Martin Cattalini steals stadium fixture
PERTH—Management at Challenge Stadium were outraged last night as members of the Perth Wildcats basketball team allegedly trashed the venue during their championship celebrations. 

Among the alleged misdemeanors by the Wildcats staff and playing group was petty theft via the removal of fixtures (including both nets) and the littering of confetti and balloons.  The misbehaviour was apparently fueled by alcohol, most notably champagne, according to witnesses. As players went into the crowd to celebrate with fans, Challenge Arena staff additionally allege that the players proceeded to vandalise fans' t-shirts and singlets by "tagging" them.

'Red Army' Rising

Challenge staff have previously expressed concerns about the aggressive tendencies of some Wildcats players, particularly serial provocateurs Martin Cattalini and Shaun Redhage, but did not believe that these players would incite their teammates to be involved in destructive damage to property.

For many years Challenge management have been increasingly concerned about the direction of of the Wildcats organisation as signs of radical authoritarianism have become more accentuated. Recently there has been a surge in radical conformity of the Wildcats fanbase, with some outside observers claiming that the development of a Wildcats "Red Army" will have potentially dire consequences. The Red Army has been seen rehearsing acts of insurrection with several cases of coordinated rythmic clapping and rowdy protest-like chants of "defence". Outside observers fear that the development of the Wildcats "Red Army" along with the dominance of the Wildcats organisation will ultimately result in the destruction of humankind. With a redheaded coach and assistant coach in charge of the playing group, experts are not surprised by these recent developments.
WOLLONGONG—The Grand Final series is heating up as the race to be the most Martin-ous team of the Grand Final series remains tied at two Martins each. Wollongong's Luke Martin and Rhys Martin evenly match up against Perth's Damian Martin and Martin Cattalini.

To gain ascendency, Perth were considering obtaining the services of Martin Iti, before realising that they already have a tall, uncoordinated and overrated centre in Luke Schenscher.

In a desperate bid to out-Martin Wollongong, Perth have invited channel 9 news journalist Ray Martin to sit courtside in the deciding game 3 on Friday night. 

If this late bid is unsuccessful, it is believed that Perth will use the gaol contacts of Tiny Pinder to get Martin Bryant out of his maximum security psychiatric ward for a day trip to Challenge Stadium.  Martin Bryant is believed to be extremely excited by the idea of being surrounded by so many people all covered in blood red clothing.

"If only the Bullets were in the Grand Final," Bryant told reporters.
PERTH—Perth Wildcats coach and everyone’s favourite redhead, Rob Beveridge, has pulled off a remarkable maneuver by successfully claiming underdog status in the contest of being regarded as underdogs against the team more highly fancied as underdogs, the Wollongong Hawks. 

As both sides desperately sought the highly coveted underdog status leading into game one of the Grand Final series, Beveridge has pulled off a remarkable and unexpected switch of strategy by guaranteeing himself an underdog status of sorts while surely confusing all of Wollongong in the process.

“Everybody has been talking about Wollongong’s underdog status all season,” Beveridge told reporters at the Perth Wildcats training session. “Since we finished the regular season on top, they’ve continued saying that they are the underdogs in this grand final contest. So we surely must be the underdogs in the contest to be seen as the underdogs. Our team is really up against it.

“We are David against the Goliath of underdogs, Wollongong,” Beveridge continued. “Wollongong’s own arguments confirm that we must be the underdog underdogs.”

From Forrest Gump to Steven Bradbury, everyone likes underdogs, but only if they are successful, argued Beveridge. “Can you imagine the film Forrest Gump if he just sat on a park bench the whole film?” Beveridge asked.

“We finished first in the regular season. You have a choice of barracking for the loser regular season runner-ups, or the young, spirited successful underdog underdogs, the Perth Wildcats,” Beveridge said, rousing the media contingent to a Wildcats chant. The media contingent proceeded to stand and clap, chanting “Wildcats”, until the home team scored.

Well accustomed to the battler club status, former West Sydney coaches Gordie McLeod and Rob Beveridge are unfamiliar with the pressures associated with expectations of victory. Both coaches have used their underdog status all season long to motivate their players and gain the coaching credit associated with guiding a team of overachievers. Establishing the club as the underdog also helps build morale and pride amongst the fanbase, while effectively consoling them in the case of a loss.

Wollongong’s season has been described as a “Cinderella story”, if Cinderella was placed on life support and needed an Indian entrepreneur to offer $1m to guarantee her receiving medical treatment. But now that Wollongong has been taken off life support, Wollongong is ready to walk down the stadium aisle on the way to accepting the ultimate ring.  

