News

Self Determination

Melbourne United head coach Dean Demopoulos believes in self-determination. After Melbourne’s winless opening round, the American looked for his players to take control of their own destiny. To ‘push their own button’, as he described it, in search of an improved performance and a reversal of fortunes on the scoreboard. The Melbourne players responded, riding the results of some key adjustments – both individual and collective – to an important road win over the Adelaide 36ers. “Coaches get far too much credit when things go well and they deserve to get criticism when it doesn’t,” Demopoulos told media on Friday night. “But it’s a player’s game and always has been. I’ve always approached it that way.” Sparking Melbourne’s improved performance on Friday night – and providing a shining example of self-determination theory in action – was swingman Todd Blanchfield, who scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. Blanchfield, like many of his teammates, was quiet in the opening round. He scored just 4 points and grabbed 1 rebound in New Zealand and had 11 and 4 in Melbourne’s shocking home loss to Adelaide. But on Friday, Blanchfield’s blistering 14-point first half helped spark United to a commanding half-time lead. “We worked really hard during the week and we were able to put on a pretty good performance tonight,” Blanchfield said post-game. The hot-shooting was nice, he said, but it was his improved effort on the glass (5 rebounds) that most satisfied him. “I wasn’t really happy with myself with the way I’ve been going to the boards because I pride myself on my rebounding,” Blanchfield said. “I thought about it during the week and I put it on myself to go every time because I know that if I do, they’re eventually going to fall my way. I’ve got to keep going and I’ll get those rebounds eventually.” Blanchfield is the only Melbourne player to have started all 33 games that Demopoulos has coached and his ability to manage his own business is a big reason why. “Todd pushed his own button this week, he made his own adjustment in his mind. Coaches can’t do that, players do,” Demopoulos said. “The most important thing in this business is the selection of your players. Of course we do our job as coaches but when players can push their own button and they don’t need an outside stimulus… they’re the best guys to have around you. Todd’s one of those guys and we’ve got a bunch of them.” Two more of ‘those guys’, Tai Wesley and Ramone Moore, were terrific off the bench on Friday night. Wesley shook off his self-described “horrific’ shooting from last Sunday to score a team-high 18 points on 53 per cent. His work on the low block during critical moments was huge. Moore, meanwhile, had 14 points and 5 assists on 75 per cent shooting. Tellingly, Melbourne outscored Adelaide by 16 points during Moore’s 20 minutes on the floor. Star guard Chris Goulding was another who made some adjustments, moving the ball more freely than he did throughout Round 1. Goulding is still finding his stroke (13 points at 36 per cent) but his penetration drew crowds on Friday night and his willingness to move the ball helped Melbourne’s offence tick along. This pass in transition was one for the highlight reel… With a win officially in the bag, the Melbourne boys now turn their attention to Sunday afternoon’s home clash with Illawarra. According to Hawks coach Rob Beveridge, his team received a “wake-up call” on Thursday night when they lost to Sydney on their home floor. Beveridge suggested his players may have been believing their own hype following their record-breaking Round 1 win over Adelaide and will have them switched on and focused as they stroll into Hisense Arena. “It’s like, well done on scoring those points (against Adelaide) but now we need to re-establish ourselves and get down into the trenches with the hard hats on,” Beveridge said following the loss to the Kings. It marks the second week in a row that Melbourne will face a freshly ‘woken’ opponent looking to re-establish its identity following a disappointing loss. Never an easy task. “We’ve got to be able to back it up on Sunday,” Blanchfield said. “We’ve got another tough game in front of another big home crowd so hopefully we’ll be able to put on a show for them.” In that same situation last week, Melbourne couldn’t match the intensity. This time around, Demopoulos will be hoping his players can push all the right buttons to get the job done. Written exclusively for NBL.com.au by Liam Santamaria
NEWS

How Kings Swooped Hawks for Simon

8 hours ago

NEWS

Vickerman: "This Team's Different"

10 hours ago

NEWS

Cairns to Rectify "Embarrassing" NBL22

13 hours ago

NEWS

Blitz to Test Darwin's NBL Appetite

16 hours ago

FREE AGENCY

JackJumpers Add Size, Magnay Cover

16 hours ago

VIDEO

Free Agency Market Watch (August 17)

1 day ago

NEWS

Bullets Import Has Eyes on the Prize

1 day ago

ROSTERS

Analysis: Ins, Outs, Depth Charts (Update)

1 day ago

NEWS

Phoenix Recruit: NBL "Another Level"

1 day ago

NEWS

Sydney Ready for Closest Year Yet

1 day ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates