Friday, April 12, 2024

ON THE BALL: ‘Business’ good for Cavs


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In this edition of On The Ball, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville reviews another week of action in the Co-operators General Insurance Premier League season.
INSIGHTS, OBSERVATIONS and musings of another eventful week in top-flight basketball.
• I GUESS that is why you go back to the “Business Man”.
The “that”, of course, refers to Station Hill’s resounding seven-point victory over a certain super team that looked more helpless than anything else while trying to nullify Kelvin Patterson.
Not that we needed another victory over the Pine to understand that head coach Adrian Craigwell has his eyes solely on the prize by going back for his domineering, yet polarising big man.
Argue against the move all you want – and trust me, I am one who does – there’s no denying that Patterson’s mere inclusion alone shifts the young Cavs’ status from dangerous first-round fodder to serious title contenders.
Why? Well, that’s elementary, Watson, because there’s still not a more dominant force in the league with the ball in his hands.
And make no mistake, Patterson’s hands were definitely all over this one.
Just ask Lamar Grazette how easy it is to come in unnoticed from the weak side when an entire defence is focused on stopping a certain bull-dozing big man.
Better yet, why not query Patterson’s good friend, Junior Moore, about how difficult it is to stop the extremely strong but agile post player from getting to the ring without help.
Or simply ask Smalta Pinelands and Lumber Company LSC who they would rather play in the first round.
Then wait for them to tell you they want no business with Station Hill.
• So when should genuine concern become real anxiety? Um, I don’t know, maybe after twice losing to a team despite leading by double digits on both occasions. Yeah, a team that looms as a potential first-round opponent.
I’d hazard a guess and say “worried” just doesn’t quite capture how all of Princess Royal feels about the prospects of facing Station Hill in the postseason following yet another embarrassing late-game collapse against the Cavs.
Maybe I’m blowing things out of proportion here, but coach Renaldo Maughan has got to feel very uneasy that he can’t get his two best players – Jeremy Gill and Charles Vanderpool – both going at the same time at the end of these Station Hill games.
Or that the Pine’s offence in general can go absent for very long stretches when it’s forced to play against a disciplined defensive unit in the half-court.
Halley Franklyn’s seemingly poor fit in the offence can’t really be too comforting either, especially with the play-offs less than a week away.
Of course, they could always try to get the top seed, then hope LSC can take care of those pesky Cavs in the first round.
And pray that LSC don’t show up those same concerns.
• Tell me again about how teams that have already qualified for the postseason don’t put much stock into late regular season matchups against each other.
Well, if the Pine and Cavs were trying not to show “everything” before the play-offs they sure did a bad job of it on Sunday while easily playing the season’s most intense game thus far.
You’d think without home court advantage there isn’t much to play for considering it’s kind of hard to avoid anyone in a small four-team field.
But don’t tell that to either side after the two nearly killed each other in a contest that had all the makings of a Game 7, short of Drake and his lint brush sitting in the VIP seats, of course.
If I didn’t know any better I’d say the play-offs are going on already, what with both coaches working themselves into the frenzy over every single possession.
Even the refs were in postseason form, swallowing the whistle on several plays in the paint for a game that tested the boundaries of physicality so much as to make Kendrick Perkins shudder.
And guess what, Pinelands still have games against Cougars and LSC remaining in a week of pre-play-off tournament action.
Now if we can only get Christmas coming early too.
• Yes, I know I listed him as the season’s best offseason acquisition, but Sunday night wasn’t what Pinelands had in mind when they sought out Junior Moore.
Just in case he’s forgotten already, let’s just hope a member of Pine’s coaching staff has reminded dear Junior that he’s been the model of efficiency by attacking the glass, lurking weak side, hitting free throw-line jumpers and getting out in transition.
However, I’m quite sure he hasn’t averaged 16 points this season by trying to go one on one with Kelvin Patterson, or any other bigger post player worth his salt in the paint.
He won’t admit it, but his personal vendetta to get the best of his friendly rivalry with Patterson certainly got the best of Moore during a time when Pinelands needed to be more efficient offensively.
Unless, of course, the Pine are willing to live with him going five for 12 from the floor and committing five turnovers the next time around against Station Hill.
Same goes for you too, Jeremy Gill, what with you missing five free throws in a game decided by six points.
• It’s a good thing Adrian Allman doesn’t seem to take these things personally, or his exclusion from national trials could serve as a major source of distraction for LSC at the worst time possible.
He certainly wouldn’t be the only person who felt unjustly left off a trials list and still continued to produce at a high rate for the good of his team.
But it’s one thing to be overlooked by a random committee, and yet another to be left out when the chairman of the selection panel just happens to be your head coach.
Yes, the same head coach who leans on you heavily for your team-leading 16.4 points and 3.6 dimes per game – both of which put you in the top 15 of each category.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the direction Francis Williams and company are going by selecting young and rangy players on the wing – neither of which Allman would ever be confused for.
That still doesn’t make it any easier to swallow, especially considering that Allman is comfortably outperforming each and every one of them.


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