IBL Player of the Week presented by Phiten-
Nippon Tornadoes Marcus Bradford
This past week 6'4" G Marcus Bradford stood out averaging 45.5 ppg and 13.5 rpg earning him a POTW nod, the first for the Tornadoes this season. In two games June 11 versus the Reign Bradford put up 51 points to rival Jared Cunningham’s 52 high for a player in the IBL so far this season, then 40 points versus the 2012 Champion Slam June 16th. As an ‘import’ on the Japan Nippon Tornadoes in partnership with the bj-League, Bradford has taken over as IBL scoring leader at 34.2ppg from Cunningham and shows no signs of stopping.
IBL: From Ohio, college in Missouri, now in the Pacific Northwest, what is the difference you see in the basketball played in all of those areas?
MB: I was born and raised Columbus, OH and have been here for 2.5 years now. There seems to be more opportunity out here, I am from football country. You find a different style of basketball everywhere you go there are good players and I have adapted something from everywhere I have been. In the mid-west the players are rougher and tougher, the south guys are really athletic and then towards the west coast guys are scorers and shooters. Put them all together and you get an all around player. In this league you have to score to keep up with competitors like (Jared) Cunningham and (David) Lucas! You gotta be focused and sharp on what you are trying to accomplish on each possession, and with 22 second shot clock those two seconds less makes you think quicker, move quicker and stay in shape.
IBL: You’re an ‘import’ playing in the US on the Japan Nippon Tornadoes what’s that all about?
MB: Marvena Kemp saw me play, liked my game and introduced me to Tatsumi Nishida to help the team out. I thank her for that, she does a lot in the community to help all of us try to achieve our basketball goals. The language barrier is there, as many of my teammates don’t speak english so we use a lot of hand gestures with each other, basketball is a universal language.
The guys are great, Japanese people are so hospitable and took us in like we are one of them. Even though they are here in the US, they look after us, really good genuine people. I thank God for being in this situation, I want to display my leadership and help people and this is a great opportunity to do so. One of my desires is to go to another country and play and this is preparing me for that. No matter how or what we go through in the games they stay positive and cheerful through thick and thin!
IBL: What are your goals and how will you use this experience to help you get there?
MB: Finish the season strong as a team and player, display my skills set in front of the fans scouts and to represent the IBL anywhere I go. I want to continue to do well, play basketball at a high level and rock it till the wheels fall off! We want to try to get some more wins to help us, changing out players from Japan is a lot farther, as they have bj-League commitments and or opportunities that come up like Ban & Hara. They were so great, had to go back to Japan for their opportunity. I was just getting used to playing with Masa and develop chemistry and he has to return now as well. It is something else we have to adapt to, but its good for opportunity and shows growth for them, for all of us, experience is the best teacher. We want to compete against those good teams in the IBL and is our goal to get into the final four.
IBL: Tell us something your teammates and fans may not know about you
MB: I am a part time chef, when you get really hungry and have to cook for yourself in college you learn! One of my best dishes is turkey lasagna. I will have to cook something for my teammates at our end of the season celebration!
IBL Game Recaps
Tuesday Game Time
Reign vs Tornadoes
The Olympia Reign had their first IBL game on Tuesday against the Japan Nippon Tornadoes. The Reign are one of the newest branding teams for the IBL. The IBL’s branding team concept allows new teams to participate in a portion of the regular season to determine the viability of their market prior to becoming a full season team within three years. The game started out with a close match up in the first quarter ending with the Reign leading 36-21. IBL Player of the Week 6'4" G Marcus Bradford brought in 51 points for the Tornadoes leading them as the top scorer. Olympia Reigns 6’0” G Nate Menefee a newcomer to the IBL from Evergreen State University had a total of 45 points. The two teams had a close game but the Reign came out on top winning, 161-117.
Slam vs Chinooks
The Slam's ten game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Portland Chinooks at Eastmoreland Courts on Tuesday. After the Slam had confidently won almost all of their games this season, they were put out by Portland’s 11-2 run by the start the second half putting the Slam into a deeper hole. However, Bellingham was able to fight back and trail by nine, at 92-83 on a three-pointer by guard 5'11" G Rico Wilkins late in the quarter. The Slam thought they were coming back in the fourth quarter but Portland Chinooks 6'9" F Kevin Ford, posted a triple-double with 29 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists and helped them achieve greatness and win the game against the Slam, 121-113.
