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COURTSIDE COURTSIDE MAGAZINE ISSUE No. 1 JUNE 2012 £3.50

HANGING WITH.....

POPS GREAT BRITAIN STAR ON THE OLYMPICS, THE NBA AND WHY HE JUST LOVES TURKEY

PLUS..... TEAM GB STAR JO LEEDHAM, JEREMY LIN, FIVE MINUTES WITH COLIN O’REILLY AND MUCH, MUCH MORE

Photograph courtesy of Getty Images


wherever your court...... Wherever your court..... play hard PLAY HARD Photograph by David Powell


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IN THIS ISSUE....

4. Round up of all the action

Photograph by David Powell

from the NBA and the BBL.

A word from

6. The BIG interview:Team

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GB star and former NBA player Pops Mensah-Bonsu speaks to Courtside.

10. ‘Linsanity’. Just why the NBA has gone gaga for basketballs latest sensation, Jeremy Lin.

13. Golden Girl: GB womens star Jo Leedham talks on her goals for London 2012.

15. 5 minutes with.....

Cheshire Jets star Colin O’Reilly, finding out exactly what makes the big Irishman tick.

The Editor elcome to the first issue of Courtside Magazine. As the popularity of basketball has seen a huge surge in the UK in recent years, we felt it high time that the sport had a publication aimed at its UK fan base, bringing you the very best in coverage from the British Basketball League as well as the action from across the pond in the world-famous NBA. We are dedicated to bringing you the biggest and best interviews from some of the biggest names in the game. We are delighted that in this, our first issue, we have been able to gain exclusive interviews with two of the shining stars of British Basketball; Jo Leedham and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. We are aiming to bring you and magazine that is fresh in both its appearance and its approach. With a wide variety of content, whether you follow the Guildford Heat or the Miami Heat, the Worcester Wolves or the Minnesota Timberwolves., there’s something for you. It is an exciting time to be a British basketball fan and we hope that you will follow all the goings on, right here with us. Thank you.

David Powell - Editor

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WHATS HAPPENING IN THE....

nal berth against the Jets, defeating the Surrey side 93-56 and 74-69 over the two legs, cementing their tag as favourites in the process thanks to two dominant displays. Making up the quartet of teams contesting this years BBL semifnals will be the Glasgow Rocks and the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders. he Cheshire Jets booked The Rocks had to battle hard to their place in the BBL play-off come out on top in their longsemi-final on Sunday night in distance tie against the much front of a packed Northgate faniced Plymouth Raiders. Arena crowd. Head coach John Lavery’s Ches- The Rocks progressed in the ter-based side earned a tricky tie competition, overturning a first leg deficit to claim an aggregate against the Newcastle Eagles in the next round after overcoming victory thanks to an 80-60 triumph at Kelvin Hall. the Worcester Wolves 87-77. The Jets, who drew the previous Gareth Murray was the toast of the city following the match, leg against the Wolves 80-80 on with his double-double of 17 the Saturday, won through with points and 10 rebounds setting an aggregate score of 167-157 the Scottish side on their way to over their BBL rivals. a memorable victory. Centre, Matt Schneck was the star turn for the Jets, with his 19 The Riders ensured that they give themselves a chance of collecting points making amends for his early exit from the first leg, while some silverware come the end of the season, as they despatched captain Colin O’Reilly hit a double-double, bagging 22 points the One Health Sheffield Sharks with relative ease, shooting their and 10 assists during the game. The Eagles overcame the Guild- way to a 182-141 aggregate vicford Heat to secure their semi-fi- tory.

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HEAD COACH: Cheshire Jets chief John Lavery. Photograph courtesy of Trinity Mirror Cheshire

Cameron Rundles drained 29 points during Sunday’s tie clinching victory, standing out as the star man in the Riders convincing 90-65 triumph in front of a vociferous Leicester home support at the John Sandford Centre. All four sides will now commence battle this weekend, live on Sky Sports television, with the victors taking their place in the BBL’s showpiece final a week on Saturday at Birmingham’s NIA venue. The semi-final line up will be: Jets vs Eagles; Rocks vs Riders.

