Waikato Pistons

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Waikato Pistons
Waikato Pistons logo
League National Basketball League
Founded 1982
Folded November 2014
History Hamilton
1982–1986
Waikato Warriors
1987–2000
Waikato Titans
2001–2005
Waikato Pistons
2006–2011; 2013–2014
Arena Hamilton Boys' High School
Location Hamilton, Waikato,
New Zealand
Team colors Black, yellow, red, white
Championships 4 (2001, 2002, 2008, 2009)

The Waikato Pistons were a New Zealand basketball team based in Hamilton. The Pistons competed in the National Basketball League (NBL) and played their home games at Hamilton Boys' High School.

The Pistons did not compete in the 2012 NBL season after the Waikato Basketball Council decided to make community basketball its top priority.[1] The Pistons returned to the NBL in 2013,[2] but after two seasons, they withdrew again; the Waikato Basketball Council felt their resources were better placed on less expensive development operations.[3]

Team history[edit]

The team made their first appearance in the NBL in 1982 as Hamilton, later changing their name to the Waikato Warriors in 1987. In 2001, they were renamed the Titans before changing their name again in 2006 to the Pistons.

2000 to 2005[edit]

In 2000, the Warriors lost in the semi-final to the Nelson Giants 105–100 with Darryl Johnson top scoring for the Warriors with 27 points to go with 19 rebounds. Phill Jones of the Giants top scored for them with 25 points. In 2001, the newly-named Titans, under coach Jeff Green, enjoyed much success as they collected the franchise's first NBL title. Clifton Bush top scored in the grand final with 26 points to go with 11 rebounds, as they defeated the Wellington Saints 112–97. The Titans went on to win back-to-back championships in 2002 after defeating the Nelson Giants 85–83 in the grand final. Brendon Pongia top scored in the decider with 17 points. In 2003, the Pistons went for three in a row but lost in the final to Wellington 97–88. The 2004 season saw the Titans go 10–8 under coach Ken Strother.[4] In 2005, under coach Tim McTamney,[5] the Titans lost in the semi-finals to the Nelson Giants, 77–65.

2006 to 2009[edit]

In 2006, the Titans were renamed the Pistons.[6][7] Under coach McTamney,[8] the Pistons finished ninth with a dismal 4–14 record. The 2007 season saw Murray McMahon step in to the head coaching role. The ended with the Pistons losing their semi-final clash in overtime to the Nelson Giants 109–103 despite a 28-point effort from Jason Crowe.[9] The 2008 season saw the Pistons once again bring the winning feeling back to Waikato as they won their third NBL championship, sweeping the Wellington Saints in a best-of-three series. The 2009 season saw another coaching change after the unexpected death of McMahon in July 2008.[10] Australian Dean Vickerman was appointed head coach for the 2009 season and led the Pistons to their second straight title, defeating the Nelson Giants 2–0 in the best-of-three finals series. Top scorers were Adam Ballinger with 22 in the first game and Justin Bailey with 32 in the second game.[11] It was Waikato's second back-to-back championship effort.

2010 season[edit]

In 2010, the Pistons made the finals again under coach Dean Vickerman despite a mid-season mishap. In April 2010, after an incident in a Napier bar, import Eric Devendorf was released by the team just hours after spending time in a Napier police station.[12] They went on to face a strong Wellington Saints team in the finals but lost the series 2–1. The top scorers in the games for the Pistons were Thomas Abercrombie with 32 in the first game, Rashad Tucker with 18 in the second, and Abercrombie again in game three with 29.

2011 season[edit]

An exciting signing for the Pistons in 2011 was former Harbour Heat big man and New Zealand Breakers development player B. J. Anthony. The first of the import signings for the Pistons was former Louisville star Jerry Smith, who had recently played in the NBA Development League for the Springfield Armor. The second was Fresno State standout Sylvester Seay. However, Seay was later released by the Pistons after not suiting coach Vickerman's style. Former import Jason Crowe subsequently stepped in to fill the Pistons' vacant import spot for the rest of the season. The Pistons also welcomed back swingman Thomas Abercrombie, big man Alex Pledger, live wire Ray Cameron, shooting guard Hayden Allen and solid sixth man Puke Lenden. Youngster Marco Alexander also joined the Pistons for 2011. Despite the promising squad, the Pistons were defeated in the semi-finals, losing 95–86 to the Hawke's Bay Hawks.[13]

