After a gruelling eight months of basketball, the 2013 National Basketball League came to an end on December 13 with City Oilers emerging champions after seven games with Falcons in the Castle Lite playoffs finals.
It doesn’t happen often that a team gets promoted and hits the ground running, but after a few games into the season, City Oilers looked like they would do that and to some wild thinkers – contenders. That came to pass! Bernard Okumu and Kami Kabange were named regular season and playoffs MVPs the other day.
So, now that Friday Night Lights doesn’t receive the same hype as two or three years ago, the sight is already on the upcoming 2014 season.
Naturally, the focus of an offseason is largely devoted to teams upgrading their starting line-ups – looking at key scorers and players who can swing games or just improve the roster on either end of the floor.
It is about that time when rumours of players switching clubs fly as fast as light in a vacuum. I am not good a facilitator of the rumours but i will for sure look at a few movements that are as good as done and those that are pending (for lack of a better word)and try to gauge who is winning this offseason and how the actual season may turn out.
Obviously it’s tough to accurately grade an offseason or an upcoming season until all the dust completely settles, but you can at least get a sense of who’s doing a good job and who’s left something or two or may be a lot to be desired.
Who doesn’t want to have Geoffrey Omondi’s defensive abilities on their team? Falcons of course! Though their manager denied having released Omondi, once a player agrees terms with another team he is a done deal, right?
Next in came 3-time champion and 2-time MVP Ben Komakech from Dmark Power. First they knock Dmark Power out of the playoffs, and then they steal their best player. Not cool guys. Is it? With the exit Kami Kabange who along with Jimmy Enabu brought home the maiden championship, the young effective center – Samuel Kalwanyi walks straight on to the starting five and that is a near double-double and four blocks every game.
Now with those two additions it might be criminal if the Oilers don’t give a shot at a repeat. In fact, if it was a shock that the money bags emerged champions last year, it will be even more of shock if they don’t make the finals.
You can almost be sure Gad Eteu will get your team to the finals. Having missed out making the finals for the first time in four seasons last year, Warriors decision to hire Eteu was as quick as noticing Samanya may not win a playoff game.
One thing for sure is Warriors will not let any of their best players leave atleast according to the manager. So, Ivan Enabu who has been linked with Power will stay. The point is sorted! “That (Enabu leaving) won’t happen. He is not going anywhere” Warriors’ manager Ivan Ntabazi vowed. “Only Noel (Hesbon) has left. The rest of the young guys will stay and learn from the best” he added.
The 2012 post season MVP, Norman Blick is back at Warriors. Talk of pressing home your advantage! “Yes, he (Blick) is back with us” Ntabazi confirmed to Kawowo Sports.
Warriors are in for Falcons’ bigs Philip Ameny and Serge Kabangu. “We are in talks with those guys (Ameny and Kabangu) but nothing is concrete yet. We will have confirmation in the next few weeks” Ntabazi said. That forlorn glance toward the bench at the meager resources available will be no more.
If Warriors get the two big men from Falcons, they are without doubt odds on to sweep through the season because on paper it will not be merely a chance of winning every game, but near-certainty. With that roster only profligacy or an act of God might stop them.
You know a team is in trouble when they get rid of their best players. Welcome to the depressing regression of the Dmark Power, already in progress. But didn’t Power complete last year’s regular season at the top of the log? Yeah! Of course they did and then?
The offseason isn’t all bad news for Power – so far, of course, they reportedly have been linked with point guard Abdulahi ‘Dulah’ Ramadhan, a veteran of big-time clubs like Falcons and Warriors. Dulah moves at glacial pace. So, what will happen to the ‘intensity’? The five-time champions are reportedly in talks with Philip Ameny and Ivan Enabu but will they end up at Power?
It’s safe to say that is a regression, especially for a team that won a championship as recently as 2011 and has not made the finals since then.
Challenging times reveal the true character of a person, player or team. No team has demonstrated that over the past three seasons more than the Falcons. But without four of last season’s starters – Geoffrey Omondi (City Oilers), Abdulahi ‘Dulah’ Ramadhani (Dmark Power) and big men Serge Kabangu and Philip Ameny reportedly in the departure lounge, Falcons will struggle mightily this year. They are taking major steps in the wrong direction. May be I’m wrong! Steven Omony, Peter Elungat and Steven ‘Duxx’ Tumwesigye are still with team.
So far it is not just safe to say Warriors and City Oilers are winning the off season, it is a fact. But hey winning or losing the offseason often means nothing once the actual games start because basketball is imperfect, every team has flaws.