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10 Years of The Pick and Roll: Jordan McCallum
In 2015, Steve Chalmers approached me about coming on board with The Pick and Roll as an NBL writer. At that point I had graduated from a casual fan of the league to being a few seasons into the hardcore category. My writing experience was limited, having shared some musings and stats on Twitter and my own website, but it was an opportunity I was keen to explore.
At the core of my writing has been a love of the sport and, more specifically, a love of following an elite league that’s filled with local talent. Ultimately, this is the main point of difference over the NBA that has the NBL as my number one priority.
The only team that I have supported with a vested interest are the South Dragons. To relive that brief but exciting era has been a highlight of my time at this site, with the initial research and then conversations with Adam Gibson and Rhys Carter allowing me to scratch a nostalgic itch. The NBL has grown significantly since the South Dragons’ demise, and since I joined the writing team, and hopefully I’ve improved considerably too.
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I’ve been lucky to find a place where I have the freedom to share my thoughts and research on whatever has piqued my interest. In 2020, that included a fascinating chat with Cairns assistant coach Jamie O’Loughlin, as I tried to figure out how the Taipans had improved their previous years win total by double-digits. This past season, I’ve analysed the career paths and improvement of Keanu Pinder and William McDowell-White, among a bunch of other player and team-related pieces.
The NBL is my wheelhouse now, but in earlier years I also regularly shared my thoughts on the SEABL and then NBL1. The Pick and Roll’s coverage extending to these leagues, and across a variety of levels (both male and female) is something that I have always appreciated.
The audience that Kein, Damian, and all the team have curated here allowed me to connect with even the most niche section of fans. Going to Mount Gambier to speak with Tom Kosch and Richard Hill about the Pioneers being let down by Basketball Australia was an incredibly interesting opportunity, with their story off some casual fans radar, but an important development in the sport that needed to be told. I was happy to see the club eventually find a home in NBL1 South.
Other memories with The Pick and Roll that immediately spring to mind include a Boomers vs. Team USA game at Marvel Stadium. Unfortunately, I witnessed the game one loss rather than the follow up victory, but the experience of watching a high-level basketball game from the press box in that venue was a rare moment.
I took the 2021/22 NBL season off, but after continuing to watch every game, I eventually figured that I had too many thoughts not to be writing regularly about the league. This decision was aided by the success of the site’s move to Substack, and therefore the backing of each subscriber that sees the value in what The Pick and Roll contributors produce. Thank you all as your support allows us to regularly pursue more in-depth and higher quality pieces than previously.
Thanks also to both Kein and Damian for their tireless effort, as well as all current and past contributors to the site that fill it with an array of different styles and content. The site has done some heavy lifting over the years, particularly with the mainstream media regularly absent, and I’m sure it will continue to cover Australian basketball as well as anywhere over the next decade as the sport continues its rise.