TOUGH OLYMPIC DRAW FOR TEAM GB

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f Great Britain are to claim a medal in the basketball at this summers Olympic Games in London, then they will have to do it the hard way after a tough draw. The sports world governing body, FIBA, held their central board meeting in the Brazilian city of Rio De Janeiro last month, where the draw for London 2012 was made. Both the men and womens

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basketball teams for the home nation. face tough opposiBritain’s women will tion this summer, aslo have to be at their with the men due to best to qualify, with tip off against the their group consistworlds second highing of the second and est ranked nation, third ranked teams in Spain, where NBA womens international star siblings Pau basketball, Australia Marc Gasol. Photo from ARA.cat and Marc Gasol are and Russia as well as expected to feature. Brazil. The men will also face Australia Both the men and womens and China in the initial group Olympic basketball tournaments stages in what will be a tall order will commence on July 29.


NBA WATCH

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HEAT KNICK VICTORY T

he holy triumvirate of the Miami Heat will be gearing up to stop a resurgent New York Knicks side when they meet at the American Airlines Arena for the third match of their play-off battle this Sunday. The stellar cast of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were given a rough ride by Carmelo Anthony and his Knicks team-mates when they met at Madison Square Garden last Saturday night. Despite emerging with a narrow 104-94 victory over the Knicks, the Heat failed to show the sparkle of the first game in the series, where James and company blew the New Yorkers away with a

scintillating display, recording a convincing 100-67 blowout. They were afforded none of the comforts of that first game, as Anthony and Jeremy Lin both drained more than 20 points a piece and Tyson Chandler, who was named as the Kia Defensive Player of the Year prior to the game, put in a commanding performance at centre, keeping the offensive threat of the Heat to a minimum in the first two quarters. While the Knicks have enjoyed their extended season into the play-offs, the strength of their opponents offense was enough to see off a spirited display from their hosts, with James hitting 30 points and Wade a double-double, with 24 points and 12 assists

Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

for the Floridians. Now the Knicks must make the daunting road trip to Miami and attempt to reverse the result, with a big result needed to ensure that their season continues for another fortnight and their dreams of lifting the NBA Championship remain alive.

NO LUCK FOR CP3 D

crushing defeat. It was rough for Paul, who shone espite leadthroughout the ing the scorgame and ensured ing for his LA that the CaliforClippers side, nians remained Chris Paul was competitive throuunable to stop gout the four quarthem slumping to ters. a 105-98 defeat star Chris Paul. Photograph Such was the threat against the Mem- Clippers courtesy of Getty Images of the 26-year-old phis Grizzlies. North Carolinan The Grizzlies, native, that the Grizzlies head who had home advantage, made coach, Lionel Hollins, employed up for the capitulation against the Clippers in game one, where three of his men to defend the point guard whenever he was in they threw away a 27 point lead possesion of the basketball. to eventually end up falling to a The tactic appeared to pay divi-

dends as Pauls opposite number, Rudy Gay, led his team to a valuable victory, chipping in with 21 points. Such was the strength of the home sides display, six players reached double fugures for points scored during the game, with Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Marreese Speights, Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo aiding the success of their side. Paul and his team-mates will have chance to exact their revenge when their Tennessee opponents head to Los Angeles and the Staples Centre next Sunday for game three.

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Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

POPS Talking hoops with ‘The Killer Whale’


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Fort Worth Flyers before making his NBA debut for the Mavericks hen it comes to in 2007. British basketball stars, Pops “I had to move myself over Mensah-Bonsu belongs to a very to the US when I was just a teenelite group of individuals with the ager so that I could take up my Tottenham-born power forward scholarship at college. It was real being one of the few Britons to hard to do that and leave my famhave enjoyed success across the ily behind for such long periods Atlantic in the world’s biggest, but they were boldest and best basketball league, all so supportive the NBA. of me that I just Nana Papa Yaw Dwene knew that I had Mensah-Bonsu, or ‘Pops’ as he to see it through. is known to the basketball world, “When I along with Chicago Bulls’ Luol didn’t get drafted, Deng and Ben Gordon of the I felt so low but I Detroit Pistons, helped form a trio realised that I had of Londoners who were blazto have another ing a trail for youngsters back shot at it, so I in Blighty who had visions of went to the Dachieving Michael Jordan like League, worked stardom across the pond in the hard and manland where the term ‘anything is aged to make a name for myself. possible’, is part of the everyday Luckily for me, I was noticed and mantra for the population. it all worked out.” With a CV boasting such Despite managing to break NBA franchises such as the Dallas into the sports elite group, Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Mensah-Bonsu, like hundreds of Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets ballers before him, has had to upand the New Orleans Hornets, it is root in more recent times to more not surprising that Mensah-Bonsu unfamiliar territory, such is the feis something of a role model to rocity of the NBA and its constant children on the basketball court in influx of superhuman talent. For his old Hackney stomping ground. Hackney boy Mensah-Bonsu, who His rise junior at the Hackney now plies his trade in Turkey with White Heat to sharing the floor Beskitas Milingaz, it is something with some of basketballs greatest that just comes with the territory. ever names has been no mean feat “It’s just something that you for the 28-year-old, who attended have to do. You have to be realisSt. Augustine College in New tic about it, you need to work and Jersey before attending George you go where the work is,” said Washington University, entering the 6ft 9in Londoner, who has repthe 2006 NBA draft only to be resented 13 clubs in six different overlooked. countries in his six year career. “I had to make so many sac“It’s not all bad. I know I rifices to get to where I am today. have had to move around a lot but To play in the NBA is something I have managed to see places and that every kid who picks up a meet people that I never thought I basketball wants to achieve, would get the chance to do. but it does come at a cost,” said “Where I am now, I’m really Mensah-Bonsu, who joined the happy and it’s great to be part of NBA Development League side such a strong team. I love Turkey,

