zaterdag 27 september 2014

Against all odds!!

Today in the Netherlands they played the game for the Supercup. Leiden (the club who lost the cup final last season) and Donar Groningen (the Dutch champion (and also winner of the Dutch cup) of last season) battled tonight against each other. Trying to win a big cup and to be honoured with pride of fans.

Before the game, because of injuries, most people thought Leiden would win this game. Even the home crowd. But ... all the problems made the players of Donar struggling, it made them strong.

Too strong for Leiden. In the last three seasons winning the Supercup became a kind of routine for the visiting team. 2011 was the first year Dutch clubs tried to win this prize. Leiden won (in Utrecht) against ... Donar. In 2012 they won again. EBBC lost in their own arena. And in 2013 Leiden could win again but EBBC Den Bosch became the winner.

Compared to Jason Dourisseau (which part of the stands is the Jason Dourisseau stands?) fans think/thought DeJuan Wright is not as good. In offense Wright, who played for Leiden last season, is a better player than the former captain of Donar. In defense Dourisseau is the much better player. But ... recruiting DeJuan Wright has been a good transfer made by Donar. It made Leiden weaker.

Donar made another good transfer by also recruiting Sean Cunningham. The guard of the Dutch national team (he didn't play in the qualification games last summer when the Dutch team succeeded in qualifying for the European championships 2015) maybe isn't as good as Arvin Slagter (last years MVP) and Jessey Voorn but he is one of the better players of the Dutch basketballleague. A good defender, an experienced player, a hard nosed player who is working hard.

Donar has done a huge effort this pre season! Losing 5 of their better players (Cashmere Wright, Jason Dourisseau, Arvin Slagter, Quentin Pryor and Jessey Voorn) and signing Sean Cunningham and DeJuan Wright as the replacements of Slagter and Dourisseau. Losing Cashmere Wright and losing his replacement Nik Cochran because of a injury of his back. The Canadian guard has been waived by the club last week. Craig Osaikhwuwuomwan has been injured a couple of weeks and was able to practise again for the first time in the last week. Thomas Koenis is suffering from a broken nose. He is able to play but the confidence he could play his best game was not quite big.

But, behind DeJuan Wright, 20 points in this game for the Supercup, (who made 30 points against Rotterdam last week) the starting center of the Dutch national team during the qualifying round last summer was a big contributor with 16 points and more than 10 rebounds! Often Koenis is known for his supreme defense. His scoring total doesn't reach the 10 points in most of the games he is playing. A double - double is really stuffing the stats!

Next week Donar will present their new point-guard. An experencied player? Maybe Whit Holcomb Faye? That could make the Leiden fans quite happy. So happy next Donar vs Leiden game they will singing "Another Leiden player wil be bought! Another Leiden player will be bought!"? The first part of this report is in English so D., Sean and Ross can show it to their family and friends who are living in the US of A.

Donar won vanavond de wedstrijd om de Supercup met 78 - 67. Toch wel een grote verrassing! Ook voor de fans van Donar. Sinds het winnen van de dubbel (kampioenschap + beker) in het vorige seizoen heeft de club diverse tegenslagen ervaren. Die konden er nog wel bij naast de financiële rampen. Maar liefst 5 topspelers (3 spelers uit de basis vijf + 2 top reserves) zeiden de club vaarwel. Een van de spelers die de regerend landskampioen contracteerde is al weer vertrokken. Hij kwam geblesseerd aan in Nederland, deed nauwelijks mee aan de trainingen, kwam slechts luttele seconden in actie in oefenwedstrijden ... en dus zei de Groninger basketballorganisatie hem gedag. Bye, bye, zwaai, zwaai. Jammer, bedankt en tot in de pruimentijd.

Maar alle tegenslagen heeft de ploeg, die niet over een topselectie lijkt te beschikken, sterk gemaakt. Nu al. De regerend kampioen is niet favoriet voor het winnen van de titel. Maar kampioenschappen worden niet gewonnen op papier maar op het basketbalveld! Dit verdient een groot compliment, en dat geef ik het team dan ook bij deze.

Of we, net als vorig seizoen, begin juni op de Grote Markt staan als landskampioen van het seizoen 2014/2015? Dat zien we wel. Maar de eerste prijs is binnen. DONAR Groningen olé olé! Ik zeg: laten we dit seizoen de treble winnen!

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