 “It really is a Cinderella story,” Wollongong journalist Tim Keeble said. “Everyone can identify with Cinderella and the pursuit of her dream of going ‘all the way’ with her Prince char…mpionship.”

“It’s just like a fairy tale. All we need now is a dwarf,” Keeble said, before excitedly realising that Zac Delaney was on the squad.
INTERNET—With a lengthy and expensive court case looming due to the impending legal action from local serial pest "Clint Dogg" aka Clinton G*******, The Bball Scoop is considering selling out and resorting to internet advertising to raise funds. By law, names of minors cannot be disclosed in this publication. In the case of Clint Dogg, The Bball Scoop has decided not to publish Clint Dogg's full name because he has the mental age of a minor.

Under Google's Adsense system, Google uses an algorithm which analyses words found on the site and designates the most appropriate advertisement for the site accordingly. For example, regular use of words such as "travel" will prompt advertisements related to airlines or hotels, and words such as "Clint Dogg" will prompt advertisements about intolerable rap music and gaol-themed gay pornography.

Clint Dogg was not available for comment at the time of press as he was filming an episode of "The T.O." is his mother's basement. However, once he appears back online, all evidence indicates that he will post his useless opinion wherever there is such facility to do so, no doubt spruiking his "music" in the process.
MELBOURNE—After defeating an Argentine team featuring Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili on the way to a triumphant gold medal win in 1997, Australian hoops fan Bob O’Rae held high expectations for members of Australia’s 1997 under-23 basketball team. Holding the opinion that the once-promising 1997 Young Men class are perennial underachievers, O’Rae has launched another scathing attack after hearing the news of Chris Anstey and Sam Mackinnon’s retirement from the game.

“So disappointing,” O’Rae wrote on his blog. “Will any of them ever reach their potential?”

“Even this shock retirement announcement lacked the impact that it had the potential to achieve. So much wasted potential, yet again.”

“Now the only potential they have is the potential to join Trahair in the Centrelink queue.”

Typical of a significant proportion of Australian basketball fans, O’Rae continues to maintain high expectations of successful junior athletes through to their professional careers, usually referencing their 'potential' when appraising their career performance.

Despite Anstey spending three seasons in the NBA, dominating European competitions and the local NBL league, O’Rae still regards Anstey’s announcement as “one of a string of underachievements”. O'Rae wrote, “Anstey was a 7-footer who ran like an emu. Why didn't he become a superstar?”

Likewise, Mackinnon’s career hasn’t met his lofty expectations, in spite of Mackinnon claiming an NBL MVP and adding a reliable jumpshot to his repertoire later in his career.

“As a junior, Mackinnon was a prototype NBA 2-man... except for the lack of jumpshot.”

“We should be world powers by now. Back in 1997 we had the greatest depth in the sport behind the US.”

“Trahair should be currently using his slick skills to carve up a successful NBA career; Dwight should be an NBA league-leader in blocks; Mackinnon and Anstey should be successful NBA veterans; and Nielsen should be playing NBA ball on the side of his successful rock music career.”

Having initially slipped his mind after completely falling off the radar, O’Rae later added, “Drmic’s status should have already been promoted from the ‘next Andrew Gaze’ to the ‘current Andrew Gaze’.”

“Now where are they? In the 'Where are they now?' thread on Ozhoops Boards?”

Despite these disappointments, O’Rae holds high hopes for members of the Gold medal winning 2003 Junior Men class. “I admit Bruce and Markovic may have contracted the underachievement bug, but I expect Newls and Boges to lead the Boomers to a medal this year. Anything less is simply not good enough.”

It is expected that O'Rae will have plenty of further criticism to add to his blog in September when the World Championships are held in Turkey.
SYDNEY—Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock today held a press conference to herald the imminent return of a sponsor that "actually sells something concrete and real". Sengstock proudly proclaimed the sponsor produces "something you might purchase in a shop".

“This is a proud return to Australian basketball’s halcyon days when people recognized the signs on courtside boxes and the stickers on the court,” Sengstock told the reporter.

“This new sponsor sells a product that is concrete and real. Even more concrete than the Perth Wildcats principle partner that uses concrete to construct buildings, I am told. Yes, apparently the Wildcats major sponsor, the Diploma group, are involved in property development, not counterfeit diplomas as I previously believed.”

“I can assure you this new sponsor will sell something useful. You don’t need insurance against that guarantee. But if you did, I’d choose Australia's most obscure insurance company, also Wollongong Hawks’ naming rights sponsor, AHM, whatever those initials stand for.”