COURTSIDE the culture and the people are great and I felt right at home here as soon as I arrived. While he is happy with his current situation, Mensah-Bonsu, nicknamed ‘The Killer Whale’ and ‘Big Daddy’ by US commentators thanks to the translation of his birth name and the ferocity of his slam dunks, still harbours a desire to return to the US and fulfil his American dream. MensahBonsu, who has taken in stops at clubs in France, Spain, Italy and Russia in addition to the USA and Turkey, has also set his sights firmly on achieving club success and ensuring his spot on the Team GB roster for this summer’s Olympic Games in London. “I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want another shot at the NBA. It’s where every baller wants to be, no matter who they are. “The problem is that you have all these hundreds of supertalented kids fresh out of college and they’re all trying to chase the same dream. There are only 32 teams and five starting spots on each team. I want to be playing, that’s what I love and that’s why I had to leave in the first place. “If the opportunity arose for me to get back into the league and get more floor time then sure, I would go for it. But until then, I’m real happy doing what I’m doing and I just hope that I’ve done enough to get into the Olympic team. “Playing in the Olympics would be my greatest honour.

‘I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want another shot at the NBA’

Continued on page 8

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Photographs courtesy of Getty Images

London to New York Make The Trip Of A Lifetime

www.united.com


Continued from page 7 “I have really enjoyed my career so far and I’m proud of everything that I’ve achieved, but the Olympics would just be the icing on the cake.” After sharing the hardwood with some of the modern legends in the game such as LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, MensahBonsu is quick to stress the value of hard work to the new generation of aspiring basketballers. Having come up the hard way, he speaks passionately about the need to promote the sport further in schools across Britain, in the hope that in years to come there will be more and more Britons plying their trade in the worlds greatest basketball league. “I can’t say enough times just how important it is that kids in the UK have the platform to practice and hone their skills. For me, there just isn’t enough going on at the moment,” said the former Hun School of Princeton High School pupil, his voiced filled with passion. “There are some youth clubs out there who are doing really good things with the kids, but there needs to be a change in the way that we treat basketball in the schools. I just don’t think its’s treated with enough respect. “It would be nice to think that in a few years we might have someone like Luol (Deng), who can make it at the very top and stay there. British basketball needs to build for the future and they have to do more about it as soon as possible. “I have had a shot at the NBA and I can say that it is just the best league in the world. “It is the pinnacle of any basketballers career. I would like to think I can get back there.”

COURTSIDE

Photograph from FIBA.com

POPS MENSAH-BONSU FACTFILE: BORN: 7/11/1983 in Tottenham, North London HIGH SCHOOL: St. Augustine, New Jersey COLLEGE: George Washington University, Washington DC CLUBS: Fort Worth Flyers, Dallas Mavericks, Benneton Treviso (ITA), CB Granada (ESP), DKV Joventut (ESP), Austin Toros (USA), San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors (CAN), Houston Rockets, CSKA Moscow (RUS), New Orleans Hornets, ASVEL Villeurbane (FRA), Besiktas Milingaz (TUR) NICKNAMES: Big Daddy, The Killer Whale

