NBL Call-up for McDonald while Ballinger joins his Spectres

Threatening to derail the Nunawading Spectres’ season, news came through mid-week that their leading scorer, Simon Conn, had suffered a tear to his MCL and would miss up to six weeks.

However, just a day later, the club relieved all its fans with the news that his loss would be covered by NBL veteran Adam Ballinger.

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Both listed at 205cm and able to swing between the power forward and centre position, Ballinger will remain as deadly as Conn is from the mid-range while having the added bonus of a capable three-point shot.

Signed for the rest of the season, it will be interesting to see how the two forwards combine once Conn returns. For the immediate future though, the Spectres have done well to recruit a player of Ballinger’s pedigree in such a short period of time.

Nunawading were also in the news this week with their point guard of almost a decade, Shane McDonald, recruited by the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL.

Enjoying limited stints with the Singapore Slingers, Perth Wildcats and Melbourne Tigers previously, McDonald’s game is at the perfect stage to light up the NBL after a SEABL Championship in 2011 and a league MVP in 2013. At 8.5 a game this season, the point guard is again leading the competition in assists, averaging over two more per contest than any other player.

Against the Frankston Blues on Saturday night, Nunawading were forced to fight by the bottom ranked side in the South Conference. Trailing by as much as 12 in the third quarter, Frankston cut the margin to two with less than six minutes remaining.

From there, the Spectres finished the game on a 16-9 run to win 94-85. McDonald (13 points, six rebounds and eight assists) had five points in the final term while Ballinger (17 points, five rebounds) added seven points including a handy four in the final minute to seal the match. At the defensive end, he combined well with Delwan Graham to limit Frankston to 14-30 shooting in the paint.

The Spectres are now just one game away from top spot in the East Conference with an 8-6 record and their recently bolstered line-up is set to make an assault on the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year.