Townsville Crocodiles

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Townsville Crocodiles
2014–15 Townsville Crocodiles season
Townsville Crocodiles logo
League NBL
Founded 1986 as Townsville Suns
Arena Townsville RSL Stadium
Arena Capacity 2,500
Location Townsville, Queensland
Team colors Green, Yellow, Black, Light Blue
                   
President Australia Darren Finlay
General manager Australia Jeremy Moffat
Head coach Australia Shawn Dennis
Team captain Australia Steven Marković
Championships 0
Website Crocodiles.com.au
Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away

The Townsville Crocodiles are an Australian men's professional basketball team based in the North Queensland city of Townsville. They compete in the National Basketball League (NBL). The team plays its home games at the Townsville RSL Stadium. Since being established for the 1993 NBL season, the Crocodiles have enjoyed financial stability and sustained community support, but on-court success has eluded them.

Team History[edit]

1986–1992: Gaining admission into the NBL[edit]

Former Brisbane Bullets guard Mark Bragg, a Townsville resident, began campaigning to bring an NBL franchise to Townsville in the late 1980s. The franchise adopted the name of Townsville's State League team, becoming the Townsville Suns. The NBL was ready to admit the Suns, along with fellow Queenslanders the Gold Coast Cougars, in 1990, but financial backing for the Suns' venue fell through.

Local government then got behind Bragg's bid, and the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre was completed in time for the Suns' debut in February 1993.

1993–1998: Early years[edit]

With Bragg at the helm as head coach, the Suns struggled during their debut season, but it only took five games before they recorded their first-ever NBL win, a victory over the Newcastle Falcons. Townsville broke the mould in 1993, becoming the first Australian team to hire an 'import' player from a country other than the United States; Lithuanian player Rimas Kurtinaitis was a crucial part of the team during their debut season. The Suns finished 4-22 and took the wooden spoon.

Townsville would not reach the playoffs in its first six seasons, although they came perilously close in the 1997 season; needing only one win from their final six games to ensure a historic playoff appearance, the Suns went 0-6 after centre Clarence Tyson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Canberra. After a disappointing 1998 campaign, Mark Bragg was sacked as head coach.

Throughout, Townsville fans stuck by the team, ensuring the club set an Australian record for attendances; the Suns sold out their first 69 games at the "Furnace" (capacity 4,141), a streak that was only broken after the venue was expanded for the 1998 season.

1998–2001: Name change and finals basketball[edit]

It was a very different team that took the court in the 1998/99 season. The team had been involved in a dispute with the NBA's Phoenix Suns, who held the "Suns" trademark in Australia. Faced with the prospect of paying Phoenix royalties on merchandise sales, the team changed its name to the Townsville Crocodiles. New head coach Ian Stacker took the reins, and immediately attracted top-name talent like Australian Olympic player Sam Mackinnon, but it would take one more season before Townsville's long-suffering fans saw playoff basketball.

The Crocodiles finished second in the NBL in 1999/2000 with a 22-6 record, meaning they got a first-round bye in the NBL playoffs. But they faced a battle-hardened Perth Wildcats team in the semi-finals, and were defeated 2-1 in front of their disappointed home fans. Perth would go on to win the championship.

The Crocs again went 22-6 the following year and, under the league's new playoff system, eliminated both the Sydney Kings and the Victoria Titans. It came down to the grand final series, where the team lost 2 games to 1- 95-92 in the final game- after a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback by the Wollongong Hawks.

2002–2006: Missed opportunities[edit]

Townsville missed the playoffs in 2002 and the 2003 season looked no better, but the Crocodiles strung together a 16-game winning streak to again finish second on the NBL ladder. (The streak equaled an NBL record.) Townsville lost the opening-round series 2-1 to Wollongong, but by virtue of NBL rules, got a second chance to advance; they were then finally eliminated by the eventual champion Sydney Kings.

After another disappointing season in 2005–06, Townsville head coach Ian Stacker's contract was not renewed. The Crocodiles again failed to make the playoffs.

Trevor Gleeson was appointed coach and the team improved on their failed 2005-06 season by making the play-offs. They won their first final against one of the newcomers in the Singapore Slingers but lost their second to the Sydney Kings.

2006–2009: Return to finals[edit]

2007–08 saw the Crocs struggle in their first ten games, only winning three matches. Before the season, the team was struggling with injuries to both 7 foot centre's Ben Pepper (back) and Greg Vanderjagt (knee) along with swingman Bradley Sheridan (back). The team ended up losing newly signed import Rosell Ellis who suffered a freak of an injury when he tore his pectoral muscle during a weight session just after two matches. In those two matches saw Ellis get 27 points and 11 rebounds in both matches. The Crocs then brought in streetball legend Corey 'Homicide' Wiliams which saw the Crocs turn back into a strong team. With also help from the crocs bench saw them finish the season in fifth place with a record of 17-13. But just like the 2006-07 season, saw the crocs win their first game against another newcomer Gold Coast Blaze but were once again saw them smashed by the team who finished one win higher than the Crocs in the Perth Wildcats 96-78.