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JEREMY

LIN Why the US has gone ‘Linsane’ for basketballs latest star

Photograph from wblk.com


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cross the world of sport over the past 12 months, little has compared to the excitement and euphoria that has surrounded a man who was a virtual unknown in the world of basketball until late last year. In a story which if it were pitched to Hollywood executives would have seemed possibly a little too far-fetched for the silver screen, the leading role has been played by the most unlikely of men, with the backdrop being the most iconic city in the world, where the making of dreams is something that could well contribute to the cities GDP. It can only be New York. And the Academy Award goes to.....Jeremy Lin. If the story of the rapid rise of Lin, a 23-year-old Harvard graduate, had not been completely true, there would be very few who would have believed it. On February 14 of this year, Lin sank a game winning basket for his New York Knicks side against their NBA rivals, the Toronto Raptors. It is this game where the phrase that has swept the United States first emerged, with NBA star Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) declaring ‘Linsanity’ to be in full effect. Since then, Lin has been placed on Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People on the Planet’ list. No mean feat for a young man who was considering giving up basketball altogether only months earlier. Jeremy Lins story is an intriguing one not only due to the fact that despite all his talent he very nearly disappeared under the NBA radar, but the fact that he is one of only a very small number if Asian-Americans to have played in the greatest and most finan-

COURTSIDE cially rewarding basketball league was hampering the regular league on the planet. schedule at the time. In January of During an interview at the this year, Lin made a temporary NBA All-Star Weekend in March, move to D-League side the Erie Lin, who plays at point guard, BayHawks where his star shone, said: “I know a lot of people hitting a triple-double in his first say I’m deceptively athletic and game. Lin was quickly ushered deceptively quick. I’m not sure back into the Knicks fold just what’s deceptive. But it could be days later. the fact that I’m Asian-American. The Knicks considered letBut I think that’s fine. It’s someting Lin go as Davis neared full thing that I embrace, and it gives fitness but Los Angeles-born Lin me a chip on my shoulder. But caught a lucky break, with Davis I’m very proud to aggravating an be Asian-Ameriinjury and the can and I love it.” team suffering a A gifted crushing defeat student, Lin against the Bosgraduated from ton Celtics. Harvard UniverLin consity in early 2010 sidered moving with a degree in to play abroad economics but or even giving was unable to up basketball find a club in the altogether if he NBA draft folKobe Bryant - LA Lakers was released by lowing college, he the Knicks. He managed to find need not have employment with his home town worried. club the California-based Golden Out of what seemed desperaState Warriors in July 2010, tion, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni although he seldom pulled on a decided to give Lin a try. It was Warriors jersey for the duration of a decision that would change the his stay at the Oracle Arena. course of the Knicks season, with Lin then moved to the NBA’s Lin inspiring his team, who had Development League (D-League), lost 11 of their previous 13, to an signing on with the Reno Bigeight game winning streak. horns before moving briefly to Over the following weeks China to turn out for the Dongand months, Lin averaged a point guan Leopards. It was soon after haul well in the 20s and outplayed dropping down the levels that a stellar cast of NBA stars, outthe turning point in Lin’s career scoring Washington Wizards’ John would arrive. Wall, New Jersey Nets talisman With the New York Knicks Deron Williams and LA Lakers suffering an injury nightmare to legend, Kobe Bryant. their regular guards Iman ShumpFollowing Lin’s 38 point ert and Baron Davis, Lin was match-winning performance brought in to as cover for the two against the Lakers, Bryant, one of fit guards, Mike Bibby and Toney the most decorated players in the Douglas. history of the NBA said: “PlayInitially, Lin had little floor ers playing that well don’t usually time due to his back-up status and come out of nowhere. the ongoing NBA lockout that Continues on page 12

‘Players playing that well don’t come out of nowhere’

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Continued from page 10

It seems like they come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed.” Lin has been embraced by the American sports media, with the phrases ‘Linsanity’ and ‘Amasian’ entering the everyday language of the sports pages at the nation’s biggest publications. In a matter of months, 23year old Lin has gone from almost being dropped from his contract and facing a life away from basketball, to being given a new, guaranteed contract of mammoth proportions and being the hottest ticket in town. After the debacle of the league’s lockout, where the sport’s stars refused to play unless their increased wage demands were met, the story of Jeremy Lin has brought a positive focus back on the sport and helped draw a line under a very dark period and blaze a trail for more Asian basketballers to enter the sports elite. Five times NBA Championship winning LA Lakers star Derek Fisher said about Lin: “He’s carrying the hopes of an entire continent. He’s accomplished a lot more than I have already.” Given the phenomenal way in which Lins stock has risen in such a short space of time, there can be little doubt that when the current NBA season draws to a close, the Californian will, for the first time in his career, be inundated with offers of work from some of the best sides in the league. Whether or not he remains at Madison Square Garden or seeks pastures new remains to be seen, with several NBA franchises looking at adding the talented Lin to their rosters in readiness for an onslaught at the NBA crown next season.

