Phillin' The Lane: Worth the Wait

Phillin' The Lane: Worth the Wait

Basketball Australia's US correspondent Phil Moskowitz wraps another week of Aussie Boomers in action in Europe and the United States.

Golden Star Boomer Mark Worthington has been a standout player in the NBL since exploding onto the scene in 2006; now he has taken his skills to Germany.

The 26 year old Aussie has enjoyed a very impressive career thus far including receiving the 2006 NBL Rookie of the Year Award, being named Captain of the South Dragons, and leading the Dragons to an NBL Championship during the 2008/09 season.

He has also been a part of the Boomers for three campaigns (2006- FIBA World Championships, 13th place; 2008- Olympics, 7th place; 2009- FIBA Oceania Championships, Silver Medal).

Having missed the NBL Playoffs as part of the Melbourne Tigers this past season, Wortho signed with Brose Baskets Bamberg of the German BBL (Basketball Bundesliga); which is the highest level of German Basketball.

After a fairly unimpressive first few months in the BBL Worthington had been averaging 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in his 15.3 minutes per game.

This is a drastic difference from the 16.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 steals per game that he had averaged in the NBL this past season.

However, in his first playoff game, Wortho stepped up under the bright lights of the post-season. He scored 16 points (which was a BBL season-high for him) while also adding one rebound and one block in Bamberg’s 80-78 Quarter-Finals victory over Telekom.

In Games 2 and 3 Worthington was kept in check, mostly due to his high foul totals.

In Game 2, he played just 11 minutes, and picked up two fouls while tallying only one point; and in Game 3, Wortho committed five fouls in just 14 minutes on the court. However, he did add five points and tied a season-high five rebounds.

Luckily, despite Worthington’s rough two games, Bamberg pulled out wins in both contests and swept Telekom in the best-of-five series, 3-0.

Bamberg (5th) is now currently facing the 8th seed New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in the Semi-Finals.

The Phantoms knocked off the #1 seed EWE Baskets Oldenburg, in an impressive Quarter-Final Series 3-1.

The Phantoms had momentum and confidence after beating 25-9 Oldenburg, but came up short in Game 1 of the Semi-Finals when Bamberg handed them a convincing 88-77 loss.

In the opening game Worthington returned to form racking up 11 points and four rebounds in his 16 minutes while committing only one personal foul.

Throughout the playoffs he has shot the ball fairly well; overall he is 5-for-9 from behind the arc, 12-for-16 at the foul line, and 3-for-7 on two-point attempts.

As long as Wortho stays out of foul trouble he will be a very productive asset off the bench for Bamberg who has their sights firmly set on winning their third BBL Championship in five years (2005 and 2007).

Unfortunately Worthington’s Boomers teammate Matt Nielsen didn’t have similar success.

Nielsen and Valencia were knocked out of the ACB Playoffs in Spain after loosing both of their first two Quarter-Finals games to Unicaja.

In Game 1 of the series Nielsen played 35 minutes and racked up 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks in the heartbreaking 83-82 loss.

After a tough opening game defeat, it is sometimes hard for players to bounce back and have the same intensity as they had the previous game. Nielsen though, seemed to put the loss behind him and did his best to try and even the series up at 1-1 in Game 2.

Unfortunately, Valencia came up short for the second game in a row and the final score came in at 85-76. Nielsen totaled eight points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 30 minutes.

Also not fairing so well in Spain was Daniel Kickert and Gran Canaria who went up against Regal Barca (31-3) in their Quarter-Final matchup.

8th seeded Gran Canaria (17-17) was trounced for 85 points while only scoring 53 against the competition’s top seed.

In the loss, Kickert saw only three minutes and didn’t register any stats. The team, and Kickert, didn’t fare any better in Game 2 as they were thumped 65-47, and Kickert recorded a DNP (Did not play – Coach’s Decision).

Aleks Maric and Partizan Igokea Beograd, on the other hand, had another stellar week in Serbia. After this week’s pair of victories, Partizan is now 9-1 and in first place in the league.

Maric played a very average first game scoring five points and grabbing two rebounds while adding one assist, block, and steal in his 24 minutes of the 75-72 Partizan victory.

His more impressive game though came later in the week against Hemofarm when Partizan walked away with the 74-69 win.

Maric had a season-high 19 points and recorded six rebounds, an assist, block, and steal in 26 minutes.

In NBA news, Andrew Bogut returned to Milwaukee, after spending some time back in Australia, to get the cast off of his right arm. There is no official word yet on a set rehab schedule for him.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:

        Nielsen and Valencia get knocked out of the ACB Playoffs.

        Worthington and Bamberg beat Telekom in Quarter-Finals to move on and currently have a 1-0 lead over the Phantoms in the Semi-Finals.

        Bogut returned to the US to get his cast removed.

WHAT TO WATCH THS WEEK:

        Worthington and Bamberg to continue their run at the BBL Championship

        Maric to continue to grow and produce more and more each game