Chinooks vs Sabres
The Portland Chinooks took on their current Conference Contender the Salem Sabres on Thursday night at Eastmoreland Courts. Both teams struggled to score in the 2nd half and held less than 50 points each. Chinooks 6’8” F David Lucas was the leading scorer for Portland and had 27 points and 8 rebounds. Last weeks Player of the Week 6'9" F Jared Cunningham had 22 points and a season high of 11 assists. 2012 IBL All Star 6'7" G Cory Largent led Salem with 24 points. While newcomer who just graduated from Oregon State 6'7" C Joe Burton added 17 points, 12 in the final quarter. He got the double-double with 11 rebounds. This game was a major test for Portland (9-5) to build a lead over Salem for 3rd place in the IBL's Continental Conference. It was the Chinooks sixth straight win and their ninth in the past eleven games. The Portland Chinooks defeated the Salem Sabres 106-96. They now lead Salem by a game and a half. Portland will again take on the Sabres two more times this season. The Sabres take on the Chinooks once again on Thursday, June 20th.
Saturday on the Court
Chinooks vs Tornadoes
The Japan Tornadoes and The Portland Chinooks were matched up for a game again on Sunday. The Chinooks immediately took the lead in the first quarter scoring 30 points, while the Tornadoes held on scoring 18. Top scorer for the Chinooks was 6'8" F David Lucas coming in hot with 35 points. Japan Tornadoes 6'5" F Jordan Highland scored 19 points for the team. The Tornadoes put up a good fight, but fell to the Chinooks, 141-83.
Tornadoes vs Slam
2012 IBL Champions the Bellingham Slam battled the Japan Tornadoes on the newest IBL venue at Pierce College in Steilacoom, WA on Friday. In what was by far their most competitive outing of their match-ups with the Slam, the Tornadoes came out to a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter and led 27-25 at the break.The Slam then made their move in the second quarter, taking a 48-37 lead with 3:25 left in the half. Japan guard and IBL’s Player of the Week 6'4" G Marcus Bradford was the games scoring leader with 40 points on 15-for-41 shooting. However, a Tornado came through but lost full wind mid game when 6'3" G Mo Anderson went to the basket with a fresh slam dunk! The Slam won over the Japan Tornadoes, 142-106.
Volcanoes vs Flight
The Vancouver Volcanoes and the newest IBL team the Seattle Flight played at the Vancouver home court O’Connell Sports Center on Sunday. Trailing by seven at halftime and pulling even by the end of the third quarter at 81-81, Seattle kept the game close for three quarters until Vancouver made the run to take its biggest lead of the game at 116-100 in the fourth quarter. The Flight, an IBL branding franchise this season playing a short schedule, and was led by 6'4" G Larry Greene who had 27 points. Vancouver’s 6’6” F Chehales Tapscott brought in 29 points on 10 of 14 shooting to go with 20 rebounds. 6'3" G Josh Tarver had 20 points and 12 assists. Both Tapscott and Tarver each had double-doubles as the Vancouver Volcanoes defeated the Seattle Flight 122-110.
Pit Bulls host first IBL games with two IBL Champions!
The East Bay Pit Bulls have officially joined the IBL branding team for the 2013 season, which will allow the team to play five regular season games against top-caliber teams in the league. The IBL’s branding team concept allows new teams to participate in a portion of the regular season to determine the viability of their market prior to becoming a full season team within three years. After three seasons in the fall with the ABA season, the Pit Bulls decided to move to the IBL to increase competition, exposure and increase their reach in the community by providing fun family entertainment, Pit Bull style!
The team traveled around Washington and Oregon two weeks ago and played two of the IBL Champions, the Bellingham Slam and the Vancouver Volcanoes. Although the team did not get any wins, they did get to experience how the IBL works and the competition they will be facing in future games. Heading up north for their first IBL appearance shared the in-game experience to take back to greater San Francisco where they will play their home games. “We are looking forward to our first game at home this weekend, it will be good to have home court advantage against these two teams and return the hospitality we received on the road,” 6’2” G Jordan Boreman shared about the look ahead to two games at home in as many weeks.
The East Bay Pit Bulls have a great look however and sport great uniforms from their IBL Japanese partner and are the talk of the IBL. Come see the team up close on Saturday as they take on the Bellingham Slam at NorCal Courts in California.