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The challenge that faces in Lin is to make sure that ‘Linsanity’ endures and that he remains on the radar for basketball fans and does not disappear into the wilderness again.

If Lin remains on his current trajectory, he will be well on course to write himself into NBA history as the greatest Asian-American ever to grace the NBA. That would be some accolade.

Photograph courtesy of Reuters SUPERSTAR: Jeremy Lins exploits have seen him earn a place on the prestigious Time Magazine ‘100 Most Influential People’list.

JEREMY LIN: FACTFILE

BORN: 23/8/1988 Los Angeles, California HEIGHT: 6ft 3in WEIGHT: 200lb HIGH SCHOOL: Palo Alto High, California COLLEGE: Harvard (2006-2010) DEGREE: Economics CLUBS: Golden State Warriors, Reno Bighorns, Dongguan Leopards (CHI), Erie BayHawks, New York Knicks CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2x All Ivy League First Team (2009, 2010), ABA Club Championship MVP (2011), NBA BBVA Rising Star Award (2012) NICKNAMES: Amasian, Linsanity LANGUAGES: English, Chinese, Mandarin


JO LEEDHAM COURTSIDE

THE OLYMPICS AND LIFE DOWN UNDER WITH THE TEAM GB STAR

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n recent times, there has been an increasing exodus of Britons who seek a more laid back, tranquil and sun drenched way of life in the seemingly idyllic setting of the Southern Hemisphere. Daytime television programmes have popularised the notion that the grass is definitely greener in the distant lands of our cousins in Australia, with the idea of rich rewards without the hard day to day grind of the UK being embedded in the thought process of prospective movers keen to improve their quality of life. While this notion may widely accepted by many, for one woman moving to Australia has been all about hard work and sacrifice, so as to raise her profile back home in Britain. Team GB women’s basketball captain, Jo Leedham, has had to make the move down under to make sure of her place at this summer’s Olympic Games in London, where she is aiming to help shoot her nation to a surprise podium finish in what will so far be the highlight of a career which has already delivered so much. Twenty-five-year-old Leedham, who hails from Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, has been residGOLDEN GIRL: Jo Leedham is gearing up for the Olympics by playing in Australias premier womens basketball league with the Bulleen Boomers. Photograph courtesy of Trinity Mirror Cheshire ing near Melbourne since October last year after joining the “It was something that I had like it is with the men, there are Bulleen Boomers, one of the top to do if I were to give myself far fewer opportunities to play clubs sides in one of women’s the best preparation for London professionally and that means that world basketball’s elite leagues, 2012,” said Leedham. you have to travel around. the Women’s National Baketball “The women’s game isn’t Continues on page 14 League.

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Continued from page 13 “It is great to be out here

in a country as wonderful as Australia but I would have ideally liked to have played professional basketball back home so that I could be closer to my family. “The reality is however that there just isn’t the required standard in the UK at the moment and there are a lot of talented girls who are having to look further afield to improve their game and improve their chances of making a real success out of their careers. “The fact that there is a lack of a professional women’s basketball set up in the UK is something that will hopefully be highlighted and addressed in the correct manner after the Games, as the spotlight will be on both the men and women in the sport this year. I think that it could be a real turning point for the sport in this country.” Leedham, who plays in the small forward position, left her Cheshire home to pursue her sporting ambitions at the tender age of 16, attending the Cheshire Academy High School in Connecticut before going on to enjoy two recordbreaking seasons at Franklin Pierce College in New England, where her performances saw her the College retire her number 16 jersey and the British Basketball Association name her Olympic Athlete of the Year in 2010. Following her American adventure, Leedham deferred her entry in to the 2011 WNBA draft where she had been selected by the Connecticut Sun, to head back to Europe and turn out for Polish

