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Saturday, 2 August 2008

NBL News : Aaron Bruce, Sydney Spirit, Jason Castro

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The Sydney Spirit naming saga continues. According to the Bendigo Advertiser, Bendigo Spirit chairman Jock Clark has unleashed a stinging attack on Basketball Australia for its handling of the Sydney Spirit name controversy.

The National Basketball League was expected to rule on whether Sydney could keep the Spirit name at a board meeting on Thursday night.

However, the NBL board has deferred its ruling - asking Basketball Australia and NBL chief executive Scott Derwin to provide further information before the final decision is made.

A fired up Clark said Bendigo had been shown no respect by Basketball Australia.

“We gave birth to the Spirit name, we came up with it . . . what has Sydney done to deserve it,’’ Clark said.

Aaron Bruce has become the second major recruiting coup of the off-season for the Adelaide 36ers, after the earlier addition of former NBA centre Luke Schenscher. Bruce should have a fine NBL career, provided he doesn't get lured overseas again after having a crack at making an NBA squad this past month. His father revealled that Bruce was offered contracts in Italy and Germany for similar money to that which the Sixers signed him for. Perth and New Zealand were also trying to gain his signature. Now the 36ers just have to secure a second import and it appears that Julius Hodge will no longer be that man:

Adelaide coach Scott Ninnis said he was surprised by reports Hodge had committed to the Tigers but confident Adelaide would make strong signings to finalise it's roster.

"It was quite interesting to read that because we've received a verbal commitment as well," Ninnis said.

"I looked at that (Herald Sun article) with some interest but from our point of view we haven't been sitting back on our hands waiting for Julius Hodge to decide whether he's going to come back or not.”

Jason Castro isn't so attracted to the Singapore Slingers since they pulled out of the NBL and is trying to make his way back to the Phillipines and make his first stint in the PBA, after being PBL MVP three times. His agent is looking at a 50% buyout.

Point guard Shane McDonald is still excited about his prospects with the Slingers this season. It appears that they may still play some NBL teams in the near future.

"It is pretty exciting," McDonald said. "The club has made offers to the top teams in China, Korea, the Philippines and also Australia. A couple of teams are very interested in playing.
"So we might still play a couple of NBL sides this year."

McDonald said he had been left in a much better position than players from former NBL clubs Sydney and Brisbane, who dropped out of the league after last season.

"We are in a much different situation," McDonald said. "Those guys were left with nothing while we have had our contracts guaranteed and are still training together.

"I have a contract for the next eight months so I will be able to keep playing professional basketball."

The Slingers finished bottom of the NBL ladder last season but signed a number of promising players.

"We would have given the NBL a real shake this season," McDonald said. "We have a great group here and have been looking great.

"I am sad I won't be coming back to Australia as much this season but we have a great group here.

"The club wants to start a new Asian league next year so these matches could be the start of that."

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