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Friday, 17 October 2008

The only people that need to worry about Rillie are opponents

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A few people have been surprised by John Rillie's relatively slow start to the young NBL season and have questioned what is behind his slow down in form. I'm here to say, after watching JR play in the NBL since 1995, a return of his deadly scoring stroke could be just around the corner.

Rillie is the type of player that opposing teams base their defensive strategies around -- his ability to light up is simply that good. And that jump shot has not gone anywhere. Unless the Townsville shooting guard has had his arms transplanted in the off-season, people will have to remember that it was only in last season's quarter finals that he was lighting up the Gold Coast Blaze for 24 points on 6 treys.

Many people will point to the fact that through the first four games of 2008/09 JR is averaging 5.5ppg on 23% shooting, both well below his averages. However this is the life of a shooter. You will have a few nights where the shot is not falling, then before you know it, you're on a massive streak again. Last season up until Round 4, Rillie had four forgettable games of 4, 5, 9 and 11 points. However by mid-season he was in regular form, hitting 20+ with a slew of three-pointers more often than not during that period.

Today on his blog, JR addressed the issue, saying that he too would like to know when his form will be back. "No one is on their game 100% of the time, no matter what your job is. Like any other job for any other employee, I will face lean times. The mark of a professional is how they deal with these times and their ability to push through to the other side."

Worth noting is the unrivalled work ethic of the man:

"I believe in my day to day preparation. I believe that there would be very few, if any, other players in Australia that put in the extra time shooting that I do. And I am talking about both during the season and the off-season. I believe that like anything that someone practices over and over and over, shooting for me is like second nature.

As per a normal day I head out to our practice facility in the morning for training. After our team session has finished, I do my individual shooting practice. On any given day I will make anywhere from 100 to 250 extra baskets. This is something I have done for the duration of my career.

I do not deviate from my routine because it has served me well for so long and I believe that extra time is going to get the job done. If I start to second guess myself and deviate from the tried and tested, it is easy to become confused on what is working and what is not."

Tonight against the Wildcats, the Crocs reaped some of the benefits of JR starting to find form. They may have lost to a Perth Wildcats side newly reloaded with top-class combo-guard Luke Kendall, however Rillie did knock down three treys on his way to 11 points and did the other things which make him such a good player with 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals (FIBA boxscore).

"Townsville captain John Rillie threatened bring the Crocs back from the dead, launching a mini revival with eight third-quarter points, however the Wildcats held strong to lead 83-66 at the final break."

However a near triple double from Perth import Darnell Hinson (10p 11r 9a) and 17 points from forward Ben Knight were too much for the Crocs, in what was reportedly a very physical game.

Next up on the Crocs' schedule is a Round 6 encounter at home with the Sydney Spirit. Look to Rillie to fully turn the corner against his old "West Sydney Razorbacks" who have already built a bit of rivalry with him through the media this season.

And if anyone needs a reminder of a John Rillie explosion, watch this video.

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