The Border Bandits have received a boost to their lineup with the recruitment of the 185cm tall former New Zealand Breakers and New Mexico Lobos point guard Ryan Kersten from the NBL.
Kersten, who started out with the North Adelaide rockets and was at one point hot favourite to be a star recruit for the Adelaide ’36ers will take the court for the first time for the beleaguered border club in tomorrow nights game against the Nunawadding Spectres tipping off at 8:30 at the Albury Sports stadium.
Bandits coach Jim Wilson said he was excited at the potential Kersten brought.
“He arrived on Sunday and trained on Tuesday night and certainly looked comfortable with the group,” Wilson said.
“I think he’ll add a lot to the team, last week, we were basically one rotation down and he’ll fill that perfectly.”
Originally from Modbury in South Australia, Ryan averaged 10.2 points per game in the 2005 SEABL season before heading to the US and a two-year stint at number 21 for the University of New Mexico Lobos.
New Mexico of course is well known Bandit country being home to legendary Wild West gunslinger and Outlaw Billy the Kid.
The New Mexico Lobos described Kirsten as a “Crafty point guard who pushes the ball well and is an excellent passer, (he) will fight for time at the point again this season. (he is a) Very mentally and physically tough player who will contend for playing time at either guard position”.
The NZ Breakers described him as “An excellent 3 point shooter who has the ability to get in the lane and create for himself or his team mates, Ryan has the complete point guard package. With 2 years at the AIS and 2 years in Div 1 NCAA Ryan is ready to take the next step as an on court leader in the NBL”.
The Spectres lineup includes three players over 200cm and it is expected they will try to use their height advantage to it’s fullest potential on Saturday.
Personally I think height isn’t the only thing in basketball, sure it’s a factor, I remember back in the mid nineties a little guy played for the Charlotte Hornets named Mugsy Bogues consistently lead the league in assists, he stood only 5’3″ in his boots.
The legendary Michael Jordan “flight 23″ was only 6’6”, hardly a giant in a league peppered with players over 7′.
I’d like to see a focus on ball skills, height isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, in a lot of cases, it can actually work against a team, sure a slam dunk gets the crowd on it’s feet and adds that “in your face” psychological element, but it’s still “only” 2 points, a serious sharpshooter from the three point line, coupled with a good defensive point guard and a lineup hungry for assists can really hurt an opposition on the scoreboard.
A broken backboard doesn’t count for much when you’re down on the scoreboard.
I know there was a bit of controversy over Kersten’s decision to sign for the breakers, some of it can be put down to sour grapes for a home crowd wanting to see their home grown talent take it to the field for them.
I think he’s probably a young man who’s been under the pump a fair bit in recent years and maybe his decision to sign with the “bad news Bandits” has more to do with cooling his heels than an upward step on the ladder, but I really think his inclusion is a good move for the Bandits, he’s young, fit, obviously has the skills to play at the pointy end of B-ball, I think he’ll be a positive influence.
The Bandits could really benefit from his balance of youth and experience, positive approach and all round morale building after the loss of much of it’s starting line-up last year.
I hope the decision will be a positive one for Kersten too, I think he’s probably had his share of adversity during his career and this is an opportunity for him to be instrumental in a Resurrection of Lazarine proportions.