The 14/15 season was a busy one in terms of player departures. More than a few teams ditched a body during the course of the year, some of them rather surprising. We take a look back at some of the more interesting ones.
Devan Bailey joined Cheshire Phoenix from the Manchester Giants in 13/14 and had a reasonable, if not spectacular season. The following season he signed a 2 year deal but, finding himself mostly on the bench, decided he wanted to leave. It looked like he had been given permission to leave, then it looked like he hadn’t. A player who wasn’t keen on seeing out his contract managed to gain the moral highground during the most childish of Facebook stand-offs on the Phoenix’s page. Chaos ensued, everyone made an arse of themselves, and Bailey got what he wanted. He popped up shortly after in Guadeloupe in a deal that i’m sure wasn’t already done *cough*. Rumour has it his brother followed him out there incase he had to run on court (allegedly) and protect him from the bigger boys.
A minister, a tax accountant and a basketballer. Mr Versatility arrived at the Eagles having helped Paderborn to a 0.333 season the year before.
As Meatloaf once said “Two out of three ain’t bad”.
“I can score, rebound or facilitate, but the most important thing for me as a player is that I make the right plays at the right time to help my team-mates.” Said Ricky Taylor upon signing for the Eagles. It turns out that he, erm, couldn’t score, rebound or facilitate.
As Alan Sugar once said “You’re fired”. Taylor was ditched after 3 games, the usually reliable Eagles’ scouting system drawing a surprising blank with this one.
Taylor popped up at Belfast Star a couple of months later , the stomping ground of ex Eagles player Mad Dog McCotter, (A sort of “he’s rubbish, but we recommend him to you” type thing) and actually had a reasonable season. He’s still preaching the word of the lord through the “International basketball ministry”. There’s a link on his website where you can declare that “I want to be saved”. Bet he wished he’d clicked it before Fab wielded the axe.
Odiba “Sam” Attah
Sam Attah started last season at Durham. He lasted until December before being released by mutual consent. He turned up at Leeds in January and, within 5 weeks, was released by…..mutual consent. Soon after, he signed for Surrey where he finished the season – I think (I lost track of where he was by this point).
The logical conclusion would be that he was, therefore, rubbish. His performances and numbers dispute this fact though, encouraging the theory that he might be on the run and couldn’t risk staying in one place for too long. Like Thelma and Louise, if it rained all the time, and featured guys instead of gals, and if only one of them decided to go on the adventure. So not like Thelma and Louise at all really.
Jajuan Smith, or JJ as he was known to his fans, was a bit of an enigma – a flawed genius one might say (If one was hamming it up). His resume boasted more clubs than Tiger Woods’ golf bag (before he got caught and decided to spend the rest of his career looking like a down and out). If any football fans can remember Robert Prosinecki, you begin to get an idea of who JJ was. He delighted the fans with some sublime moments, including 2 “clutch” moments against Worcester and Durham. Playing the magician seemed to tire him out very quickly though, as he spent the majority of games breathing out of his arse.
Come December, the Rocks had had enough of his “issues” and binned him for Reggie Middleton.
14/15 was a season where Cheshire Phoenix had made the decision to link every player they signed with the NBA. One guy had walked past the NBA offices in London, another owned half a dozen official jerseys. Julius Hodge was the real deal though. A genuine first round draft pick who had seen, albeit limited, NBA game time. What could go wrong?
Christmas passed without much drama and then the Hogmanay bells chimed. A new year, a new start. Unfortunately for Hodge he would be the one needing a new start somewhere else. The shit hit the fan in spectacular style as allegations of assault, stories of evil MILFs and snakes, and threats of legal action started flying around the twitterverse. “Exclusives” were promised, tweets were sent to the TV and to the police. The furore eventually died down. Helped in part by the fact that repeated stories of Cheshire releasing players were getting a bit boring, frankly.