Brad Hill to return for 6th season.
The Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers most experienced player has committed to return for the 2018 season.
Brad Hill a veteran of 276 NBL games and 5 national SEABL finals resulting in 3 championships is gearing up to return in pursuit of more success.
End of season ankle surgery and a move to Cairns to be with his wife Julie signalled a likely end to the 2 time Alan Scott medallist’s tenure with club.
Numerous discussion’s with new Pioneers president Tom Kosch, successful surgery and the all clear from wife Julie has led to Brad back to Mount Gambier.
Brad contributed 15.7 points 6.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season as his versatility continued to be a key component in the teams championship run.
“Having Brad recommit to the team is huge for us” “He is a do it all type player, who like his team mates has always put the team first” Pioneers coach Richard Hill commented.
Being able to return 4 starters from last year’s team gives the Pioneers a solid base to defend their SEABL title.
“ I really like our team, the addition of Majok, Lewis and Kyle will give us a new and exciting look without causing much disruption” “Brad together with Tom and Eze have been part of 5 consecutive conference championships and provide great leadership and stability to compliment their obvious talent” “This is a very good league that continues to grow and improve as we must if we wish to contend again” Hill concluded.
The Pioneers squad have been working individually and in small groups during December and January and will continue with this until the whole group comes together on the 22nd of February.
The team will play an extensive pre-season schedule, commencing with the annual Millicent tournament the first week in March followed by a tournament in Geelong on March 17th and 18th and games the following week against Kilsyth and Dandenong in Melbourne.
Majok’s our Man!
The Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers are pleased and excited to announce the signing of Adelaide 36er big man Majok Deng.
Majok is currently playing his second season with the 36ers after an impressive college career at La-Monroe University in Louisiana where he was named all Sun Belt first and all tournament team in 2016. Majok’s 18.7 points 7 rebounds 2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game were enough to earn him an invitation to join the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Summer league team.
NBL devotees would have been impressed by Majok’s recent form with Adelaide where he has started to find his groove and has played a huge roll in a number of their recent wins.
Pioneers Head coach Richard Hill is very pleased to have Majok join the Pioneers program. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work Majok out a couple of times and more importantly get to know him” “He will be a great fit for our team and the community of Mount Gambier”
Majok has a scorers mentality and is a unique athlete possessing great length and a competitive spirit that will fit well with his like minded team mates.
A South Australian who played his junior basketball with the Forestville Eagles and has worked tirelessly with his mentor ex NBL star Rashad Tucker and 36ers coach Joey Wright to continue to grow his game Majok is a perfect fit for the Pioneers.
“Having another quality South Australian player join our team is very important to our club and fits our plan for ongoing success” coach Hill concluded.
With the recent announcement of captain Tom Daly’s commitment for two years the Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers’ roster is almost complete.
Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Frankston Blues Match Preview Report Friday 19th May 2017
The Pioneers will be looking to redeem themselves this week when they return home to take on a Frankston side desperately looking to salvage their season. The match will be the first of several special jersey nights with the green and black being replaced by the red and gold of silver sponsors McDonalds. “It’s a big night for the club on Friday with the team wearing Maccas red and gold in support of one of our Silver sponsors” said Pioneers coach Richard Hill.
The Pioneers were humbled against Bendigo last weekend, being down as much as 36 points before eventually falling by 21 points. Coach Hill is looking for his “team to bounce back hard after our loss on the road last week. Training on Tuesday was pretty tough as was our film review” he said. The match against Bendigo was easily one of the poorest showings from the Pioneers in the last 5-6 years but it is the reality check that the side needed heading into the second half of the season after eight consecutive victories. Frankston have struggled to piece together competitive performances and are coming off a hiding of their own by 24 points against the Supercats in Round 7.
Frankston may be sitting in last place in the East Conference with just one win from nine matches but they do boast quality across their roster. According to Coach Hill, “although Frankston have been struggling for wins, they have a good deal of talent, with two quality imports and a volume scorer in Benny Lewis”. Lewis has played in the NBL, NBA D-League and in Europe and brings a wealth of experience to the floor and is enjoying a hot start to the season to date putting up 14.7ppg, 4.7rpg and 3.3 apg.
Hill is also wary of Alex Francis “who looks very impressive on tape and would probably be leading the league in scoring if he was converting better from the free throw line”. Francis poses a huge threat in the paint and will be a major challenge for Daniel Alexander and Luke Jamieson on the interior as his current stats of 20ppg and 10.6 rpg suggest. Hill is aware of the threat that Francis poses and believes a team effort will get the job done, stating that “Francis will provide a real challenge for Daniel and Luke and they will need some real support from their team mates to contain him”.
Tom Daly was enjoying a stellar start to his first season as captain of the Pioneers but had his colours lowered severely against a Dyami Starks inspired Bendigo side last weekend. Starks would pile on 32 points against Daly who would not bother the scoreboard attendant until the final term when he finally broke free for nine consolation points. Daniel Alexander was also well below his best as he faced the man mountains of CJ Aiken and Matt Andronicus with little assistance from Luke Jamieson and John Jones. Hill expects both Daly and Alexander to return to form against the Blues, stating that “Tom and Daniel were below their usual standard in Bendigo and I would expect them to bounce back on our home court”.