“If you thought the announcement of the 36ers naming rights sponsor, Hoodsweeney, was big, this coming announcement will blow you away,” an excited Sengstock concluded.

However, the announcement is of no concern to prominent club owner, Seamus McPeake. “I don’t know what the fuss is about,” McPeake told The Bball Scoop. “Who cares as long as we get some cash.”

“Dodo is under investigation by the ACCC and I don’t even know what OAMPS does, but they both help subsidise Anstey’s contract.”

“For fuck sake, sometimes I can’t even read the name of some of our sponsors!” McPeake added, alluding to the Chinese company written using Chinese characters on the Tigers uniform.
MELBOURNE—Loyal Melbourne Tigers fan Lee Vertannes couldn’t believe his luck when he glimpsed Neighbours stalwart Ryan Moloney, better known on the Made in Melbourne soap as ‘Toadie’, sitting courtside on Friday night at the Melbourne Tigers home game.

“Hey, look, there’s that fat guy from Neighbours!” Vertannes proudly exclaimed to his friends Alex Rice and Joseph Black, both new to the sport. “He’s the one stuffing his face with pie.”

Aiming to continue the proud Melbourne Tigers legacy by introducing new converts to the sport, Vertannes proceeded to suggest that similar kinds of sighting are “not at all rare” at Melbourne Tigers games.

“Sometimes they even get an eliminated Australian Idol contestant to sing the national anthem,” Vertannes told his friends before coming to the realisation that the national anthem has been banned from the pre-game routine by Basketball Australia, effectively ruining any chance to see such similar sightings again. Vertannes elected not to reveal this information to his friends. Instead, Vertannes went on to boast that Tigerman was the same stuntman as the mascot of the "rugby team" and “some AFL club mascot”.
BA chairman and Telstra CEO David Thodey
SYDNEY—Six months after the Boomers lost to an under-manned New Zealand team in the 2009 FIBA Oceania series, scientists are still scouring videotapes of the series to find evidence of Brett Brown’s involvement as head coach.  In spite of the lack of evidence, Basketball Australia insists that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown indeed coaches the Australian men’s national team.

“We trust that he is doing something that can be classified as coaching,” Basketball Australia Chairman and Telstra Chief Executive Officer David Thodey told the lone reporter at the news conference.

While the decision to appoint Brown as head coach was not straightforward, Basketball Australia remains confident it made the right decision. In a reversal of the traditional BA decision-making paradigm, a Thodey-led BA used high price as a key factor in its decision-making. “Brett Brown’s asking price exceeded Brian Goorjian’s asking price,” Thodey said. “As is consistent with the mentality of Telstra customers, we assumed that a higher price correlates with a higher quality of service.”

“Surely the higher price must be a premium for excellence,” Thodey said, before quietly calling to Telstra’s marketing manager to suggest this exact phrase as Telstra’s sales slogan.

“Furthermore, in the process of appointing a head coach, Basketball Australia concluded that an NBA assistant coach trumped a so-called ‘supercoach’ of a vastly inferior league.”

“Besides, every team that Goojian has coached has subsequently folded or merged. Frankly, we didn’t like the prospect of amalgamating with the Kiwis.”

For a team coached by an NBA coach with an NBA player to lose to a weak New Zealand team in a re-building phase, Thodey said he presumed it must have been part of Brown’s cunning plan. “He must have something huge under his sleeve.”

An anonymous source at Basketball Australia claimed to have seen evidence of Brown’s coaching. “Isolating Jawai in the low post or letting Ingles create a shot himself – that’s brilliant coaching right there. It’s classic superstar-driven, NBA-style coaching. Why waste time trying to create team chemistry and a team-first philosophy?”

“Did the best basketball team of all time, The Dream Team, need chemistry?”

When contacted by phone at his Texas ranch, Brown was able to confirm over the hazy Telstra phone line that he had been appointed head coach of the Australian team. Brown claimed that his NBA experience will come in very handy in the international arena.

“The greatest skill in NBA coaching is not in the noughts and crosses – it’s in the management of egos. I’ll be sure to keep the ego of Patty Mills in check. Coming off that Olympics campaign, that kid must have the head the size of a watermelon.”

“I have the perspective of someone involved in the most professional basketball league in the world. Spread the offense, give it to your best player, run iso plays. Everyone else on court can stand around and relax. You know, to conserve energy or something.”

Brown stressed with confidence that he employed this tactic in the Oceania series. “It’s coaching gold in the States. It’s Plan A and Plan B combined. I was so confident that I didn’t even need to watch any of the game myself,” he said.