On 27 October 2011, it was announced that the Pistons would not be entering the 2012 season after the Waikato Basketball Council decided to make community basketball its top priority.[1]

2013 season[edit]

In November 2012, the Waikato Basketball Council confirmed that they were granted a three-year NBL licence and thus re-entered the Pistons into the NBL for the 2013 season.[14] Notable signings for their return season included Marco Alexander, Nick Barrow, Ana Haku and Tai Webster,[15] while guard Vernon Hamilton and centre Zack Atkinson joined the squad as the two imports.[16] Just two games into the season, however, the Pistons released Hamilton[17] and replaced him with forward Garrius Holloman, who had been recently released from the Manawatu Jets.[18] Things did not go well for the Pistons in 2013, as they finished second last on the ladder with a dismal 2–14 record.

2014 season[edit]

In November 2013, former Titan and Piston Pero Cameron was announced as the organisation's new head coach/player development manager.[19] His first player appointments were Jack Salt, Alex Talma, Nick Barrow,[20] Zac Carter,[21] and Casey Frank.[22] While Thomas Abercrombie initially agreed to join the team in 2014 for the first time since 2011,[23] he was released from his contract prior to the start of the season to allow him to sign in France.[24] To round out the squad, Cameron picked up Akeem Wright and Corin Henry as the two imports.[25][26] Despite the promising line-up, the Pistons had a poor season as they missed the playoffs after finishing sixth with an 8–10 record.

On 26 November 2014, it was announced that the Pistons would not be entering the 2015 season after the Waikato Basketball Council felt their resources were better placed on less expensive development operations.[27]

Players[edit]

2014 roster[edit]

Waikato Pistons roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
PG 6 New Zealand Lacey, Matt 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
SG 7 New Zealand Comer, James 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
SF 9 New Zealand King-Hawea, Dyson (DP) 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)
G/F 11 Australia Carter, Zac 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
PG 12 United States Henry, Corin (I) 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
SG 13 New Zealand Noyer, Karl 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)
F 14 New Zealand Talma, Alex 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
PF 15 New Zealand Barrow, Nick 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
G/F 16 United States Wright, Akeem (I) 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)
F/C 20 New Zealand Salt, Jack 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in)
PF 43 New Zealand Frank, Casey 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • New Zealand Zico Coronel
  • New Zealand Anthony Corban
Team manager
  • New Zealand Dave Murry

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

Notable past players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Anderson, Ian (27 October 2011). "Waikato Pistons out of 2012 national league". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  2. ^ Waikato Pistons back in the action
  3. ^ Waikato Pistons pull out of NBL competition
  4. ^ Basketball: Search continues for Titans coach
  5. ^ Basketball: Tall talent shuffled as season set for tip-off
  6. ^ 2005 | Basketball New Zealand
  7. ^ 2006 | Basketball New Zealand
  8. ^ Old boys return for a date with the Pistons
  9. ^ Game Box Score – Giants vs Pistons
  10. ^ Basketball: Champion Waikato Pistons' coach, Murray McMahon dies
  11. ^ Piston power socks it to Nelson
  12. ^ Eric Devendorf dumped by Waikato Pistons
  13. ^ Waikato Pistons 86 - 95 HBS Bank Hawks
  14. ^ Pistons return to NBL
  15. ^ Tai Webster's signing should get Pistons firing
  16. ^ Waikato nab big man Atkinson to bolster side
  17. ^ Hamilton wrong fit for Waikato Pistons
  18. ^ New import for Waikato Pistons
  19. ^ Cameron a man Pistons can look up to
  20. ^ Pistons Grab Salt
  21. ^ Pistons Add Carter
  22. ^ Casey Frank signs with the Waikato Pistons
  23. ^ Abercrombie Signs With Pistons
  24. ^ Abercrombie Signs in France
  25. ^ Pistons Signal Title Contention With Signing
  26. ^ Pistons Add ANBL All-Star To Loaded Roster
  27. ^ Pistons Out Of 2015 NBL
  28. ^ Basketball: Punters may take a slam-dunking on close finals
  29. ^ Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell's impressive basketball journey, Whangarei to Invercargill