|Melbourne Tigers Big Mistake|
"Funny what seven days can change....it was all good just a week ago." - Jay Z
Jay Z first spit those lyrics off his Hard Knock Life album back in 1998.The God MC paints a vivid picture of how easily life can change for an individual in such a short period of time and although the stories he tells are from a different world to the one Corey Williams finds himself in now, the words are applicable to Corey Williams situation. A week ago the New Yorker was looking back on a season that teamwise wasn't as successful as he had hoped. Can't blame Williams for that, he did his part. Life was good though, he was enjoying Melbourne and the city certainly loved him. A brief stint with the Brisbane Spartans in the SEABL would tide him over until he could sink his teeth into a full season together with his teammates, under the tutelage of former player Darryl McDonald. Funny what seven days can change.
This morning finds Homicide without an NBL club to play for and his immediate future is in limbo. The Melbourne Tigers have chosen to move forward and felt the best way to do so was without the man who finished 4th in this years MVP race. With the announcement of Trevor Gleeson as the new head coach of the Tigers also came a statement that the club would be moving forward with ''Australian talent. " The writing was on the wall. Later Williams announced via his Twitter, "Just spoke with Trevor Gleeson and I will not be returning with the Melb Tigers".
Although we are not privy to the inner workings of clubs, from a basketball standpoint the Tigers have made a mistake in getting rid of the most entertaining player in the land and also a proven floor general. Cynics are always quick to point out that professional basketball is a business and that Homicide should accept his fate and move on. It's funny that rule is mostly used when a club gets rid of a player. If a player leaves of his own doing, he is unloyal. Selfish. Not a good teammate. Well Homicide was more than loyal to the club, gave his all to the club, embraced the city and was a one-man marketing company. He got people talking about the Melbourne Tigers again, in spite of their awful start and inconsistent finish. The Cage seemingly reached capacity more often than not and was louder when Homicide played.
Perhaps Trevor Gleeson felt that Williams 17 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds a game were just not worthy of an import spot on the side? Maybe he didn't really understand the impact Corey had on all the players upon his arrival. The side began playing much improved basketball as soon as he set foot on the floor as a Tiger. He made his teammates better. Isn't that what a point guard needs to do? Gleeson prefers to give opportunity to Australian players. He obviously doesn't believe in the 'best man for the job' policy. It is the 'best local player for the job' despite Williams still being one of the top 3 PG's in the NBL. Surely amongst the 12 players who are allowed to suit up for home games there is a spot for Williams? Surely. Guess not. Maybe this is a cost cutting measure? You certainly have to pay an MVP candidate market value, a local player gets much less, but wouldn't that money be recouped in ticket sales, publicity and merchandise?
Sadly the Tigers have missed the boat on this one. Their reputation may be in tatters. They will need to attract free agents but many may be scared off. If so many favorite sons are being 'dumped' what chance does a 'regular' player stand if things go wrong? As respected journalist Daniel Eade stated, "If you're trying to win over the fans that are hanging on by a thread, the wrong thing to do is get rid of Corey Williams, the one man who, more than anyone else, made the team watchable and bearable last season."
The NBL and the Tigers are at a crossroads right now. Who will attract the fans to watch the games? They've already made their feelings towards the club known. #Homicideaxed became a trending topic on Twitter and the overwelming majority of responses were not skewed favorably towards the Tigers. What if the Tigers suffer through another losing season, how do you attract the fans back then? The one man capable of putting bums in seats off his personality alone is gone, possibly to another NBL team and he will most definitely have a target on Melbourne's backs with something to prove.
The events of the past 24 hours have soured me a little on the organization as a whole. I will be at Tigers games next season, they are my hometown team and I am a basketball fan first and foremost. I'll never cheer for them to lose only next year I don't know if I'll cheer for them to win either. Damn, it was all good just a week ago.
Photo : Melissa Sudero
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 April 2011 14:03 )|