The true strength for the Pioneers in this match will be at the guard positions with both Tom Daly and Erik Burdon looking set to dominate against Tristan Lloyd and Jake Macaulay. The Pioneers should have too much depth across these positions with Kane DeWit and Jack Madgen providing more than serviceable relief to Daly and Burdon as required. Hill echoes these sentiments in stating that “our advantage should be in the guard spots where we have very good depth of talent”.
The stage is set for an epic encounter with the Pioneers looking for a confidence boosting victory after an abysmal showing in their last outing. Frankston will be looking to cause the boil over of the season to date as they look to gain some respect from their Eastern Conference peers. Expect early fireworks as both sides come ready to play but it is a case of being wary of the wounded Pioneers who are smarting after last week’s horrific performance and with their coach’s words ringing loudly in their ears they will look to remind the competition of their true identity as championship contenders.
Mount Gambier Pioneers vs NW Tasmania Thunder Match Preview – Friday 28th April 2017
The Mount Gambier Pioneers return home this Friday night as they look to continue their stellar early season form against a North-West Tasmanian opponent intent on turning their season around.
Despite starting with just one win from five matches and being at polar opposites to the Pioneers (5-0) in the East, the Thunder have great confidence that they are just one win from taking back their season and moving up the conference standings.
The Thunder have signed two new imports in guard Ahmad Starks (Oregon State) and power forward Jeremiah Ingram (North Carolina Central University) and both will be looking to repay the faith shown in them by club management by filling the box score this week and leading their side to a much needed victory. The Thunder have had their struggles in putting their new group on the floor together with Starks joining the team late as a replacement for Akeem Richmond (family reasons). Pioneers Coach Richard Hill is well aware of Stark’s capabilities stating that Starks “is very small but had a good college career at Oregon State and was one of the leading players in the top Swedish league last season” and that he “would expect the Thunder to be an improved and dangerous unit tonight”.
The Pioneers are enjoying the perfect start to season 2017 having won all five of their matches including a strong showing last weekend that yielded victories against Dandenong and Ballarat on a back-to-back set. Daniel Alexander continues to impress in the green and black with averages of 18ppg, 9rpg and 2.2apg and was rightfully awarded for his efforts when he was named in the Week 4 Team of the Week. Pioneers Captain Tom Daly is enjoying a red hot start to the season with his 20.2ppg, 4.6rpg and 4.8apg proving highly valuable given the slow start to the season by Brad Hill and Erik “Eze” Burdon from the field. “Eze and Brad have both been shooting the ball poorly from three, usually a strength for us…to be able to win both games last weekend with them down was very encouraging” said Coach Hill.
Coach Hill was impressed with the way Alexander and Daly have gone about it so far this season stating that “Daniel and Tom have been performing consistently at a high level”. Last week it was Jack Madgen and John Jones who stood up for the Pioneers and Hill was quick to credit their work stating that Alexander and Daly “were well supported by the group last weekend, particularly Jack Madgen and Big John who both had their best games for the club”.
The Thunder will be looking to take the crowd out of the equation early on but there are question marks over their ability to stay in the contest for the duration of the evening given their lack of playing time together. The Pioneers have weathered the fast start storm in recent weeks and been able to quickly find their feet and get back in the game but it is not a trend they will want to continue moving deeper into the season.
The key matchup will be between point guards Tom Daly and Ahmad Starks as both look to provide quality distribution of the basketball to their shooters and ensure the floor is run like clockwork. The hustle of Daly will need to be matched by Starks on the interior, he will need to remain accountable for the Pioneers Captain all night and he will need to receive support from his teammates if he is going to contain the Pioneers leading scorer.
Jeremiah Ingram (17ppg, 7.25rpg, 1.25apg in 2017) brings a strong presence to the paint and the 6”7 power forward who joined the Thunder straight from his senior year at North Carolina Central University “comes in as a hybrid power forward who can play inside and outside” according to Thunder Coach Sam Armstrong. Ingram’s athleticism makes for an intriguing matchup with Daniel Alexander whose aerial assaults in recent weeks have been compelling viewing. According to Armstrong, Ingram “played smaller ball as a guard in college but is really strong and has a big rebounding mentality as well” which will test Alexander to his limits.
Despite their slow start to the season, the Thunder have a solid lineup that is sure to fire anytime soon. Once Starks is fully integrated into their system they have the potential to be a serious threat but the question remains whether that will be this week. The Thunder have lacked offensive firepower recently and put up just 63 points against Sandringham last week. Meanwhile, the Pioneers have continued to score heavily even with two of their best shooters in Burdon and Hill misfiring at 31% and 39% respectively in 2017. Look for the Pioneers to get the early advantage and be unrelenting as they seek to continue their journey as the “Redeem Team” making amends for last season’s championship miss.
The Pioneer’s face-off against the Bendigo Braves in their first home game for 2017! Game kicks off at 8pm!
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