IT wouldn’t be playoffs time without players and coaches engaging in mind games so, while I was intrigued by Jerome Randle’s comments this week, I certainly wasn’t surprised by them.
I’ve said often since Randle arrived in the NBL that he’s one of the best players to ever play in Australia. Winning the MVP award in a canter on Monday night is proof of that.
He’s very confident in the way he carries himself but he’s not one to just shoot his mouth of without thinking so there’s no question that there’s an agenda behind it. It wasn’t an off-hand comment, it was said to media pack and it didn’t take a whole lot of prompting.
I’ve been around a long, long time and you see the psychological games that get played at this stage of a season. Randle’s always walked the walk in this league so it’s interesting that he’s chosen this particular time to start talking the talk.
He’s looking for a reaction from us to bite on it but I also think he’s looking for a reaction from his own team. The 36rs have been the best team in the league this season but they’re coming off four straight losses heading into the playoffs and we beat them 3-1 in the regular season. I think it’s his way of putting a line in the sand.
We’re going over there into their backyard in front of 8,000 fans and he’s making sure in no uncertain terms that we’re the villains.
It’s also not the first time one of my teams been accused of being dirty and most often it’s as a ploy to influence the referees. This is no different because there’s just simply no fact or substance to what he’s said.
I’m super proud of my guys and the way they’ve gone about their business on and off the court this season. We work hard every day, and we play hard out on the court.
Comments like that are obviously going to pump us up but we didn’t need any extra motivation. We know what’s at stake. We’re in the playoffs, we’re going up against the number one team and if that’s not enough motivation, we shouldn’t be in the playoffs.
I know on our day we can beat any team in this league and we’re ready to prove that now when it matters.