A few months ago, I wrote a post about how American (and America-trained) basketball players don’t fit in the NBL. I’ve been meaning to write this post for several weeks now, and seeing as tonight is the Hawks Gala Dinner, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity (FYI: my mind is also racing about the Swans/Geelong game tonight… don’t even get me started).
I take it back. Well… sort of.
I will say that I think I caught Adris on a bad stretch… because after my article, he played like a beast and went on to win player of the week in Round 19. He played very well – no question about it – so he does have my apologies for my previous analysis of him. Hopefully he likes this one better.
But I do think there was another factor… one of my new favourite basketball players: Malcolm Grant.
Now I have lots of opinions on teams and leagues that go abroad to pick up talent, but in this case, it seems to have paid off. You see, the main the struggle with foreign players is that they don’t understand the sporting culture which, as I tried to explain in my other post, is very different between the US and Australia. Plus, it can take years for players to get used to playing with each other – learning styles and nuances (Sydney Swans, anyone?).
But this isn’t the case with Grant and the Hawks.
In case you didn’t know, Grant and Lance Hurdle (who is completely lovely, might I add – everyone at the club thinks so) are amigos from back home in the states (or so the rumor mill tells me). This meant Grant was aware of the culture before he came to Aus, and had Hurdle to help him out when he was unsure. NOTE: I have to say that I haven’t spoken to either of them about this, I am just assuming. They are after all, good friends, so I assume they speak. Is that too much?
I also think that the reason it worked was because of Deleon. If you see Grant and Deleon play together… now, that’s some great stuff. Deleon no longer looks out of place – Grant seems to have bridged the gap between Deleon and the rest of the team and has complimented them amazingly. As such, I see that Grant has brought out the best in Deleon giving him more opportunities to dominate how he wants (with those crazy between the leg dribbles and behind the back passes). And Deleon compliments Grant. Otherwise, he would just be another one of those crazy Americans that throws in the opposite direction of the one he’s looking. It’s seriously one of the best foreign transplants I’ve seen in a while. And remember, I’m a fan of Mike Pyke.
After all, the Hawks made it to the final four! And they performed well! My money is on them for the big win next year. They are a seriously great team and I’m lucky to have been involved with them this year.
Although I do have one problem with Grant… WHY DOES HIS JERSEY HAVE HIS FIRST NAME ON THE BACK? Everyone else has their last name. Consistency please. (I assume this was just an error, but STILL).