Penney (29) joins six other non-contracted members at the camp which will be cut to three by the end. Penney was just the second New Zealand native to play in the NBA after Sean Marks (Washington Wizards) when he suited up for both Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2003-04 seasons.
His contract, along with a handful of others at the New Zealand Breakers, has a clause for NBA exemption if it was to arise.
Penney averaged 25 points per game at the World Champs.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The All Blacks wisest of wise men will have a huge smile on his face with the amount of in-form players to choose from for the end of year tour kicking off in Hong Kong on October 30th. But it will be bitter sweet for Graham Henry as he tries to assemble a 30 man squad for the tour because it will mean some deserving players will be left behind. The log jam seems to be in the backs where only fourteen players will be picked meaning quality players, especially mid-fielders and outside backs, will be left behind. Who do you take in the mid-field out of (aside from incumbents Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith) Luke McAlister, Robert Fruean, Sonny Bill Williams, Isaia Toeava, Benson Stanley, Ben Smith, Rene Ranger, and even, dare I say it, Tana Umaga? Thats 10 deserving players at least. And what about outside backs? Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Sitivini Sivivatu, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Ranger, and Smith. Will Henry increase the squad numbers? He might just so as to give his conscience a rest.
So I thought I would try and pick it. A squad of 30 consisting of 16 forwards and 14 backs and assuming Henry takes three hookers, three halfbacks and specialist cover for Richie McCaw at openside.
Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg
Cory Jane, Sitivini Sivivatu, Rene Ranger
Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Robert Fruean
Monday, September 13, 2010
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Lamar Odom scored 15 and had 11 rebounds on route to a World Championship finals win over host nation Turkey 81-64.
Durant was named the tournament MVP after leading the USA through the tournament unbeaten and scoring a USA record 38 points in the semi final match against Lithuaina. The USA had not won the title since 1994 and the win was equally impressive and satifying for the players after they were dubbed a "B team" on account of all 2008 Olympians, the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, staying home for the summer.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski finally got the gold medal after his two previous attempts left him with two bronze medals. The win also means automatic qualification to the 2012 Olympic Games where Krzyzewski said the team would be made up of half of this years FIBA winning side and the 2008 Olympic team.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Kevin Durant scored 38 points and Lamar Odom had 13 and 10 rebounds as the USA beat Lithuania 89-74 to advance to the final of the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
Odom also had three blocked shots in a sublime defensive effort that saw the USA get a to a 15 point lead by halftime. Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala had four steals and Russell Westbrook a huge blocked shot on a Lithuanian fast break to lead the charge. Lithuanian NBA star Linas Kleiza could only manage four points on 1 of 11 shooting in the game. Durant's 38 points is a USA record surpassing Carmelo Anthony's 35 point effort.
The USA now meets hosts Turkey in tomorrows final after it pipped Serbia 83-82. USA has not won a World Championship since 1994.
The 28-16 loss to the Gold Coast Titans on Friday night proved costly for the New Zealand Warriors as other results last night left the side without a second chance to make the semi-finals in the worst possible outcome.
Both the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers lost in upsets last night to the Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders respectively meaning both those sides get a second crack at the semis and leaving the Warriors out in the cold.
The Tigers managed a 19-15 loss in a golden point thriller while the Raiders scored late in the match to win 24-22. The complex McIntyre system left the fifth placed Warriors needing two of either the Roosters, Raiders or Sea Eagles to lose to advance.
The Warriors are the first side eliminated from the playoffs.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
For what seems like an age now, Aaron Cruden has sat on the bench for the All Blacks behind the mercurial Dan Carter. He was picked on merit, his exploits for the New Zealand Under 20's and his brilliance for his beloved Manawatu, but the jury is still out on whether he can foot it at the top tier.
Cruden is small. That for me is his greatest weakness. I don't agree with those people who say that "size doesn't matter." It's usually people with a height problem that express this cliche anyway. The truth is, it does. There's no doubt that he can tackle, but his stature will allow stronger players to offload and that is where he will struggle. His kicking game is still developing and his goal kicking is a bigger problem although with Piri Weepu inside him the problem is covered over somewhat. And what of his control and composure? The games he has played off the bench, the All Blacks have been well and truly in control of the match and so it was just a matter of getting out there and slotting in. Starting and controlling is a different story.
The key for Cruden will be Weepu inside him and Ma'a Nonu outside, and playing his natural game which is to run and create. Any hesitation or deviation on his normal game could spell disaster for the youngster. I wish him well as I'm sure the rest of the country does and by the end of the match, I hope the jury has reached a decision and that it goes in Cruden's favour.
Aaron Cruden statistics:
Position: First five-eighth
Height: 1.78m (5ft 10in)
Provincial Club: Manawatu
Super 14 team: Wellington Hurricanes
Test Caps: 5 (5 points)
The New Zealand Warriors face an anixous wait to see if they will have another shot in the playoffs after suffering defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast Titans 28-16 at Skilled Park last night.
The Warriors now rely on two of either the Canberra Raiders, Sydney Roosters or Manly Sea Eagles to lose if they are to play again next weekend.
