Steven Adams: The Thunder from Down Under

17:00, May 19 2014
Steven Adams

Adams three years ago

Many of us in New Zealand have become Oklahoma City Thunder fans this season, and for good reason, we have a 20-year-old lad in Steve Adams playing a major role for them.

I'll share a memory of Adams from three years ago and, as we love to do, put a Southland spin on the wonderful story that is Steve Adams.

It was May 13, 2011, and I headed along to Stadium Southland in Invercargill to watch the Southland Sharks play the Wellington Saints in an NBL fixture.

Adams - a then-Scots College pupil - come off the bench for the Saints.

His 6 minutes 51 seconds on court, where he scored six points and claimed three rebounds, was no indicator he was on track to become an NBA star.


That night, while having a beer at an Invercargill establishment, I spotted the Wellington Saints players walk in and it was hard to miss Adams as he towered over most at the bar.

I turned to my mate and said "that tall guy is Valerie Adams' brother".

That was all I came up with, he was Valerie Adams' brother. With what has unfolded since, it is obvious I might have feel short in suggesting being the sister of New Zealand's star shot putter was his most interesting trait.

The ironic part of this story is it has taken me till now to pick up on one thing. That night in May 2011 when Adams was enjoying the Invercargill nightlife, he was just 17 years old.

I guess at 2.13m you can forgive Adams for pulling one over the door staff and getting himself in despite being under-age. N o sympathy here

Anyone else couldn't give two hoots how Lou Vincent is feeling it the moment?

Former Black Cap Lou Vincent has supposedly confessed to spot-fixing and match-fixing in domestic games throughout the world.

Many people have rallied behind him and some have gone as far as painting him as some sort of heroic figure because he has reportedly spilt the beans "for the good of the game".

Remember it was also reported he is spilling those beans as a plea-bargain to try to ensure he doesn't face legal action, not because he is trying to save cricket.

I agree him telling all has got to be good in the quest to fix the filthy problems but you won't find me patting him on the back.

There are thousands of people in New Zealand who each summer at a grassroots level pour many volunteer hours into the sport of cricket to carry on its great traditions.

They are the people I feel the most for as they try to defend their sport at the moment, not Lou Vincent.

If he is found guilty, prison is where he belongs. S tones and glasshouses anyone?

At the end of the Super Rugby season, Chiefs second five-eighth Bundee Aki will head overseas to play his rugby.

He has been lured to Ireland with the hope of playing international rugby for the Irish once he completes the required time to become a resident of the country.

It all seems a bit comical doesn't it.

However, throwing pot shots at the Irish from New Zealand could be a bit hypocritical, given the All Black training squad naming last week.

Malaki Fekitoa left Tonga as a 17-year-old in 2009 to join Wesley College on a scholarship.

The NZ Rugby Union quickly took interest but could not select him in its national secondary schools or under-20 teams because he did not qualify as a New Zealand resident.

Instead, the NZRU kept him under its watch and, five years on from shifting to New Zealand, he is line to make his test debut.

Recruitment of rugby players to New Zealand from the Islands has never been more rife.

"Scholarship" seems to be the buzz word as schools from all over the country pick up players from the Pacific Islands in a quest to bolster their first XV teams.

Yes, the NZRU provides more game development and financial assistance than these players would ever get back in their home country and that is why New Zealand is attractive.

But let's forget Fiji, Tonga or Samoa ever being an international threat, with New Zealand cherry-picking the best talent from these countries. W hat's the right number?

There is a debate going on in Dunedin about the number of premier club rugby teams there.

At the moment, there are 10 teams but there is a suggestion it should be reduced to eight because of a struggle for quality players and blowout results.

In Southland, there has also been some debate on this topic.

Currently, there are seven Southland premier teams but some believe there needs to be more.

In theory, I understand why people would think growing the premier grade would be a positive step forward but I wonder whether it would, in fact, be good for Southland rugby. More is not always better.

In the case of developing players, and most notably players that will deliver for the Stags, there needs to be a premier club competition where there are no easy games. The standard of play needs to be as high as possible with as few weak links in teams as possible.

I'm not sure adding more teams and stretching the player resource further would be the best way to help premier club rugby.