No more “Reptile Rumbles”.
No more “100% Croc”.
No more Townsville Crocodiles.
April 14th, 2016 we saw the end of a once great franchise which will be remembered for dazzling plays from Robert Rose, Derek Rucker and Corey Williams, just to name a few.
The team had a knack for being able to take bright young coaches, give them an opportunity and seeing them develop into coach of the year material like Ian Stacker and Shawn Dennis.
It also had a reputation for having perhaps the greatest (and most inappropriate) mascot in NBL history.
Once the news was delivered players and coaches shared their thoughts via social media.
A sad day for all involved at the Crocs. I thank all for their support over the last three years. We did it tough but we had a crack. SD
— Shawn Dennis (@sdwithenergy) April 14, 2016
A tough day yesterday for all Townsville Crocs fans. I just want to say thank you for the welcome and support I received from everybody up there while wearing Green. I loved competing with our group last season and I want to thank my teammates and coaches for giving so much. We never quit, never made excuses and gave the best possible season that we could. I want to thank the Fans, Sponsors and General Townsville community for their unconditional support. In what is a tough economic time for the region, I hope that as things improve the great club could one day return. I have some special memories of my time in Townsville…
A photo posted by Mitchell Young (@mitchellyoung9) on
— Corey Maynard (@CMay_1) April 14, 2016
I really want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that made this possible. From family and friends to coaches, to the Townsville crocs and the community. Couldn’t have done it without you!! Congrats to @clintsteindl and SD for winning most improved and coach of the year respectively. Hopefully next season will be even bigger and brighter!!
A photo posted by Nicholas Kay (@nickkay4) on
Heard there was a job coaching the Centrelink all stars. Has anybody got any info. Want to submit my CV. SD
— Shawn Dennis (@sdwithenergy) April 17, 2016
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein
The NBL season waits for no one however and all 8 remaining NBL teams have raced to acquire the now available talent from the Crocodiles demise.
The Croc’s captain Mitch Norton, born and raised in Townsville, a ball boy for the team in his teens and a member of the Crocodiles for the past five years.
Norton made it clear on Instagram his thoughts of his hometown team’s demise.
“That’s a wrap! It’s been a blast Townsville. Very sad to see the crocs close the doors. 5 years and wouldn’t change a thing! Have so many great memories and I want to thank you all”
Norton is set to continue his NBL career in another beachside town having come to terms with the Illawarra Hawks recently. The announcement he will be wearing the Hawks red and white should be made tomorrow with their team’s Twitter account making note of a player announcement this weekend.
Looks like we’ll have two player announcements on Monday. Any guesses? pic.twitter.com/nUKphxhTuJ
— Illawarra Hawks (@illawarrahawks) April 16, 2016
Nick Kay, the league’s Rookie of the Year is perhaps the most coveted of the former Crocodiles.
Melbourne United, Perth Wildcats and the Illawarra Hawks are all talking with the 23-year-old big man. Kay will have his choice it seems, no doubt he will be able to go to the team willing to bid the highest for an Aussie big man who can score double figures, rebound and shoot the three ball above 35%, as Kay did last season. Kay’s around talents are a rarity and he will have no trouble getting NBL coaches phone calls over the next few weeks.
Illawarra has noted two signings will be announced tomorrow, it’s known the club has re-signed Cody Ellis and has not yet announced that but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kay joining Norton at the Hawks player any being one of the two signings alluded to.
Clint Stiendl has also had a spend a lot of time fielding phone calls from NBL clubs. The recipient of the league’s Most Improved Player has offers on the table from Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide so we should see him become Bullet, King or Sixer by the end of the week.
Stiendl averaged 13 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 43% from the field, 39% from deep and 92% from the line, his deadly shooting ability able to earn him a spot in the Australia Boomers Camp aimed for Rio.
Corey Maynard will trade reptile skins from green to orange and become a Taipan.
Mitch Young has become a Bullet already and that should be made public soon.
Lastly, it seems we may have seen the last of “Big Luke” Schenscher. After an incredible career with playing for Georgia Tech University, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trailblazers, Perth Wildcats, Adelaide 36ers and Townsville the seven-footer has struggled to play large amounts of time in recent years.
Schenscher was under contract for one more year before the Crocodiles end so he may be content just pocketing his owed salary while looking to move into life after basketball.
The man most affected mostly it seems is NBL coach of the year Shawn Dennis. After leading the team through a number of dark times and Dennis had just decided to return to the team, knocking back an offer from the Sydney Kings on the same day he agreed to return. Now he finds himself without a team to coach.
We hear good things about potential coaching positions in Western Australia so hopefully Shawn has a way to provide for his family soon, but it would be a huge loss to have that basketball knowledge sitting idle without use.
The Crocs have been a part of the NBL for 20 plus years and although it’s been said the team could see a return down the track, it’s highly unlikely with the NBL now looking only at capital cities or Asian teams as expansion options.
We will remember the Crocodiles while watching players like Norton, Maynard, or Young continue their NBL careers. We will appreciate what the club did when we see players like Stiendl or Kay represent our national program but sadly (for now) we lay to rest the Crocodiles beside other defunct regional teams like the Gold Coast Blaze, Geelong Supercats and Newcastle Falcons.
Until next time… cue Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.