The crocs have now made a push to make it to the top four in the 2008-09 season when they re-signed imports Williams and Ellis and also signings Brad Williamson and Steven Broom from the Brisbane Bullets and former Boomer Russell Hinder.

The 2008/09 season saw them struggle to have a full roster with Bradley Sheridan (ankles), Ben Pepper (personal reasons) and Steven Broom (shoulder) leaving the club before the season had even began. The local fans were able to rally behind the club to finish 5th. The Crocs were unable to make the grand final series as they were knocked out by eventual champions South Dragons.

2013–present[edit]

On April 8, 2013, the Crocodiles announced that Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd was relinquishing its National Basketball League license, putting the Crocodiles' 2013–14 season in doubt.[1][2] In September 2013, the Crocodiles re-entered the league as a community owned club under head coach, Shawn Dennis.[3][4][5]

In June 2014, the Crocodiles announced that the Townsville RSL Stadium would be their new home court for the 2014–15 season.[6]

On 15 July 2014, the Crocodiles announced the appointment of Errol McMillan to the role of General Manager.[7]

Honour roll[edit]

NBL Championships: 0
NBL Grand Final appearances: 1 (2001)
NBL Most Valuable Players: Robert Rose (2001), Corey Williams (2010)
All-NBL First Team: Clarence Tyson (1997), Ray Owes (1998), Sam Mackinnon (2000), Robert Rose (2001), Larry Abney (2006), Corey Williams (2010)
NBL Coach of the Year: Ian Stacker (2000, 2003), Trevor Gleeson (2011)
NBL Rookie of the Year: Brad Newley (2005)
NBL Most Improved Player: Andrew Goodwin (2000)
NBL Best Sixth Man: Ben Knight (2000), Brad Newley (2005)

Source: Crocodiles.com.au

Kevin Sugars Medal (Club MVP)[edit]

  • 1993 Ricky Jones
  • 1994 Darryl Johnson
  • 1995 Derek Rucker
  • 1996 Clarence Tyson
  • 1997 Derek Rucker
  • 1998 Derek Rucker
  • 1999 Robert Rose
  • 2000 Robert Rose & Sam Mackinnon
  • 2001 Robert Rose
  • 2002 Robert Rose
  • 2003 Pat Reidy & Wayne Turner
  • 2004 Pat Reidy
  • 2005 John Rillie
  • 2006 Larry Abney
  • 2007 John Rillie & Larry Abney
  • 2008 John Rillie
  • 2009 Corey Williams
  • 2010 Corey Williams
  • 2011 Luke Schenscher
  • 2012 Peter Crawford
  • 2013 Gary Ervin
  • 2014 Brian Conklin

Current roster[edit]

Townsville Crocodiles roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt.
PG 1 Australia Marković, Steven 70001900000000000001.90 m (6 ft 3 in) 700192000000000000092 kg (203 lb)
PG 6 Australia Norton, Mitch 70001840000000000001.84 m (6 ft 0 in) 700184000000000000084 kg (185 lb)
F 12 Australia Blanchfield, Todd 70002000000000000002.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 700194000000000000094 kg (207 lb)
C 13 Australia Vanderjagt, Greg 70002130000000000002.13 m (7 ft 0 in) 7002110000000000000110 kg (243 lb)
PF 14 United States Conklin, Brian (I) 70001980000000000001.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 7002105000000000000105 kg (231 lb)
F 15 New Zealand Henry, Leon 70002020000000000002.02 m (6 ft 8 in) 7002105000000000000105 kg (231 lb)
G 16 Australia Djeric, Mirko 70001910000000000001.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 700189000000000000089 kg (196 lb)
G 20 Australia Kann, Chris (DP) 70001880000000000001.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
PF 31 Australia Holmes, Jacob (C) 70002009999999999992.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 700194000000000000094 kg (207 lb)
C 32 United States Gladness, Mickell (I) 70002110000000000002.11 m (6 ft 11 in) 7002104000000000000104 kg (229 lb)
G/F 35 Australia Steindl, Clint 70002000000000000002.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 700188000000000000088 kg (194 lb)
G/F 40 Australia Howard, Tom (DP) 70002000000000000002.00 m (6 ft 7 in)
F Australia McMath, Claybrin (DP) 70002029999999999992.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 700195000000000000095 kg (209 lb)
F Australia Diop, T. J. (DP) 70002029999999999992.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 700198000000000000098 kg (216 lb)
PG Australia Dixon, Ben (DP) 70001840000000000001.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Head coach
  • Australia Shawn Dennis
Assistant coach(es)
  • Australia Mike Kelly
  • Australia Rodney Anderson
Team manager
  • Australia Kevin Sugars

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Development player
  • (I) Import player
  • Injured Injured

Roster
Updated: 28 August 2014

Depth Chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Bench Reserve
C Mickell Gladness Greg Vanderjagt T. J. Diop
PF Brian Conklin Jacob Holmes Claybrin McMath
SF Todd Blanchfield Leon Henry Tom Howard
SG Clint Steindl Mirko Djeric Christopher Kann
PG Steven Marković Mitch Norton Ben Dixon

Notable players[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]