“I presume we won,” Brown added.

“I was more concerned about how we (the Spurs) would cover for the loss of Bruce Bowen.”

Brown considered Jawai’s involvement in the series as crucial to the success of the team, since he had not heard of any other player on the team due to their lack of NBA exposure. “Jawai was the only NBA player on the team. Of course he was going to be the focus. Of course we ran NBA-style plays for him. That’s what he had got used to… in his (6-game) NBA career.” Asked specifically what that involved, Brown said, “one of the guards passes him the ball and we hope he gets a high percentage shot.”

Meanwhile, Brown has continued to use the prospect of the Boomers competing in the NBA Development League as an added justification for his appointment. It is expected that the Boomers will use this experience to observe and further refine selfish, stagnant offense, minimal defense, and to develop more experience with an offensive playbook consisting entirely of isolation plays. “The NBADL is perfect for this team,” Brown stated.
MELBOURNE—Network 10 has confirmed that the MasterChef franchise will be expanded to include a one-off special featuring several NBL referees.  The working title for the special is “NBL Referees Speciality: Home Cooking”.  
“We always wanted more of a focus on home style cooking, but weren’t willing to repeat the Julie experience,” producers of the hit show revealed.

The news comes in response to a recent viewing of the NBL by Ten executive Bill Smith. “Put simply, I was impressed by the quality of the home cooking,” Smith said. “I haven’t seen that kind of home cooking and clearly biased officiating since last year with Julie.”

The viewing was serendipitous for Ten and the NBL. “Usually I’d prefer to watch repeats of The Nanny than watch basketball, but I thought I'd give it another go after accidentally watching a few minutes of NBL action last week when Townsville played in New Zealand ,” Bill Smith told our source. 

“I hadn't watched the sport in years, but I flicked to it at the moment that the commentator said something involving a whore and a penetration and a homicide. You know what channel 10 executives are like: any sexual reference or act of violence will grab our attention as part of our desperate and cheap grab of the youth market.”  

“Turns out the commentator was referring to a player called Stephen Hoare moving closer to the basket with the ball after receiving a pass from Corey Williams.”

“'Hoare penetrates," Smith repeated with a chuckle. "That phrase alone was intriguing enough to stop me from changing the channel for the next few minutes. If there were more players with names like that, maybe we’d be interested in covering the NBL as a sport.”

In response to this news, Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock urged any club to entice David Stiff, Braith Cox and Willie Simmons out of retirement.  Sengstock is believed to be in the process of drawing up his next pitch to network 10 which involves the promotional phrase "Hoare plays with Stiff, Cox. Rillie."

Last night's game lacked the same quality of sexual references, but Smith remained interested in the telecast when he noticed that "one of the commentators seemed to get aroused when the Tigers made their run." 

This attracted Smith's attention just enough to allow him to notice the standard of officiating. “It was the degree of biased officiating that really impressed me. It made me see the potential for a MasterChef spin-off involving NBL referees,” Smith noted.

“The referees dished it up and the crowd loved it.”

Smith immediately alerted the MasterChef crew to assess the coverage. Upon viewing of the replay, MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris were equally impressed.

“We understand more than anyone how the pressure of being on national television under bright lights can affect your usual judgment,” Calombaris admitted. “But we also understand that the officials should rightly be the centre of attention. They understand, as do we, that pleasing the viewers is more important than a fair and even contest.” 

“They plated up the home side win beautifully,” fellow Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan added.
MELBOURNE—Once the darling of the Australian men’s national team, Melbourne Tigers guard Luke Kendall has suffered yet another serious blow to his chances to once again represent Australia at a major international tournament. Kendall is believed to be devastated by the news that Basketball Australia has confirmed that they will not reinstate Brian Goorjian as coach of the national team.  

“My international career is officially in tatters,” Kendall admitted. “Despite reaching the age at which I should be peaking, gaining a spot on the 2010 World Championships team is looking increasingly unlikely.”

“Why am I so unlucky?" Kendall despaired. "Being a part of this insipid Tigers team is bad enough as it is."

In news that will have less of an impact on Kendall's Boomers team selection chances, Kendall will miss the rest of the 2009/10 season after suffering a knee injury during training.

Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that Kendall is feigning his injury to avoid having to be part of the most unsuccessful Melbourne Tigers team since the 1980s. "The recruitment of Hodge sealed his decision to fake the injury," a source within the Melbourne Tigers camp claimed. "Who'd want to train with that fool?"