Sports

Puff Summers’ Basketball Diary: ‘It’s easier to play against Adrian than coach him. I want to kick his a** and he wants to kick mine’



Our next opponents tomorrow, Ballincollig, are annoying as they have been the darlings of National League since their senior team got started four years ago.

or one, they have won all six games in the Super League so far this year, which is their first time in the top flight.

And before Ballincollig achieved promotion, they won three consecutive Division 1 Cups.

They have an intelligent game too spearheaded by the O’Sullivan brothers, Ciarán and Adrian – the latter came back from Spain to play for them this year.

Most annoyingly, they’re nice people. Even the kids from that club have great manners when they’re at any underage tournament.

Adrian is a close friend of mine, so it was a bit strange to tell him things he may not want to hear as Ireland assistant coach on international duty two weeks ago.

It’s much easier to play against him this week as it’s simple: I’m trying to kick his a** and he’s trying to kick mine.

Normally, I would share tips and advice with him over WhatsApp, and this week I have hardly mentioned basketball at all in our texts.

Adrian did ask about our American, Darren Townes, who has just re-joined us.

I didn’t tell him much, but I don’t need to ask about their American players, Andre Nation who is an amazing player and will be very hard to tackle.

I am very judgemental about the professionalism of the young Americans that come here, but you don’t have to worry about players like Andre and our guys.

They are often first in the gym, stretching, practising and going through their routine.

The flip side of that are the Americans who just come here and are happy to practise twice a week, play video games, and do absolutely nothing the rest of the time.

Ireland is a great opportunity for import players to improve because your team-mates must work also, so it gives you extra time on your own to improve yourself.

Although, some don’t use that extra time to their advantage.

This is my last diary before Christmas, and I have been getting great feedback from the basketball community on this series.

I’ll be at home in Kilkenny once again for the festive season, but I hope to get back to Virginia before the summer after an almost two-year absence.

I’m raging I won’t be there this year because my brother’s wife is about to have the first little boy in the Summers family.

My brother is naming him Kobe.

That’s a lot of pressure on him because he has got to be a basketball player, and I can’t wait to get my hooks into him and take him training when he is old enough.

It’s great having a Kobe coming along because I remember when Kobe Bryant died in that tragic helicopter crash, it felt like I had lost a member of the family.

I was in celebratory mood that week because we had just won the Cup, but after that news I couldn’t feel anything.

Sometimes being away from home, you miss out on things like that.

It was especially upsetting to be so removed from your family during the Black Lives Matter rallies and all the police-brutality stuff at home.

Although, only some of my family made it to those rallies.

My mom is a nurse, so she was trying to keep safe during the pandemic and didn’t have time for anything other than trying to keep people from getting too sick.

She is a workhorse as I remember her telling me she worked 135 hours over two weeks before they told her to stop.

I hope that has rubbed off on me with the basketball because we will need to work hard against Ballincollig tomorrow.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

SATURDAY

Men’s Super League – Belfast Star v Tralee Warriors, De La Salle College, 5.0; Éanna v Neptune, Coláiste Éanna, 7.0; Templeogue v Ballincollig, Nord Anglia International School, 7.0; DCU Saints v Killorglin, DCU Sports Complex, 7.0; Killester v Maree, IWA Clontarf, 7.30.

Women’s Super League – DCU Mercy v Fr Mathews – Loreto Foxrock, 3.0; Trinity Meteors v Glanmire, St Teresians, 4.0; Killester v WIT Waterford Wildcats, IWA Clontarf, 5.0.

Men’s Division 1 – UCC Demons v Limerick Celtics, Parochial Hall, 6.0; Titans v EJ Sligo All-Stars, Ballinfoile Centre, 6.0; LYIT Donegal v Ulster University, LYIT Sports Centre, 6.0; WIT Vikings v Killarney Cougars, Carrickpherish Sports Hall, 7.0, Dublin Lions v Drogheda Wolves, Coláiste Bríd, 7.15; Scotts Lakers Killarney v Limerick Sport Eagles, TBC, 7.30; Fr Mathews v IT Carlow Basketball, Fr Mathews Arena, 7.45.

Women’s Division 1 – LYIT Donegal v Marble City Hawks, LYIT, 2.0; Ulster University v Tipperary Knights, UUJ, 3.30; Limerick Celtics v Templeogue, St Munchin’s College 5.0; Swords Thunder v Limerick Sport Huskies, ALSAA Sports Complex, 5.30; Phoenix Rockets v Portlaoise Panthers, Lisburn Racquets Club, 6.30.

SUNDAY

Men’s Super League – UCD Marian v Moycullen, UCD Sports Centre, 3.0.

Women’s Super League – Brunell v Liffey Celtics, Parochial Hall, 2.45; St Mary’s v IT Carlow Basketball, Castleisland CC, 3.0

Women’s Division 1 – LYIT Donegal v NUIG Mystics, LYIT, 2.30.



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