liga Endesa, Spain, regarded by most basketball pundits as the premier competition outside of the NBA. Fotu has returned to CAI Zaragoza the club that initially signed him last season before he was loaned out to La Bruixa d’Or Manresa.

Fotu enjoyed a fine debut season averaging 10.4ppg and 4.0 rebounds for Manresa. Following a successful recent Tall Blacks campaign Fotu will be looking to establish himself as a starter in the Zaragoza lineup.

Zaragoza narrowly missed the Spanish league play-offs last season finishing ninth on the table but did secure a place in the Eurocup. They are in Group C in Europe alongside fellow Spanish side Valencia and Nancy (France), Ratiopharm (Germany), Spirou (Belgium) and Umana (Italy).

Zaragoza have a tough season opener on October 11th travelling to traditional powerhouse Barcelona, last season’s beaten finalists. Fotu dropped 20 points against Barcelona last season; a repeat performance would impress the Zaragoza faithful.

Rob Loe, like Fotu in his second professional season, has moved west across Europe linking with Limburg United in the Belgium league. Last season Loe played for KAO Dramas in the Greek league averaging 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Limburg were newcomers to the Belgium league last season finishing with a creditable 16-14 record before elimination in the quarter finals. Loe and his colleagues visit Kangoeroes for the opening game of the season on October 3rd.

Jillian Harmon, having won a WNBL title with Townsville Fire earlier this year, has been lured back to Italy to play for Le Mura Lucca in the upcoming season.

The twenty eight year old has enjoyed a good amount of success in Serie A playing her first five seasons as a professional in Italy before testing out the Australian League.

Lucca has been finalists in the Italian Super Cup for the past two seasons and begins their league campaign away against Umbertide on October 4th.

Over in Australia a number of our Tall Blacks were in action at the NBL preseason Blitz in Townsville.

Leon Henry had a successful weekend winning the Blitz dunk competition as well as playing for the hosts, Townsville Crocodiles. His best individual performance was 9 points in the loss to the Breakers.

Jarrod Kenny enjoyed extended minutes for the Perth Wildcats in the absence of star Wildcats point guard Damian Martin. He also had his most productive game against the Breakers, playing 33 minutes and notching 9 points. Fellow Tall Blacks guard Dion Prewster also enjoyed good minutes with the Sydney Kings.

Kirk Penney had just a single outing for the Illawarra Hawks scoring 7 points in 17 minutes against Adelaide on Sunday.

Next month we will be also be following the fortunes of Tall Ferns playing in Australia. Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast (both at Townsville Fire), Jess Bygate (Adelaide Lightning) and Toni Edmondson (Perth Lynx) will feature in the WNBL during the 2015-16 season.

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