It was a magical start for the Aucklanders who opened the scoring thanks to an Aaron Heremaia try early in the match but from then on the Warrors wilted. The simple game plan that has worked so well all year went seemingly by the wayside as Manu Vatuvei only managed to get his hands on the ball very occasionally. The big winger needed just one try to become the Warriors all-time leading try scorer and did so late in the game but was largely unemployed out on the left wing. As well as the slain "Beast" the visitors sorely missed explosive half Ian Henderson who might have provided the spark needed to get the his side on the front foot.
In stark contrast, the Titans played a fantastic game, Mat Rogers and his halves pairing Scott Prince controlled the game with ease. Both were given ample time and space by the Warriors defence and they exploited it.
Gold Coast Titans 28 (W Zillman 2, K Gordon, M Rogers, C Toopi tries; S Prince 4 cons)
New Zealand Warriors 16 (A Heremaia, J Moon, M Vatuvei; J Maloney 2 cons)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The All Blacks side to play Australia this weekend has been named and as expected Aaron Cruden and Piri Weepu have been named in the halves in the absense of Dan Carter. Colin Slade should make his debut off the bench in place of Cruden and Rene Ranger forces his way back into the team.
15. Mils Muliaina 14. Cory Jane 13. Conrad Smith 12. Ma'a Nonu 11. Israel Dagg 10. Aaron Cruden 9. Piri Weepu 8. Kieran Reid 7. Richie McCaw (c) 6. Victor Vito 5. Tom Donnelly 4. Brad Thorn 3. Owen Franks 2. Keven Mealamu 1. Tony Woodcock
16. Corey Flynn 17. Ben Franks 18. Sam Whitelock 19. Jerome Kaino 20. Jimmy Cowan 21. Colin Slade 22. Rene Ranger
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
New Zealand's Tall Blacks have come up short in their bid to make the final eight teams at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey losing to lower ranked Russia 78-56.
The Kiwis struggled with the size and strength of the Russians and main offensive weapon Kirk Penney was in early foul trouble and played most of the final quarter with four fouls. Despite this Penney still top scored in the match with 21 points.
Andrey Vorontsevich top scored for Russia with 18 points and led his team to a date in the quarter finals with the United States who subsequently thrashed Angola 121-66 earlier on.
Friday, September 3, 2010
With the FIBA World Championships well underway and New Zealand winning three out of it's five matches in Turkey including an upset over France, it got me thinking about the players involved. France has three current NBA players in its squad, those being Boris Diaw (Charlotte Bobcats) a former NBA Most Improved Player award winner, Nicholas Batum (Portland Trailblazers) and Ian Mahinmi (Dallas Mavericks). New Zealand has...well...no one. Not one current NBA player. Why not? How can it be ranked 13th in the world and boast no players playing in the most competitive league in the world? Guard and lynch pin Kirk Penney is the only player in the current New Zealand squad with NBA experience. He was signed to two separate 10 day contracts with the LA Clippers and the Miami Heat back in 2003-04. Sean Marks (New Orleans Hornets) is the only other Kiwi ever to play in the NBA and boasts a great career thus far. So why? Hell even Iran has a current NBA player (Hamed Haddadi, Memphis Grizzlies)!
I decided to compile a list of the teams competing at the Champs in 2010 highlighting their current NBA players from most to least:
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder, pictured)
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
Eric Gordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Don't forget about the superstar players that aren't featuring in Turkey. Aside from the obvious Americans, there is German Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks, pictured), Argentinian Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Frenchman Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Australian Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks), Chinaman Yao Ming (Houston Rockets), Spaniard Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), and Canadian Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns).
If I was a scout and watching New Zealand compete, I'd be looking to resign Penney and give him an actual shot at some game time, and the explosive and lethal Thomas Abercrombie.
Kirk Penney scored 25 points lead his Tall Blacks side into the second round in emphatic fashion after beating the more fancied France 82-70.
It means that New Zealand finished third in pool D and will now play Russia on Sunday.
Undersized power forward Mika Vukona scored 15 points to help Penney who once again showed his class. Penney, the former Miami Heat and LA Clippers guard, is second in scoring in the tournament with 25.4 points per game. He trails Houston Rockets big man Luis Scola of Argentina on 29 ppg and is in company with three other NBA players in the top five.
For France, Yannick Bokolo scored 13 points in the loss meaning it finished fourth in the pool and will play host nation Turkey on Saturday.
More FIBA World Championships basketball reading here.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Canterbury first five-eighth Colin Slade will make his All Blacks debut on Saturday evening when the All Blacks play Australia in the final Tri-Nations match in Sydney.
Slade comes in to the squad for Dan Carter who is recovering from ankle surgery. Manawatu and All Blacks reserve Aaron Cruden will make his first start at the pivot.
It is the only change from the squad that was picked to go on the South African leg of the Tri-Nations. The only question left is who will kick the goals in the match and Piri Weepu looks set to take that role starting ahead of incumbent Jimmy Cowan at halfback.
The New Zealand Tall Blacks have picked up their first win in the 2010 FIBA World Championships downing Lebanon 108-76.
The win came on the back of 26 points from the tournaments leading scorer Kirk Penney who scored 37 in the first match against Lithuania and 21 against Spain two days ago. The former NBA player is averaging 28 points per game.
The big improver of the Tall Blacks line-up has been Thomas Abercrombie who scored 23 points in the win. The former Washington State College rep has been explosive around the rim and produced some more highlights throughout the game.
Lebanon's Fadi El-Khatib was his sides best scoring 18 points.
New Zealand's next opponent is Canada in two days time.
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