side AZS PWSZ Gorzów Wielkopolski before heading across the globe yet again to join the Bulleen Boomers. “For me to be a success it was necessary to make the sacrifices that I have made,” said Leedham, tipped to be one of Team GB’s stand out performers at London 2012. “Basketball, like most professional sports, is short lived and you have to be able to make the most of it while you are able to. “Representing my nation has always been the greatest buzz for me and in order to do that I have had to move around a lot and it has been really hard at times for me. “I’m a total basketball nut. I’m addicted to it and I watch it whenever I can. When I was living in the States it was great because I could watch all the NBA and WNBA that I wanted as the sport is so well catered for over there. The problem in Australia is that basketball doesn’t enjoy the same reputation and audience as sports like football and Aussie rules so I don’t get to watch hardly any of the NBA games at the moment which is a real nightmare. “Basketball is such a brilliant sport and I really hope that it continues to make strides forward back home in the UK. There is a real market for it and a definite appetite from fans. There is also much more NBA on the TV when I’m back home visiting which is a massive plus for me.” Leedham, who played netball until she was 16 before her move across the Atlantic to the USA,

‘You have to make the most of it while you are able to’

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BEST OF BRITISH: Jo in action for Team GB. Photograph courtesy of Trinity Mirror Cheshire

agrees that she and her Team GB team-mates face a tough ask at this summer’s Olympics, she is hopeful that they will put on a show that will inspire a whole new generation of young basketballers, both male and female. “While we would love to pick up a medal, it will be a tough ask for us,” she said. “There are a lot of nations who are far more advanced in terms of the level that their players are playing at but we certainly won’t be going there just to roll over and make up the numbers. “There are some great teams like the US, Australia, Spain and Russia and they will all be eyeing up a medal position. “For us, success would be to really give a great account of ourselves and show just how strong women’s basketball is in the UK and hopefully help move it forward and progress in the coming years. “If the provisions that I never had were to be available to a new set of young players coming into the game that would certainly be a massive step in the right direction.”


COURTSIDE

OVERTIME with COLIN O’REILLY find it hard when people ask me that question as I like so many.”

FRESH from leading his Cheshire Jets side toward a semi-final spot last week, COURTSIDE caught up with Irishman Colin O’Reilly to see what makes him tick. Who is your favourite NBA team? “The Chicago Bulls. I have followed them since I started playing basketball. When they had that amazing team in the mid-90s, when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were playing, they were just unstoppable.” Who is your favourite all time player? “Easy, Jordan. He was just amazing and I think that he is the greatest sportsman that has ever lived.” Who is your favourite current NBA star? “I know that most people would probably say LeBron (James), but I really like Chris Paul. The way he plays the game is just brilliant. He has balance and athleticism in abundance. I would have to say him.” What is your favourite meal? “Spaghetti Bolognese or anything with pasta and chicken. We eat so much of it before matches

Favourite film?

O’Reilly: Photo courtesy of Trinity Mirror Cheshire

“I love Pulp Fiction but my favourite would have to be Fight Club. It’s a brilliant film and I love the twist at the end.” What are your career aims?

that you pretty much have to like it!” Where is your ideal holiday destination? “I would probably say something like Barbados or the Seychelles to relax, but then again I love New York and would like to get to watch a game at Madison Square Garden. That would be an amazing experience.” If you weren’t playing basketball, what would you be doing instead? Tough one. I have never looked beyond basketball to be honest. What is your fondest moment so far in your career to look back on? “Well, it’s been a relatively short career so far so I would have to say making my debut for the Jets against the Newcastle Eagles in 2009. It was something that I will always remember. It was special.” Favourite musician? Probably Jay-Z or Coldplay but I

“To be as successful as I can be with the Jets at the Irish national team. I just want to get as much out of basketball as I can and hopefully I will be able to keep progressing and get to where I want to be. I think that the NBA may be out of reach but I would like to be part of a really successful period for the BBL.

FIXTURES Saturday/Sunday: BBL Play-Off Semi-Finals Cheshire Jets vs Newcastle Eagles, Leicester Riders vs Glasgow Rocks. Next week.... NBA Play-Offs New York Knicks @ Miami, Memphis Grizzlies @ LA Clippers, Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers, LA Lakers @ Dever Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers @ Orlando Magic. All games shown on ESPN US and Sky Sports television, UK.

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