Senator11
Earlier this year

Greatest NBL import ever

This conversation has gone on in the media so may as well start it here too. Thoughts? Cotton has the potential to be it, but still a long way to go to pass guys like Loggins, Grace, Crawford, Fisher, Davis, Rucker, McDonald, Rose etc Who else belongs in the conversation?

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ratpack  
Earlier this year

Darnell Mee

Lanard Copeland

Ebi Ere

Melvin Thomas

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

Was Mee Ere in the league long enough? Remember they were good, but didn't think they were around for more than a few years?

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

*Mee & Ere

Good add with Copeland and Thomas.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Great list in the OP all stars of the game but we should only consider their seasons prior to naturalization.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Which brings up the point, what is the qualication? Is it longevity in the league or ability? If Lebron played a season in the NBL he would clearly be the greatest import ever. There were some absolute great imports who were only here for a short time.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Overton. Ennis. Chris Williams to name a few.

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

I think if they naturalise it adds to their legacy and has to be included.

I think it needs to include longevity as that's part of the media argument currently, so it would have to include accolades, championships, career stats, single season stats etc.

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woody  
Earlier this year

Childress must be put in the conversation just for his productivity but really I would say LC, Leroy and the Alabama Slammer

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Tribe  
Earlier this year

I didn't see Loggins in his prime but his record and longevity suggests the he is the greatest.

But in the 20 yrs i've watched the NBL, Cotton is clearly the best import i've seen. He's genuine NBA quality, and im talking 20-25 mins per game type NBA quality.

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woody  
Earlier this year

But in the 20 yrs i've watched the NBL, Cotton is clearly the best import i've seen. He's genuine NBA quality, and im talking 20-25 mins per game type NBA quality.

He is too undersized for the NBA as a 2 guard. This is why the Jazz waived him.

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Zodiac  
Earlier this year

Loggins comfortably.

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hoopie  
Earlier this year

look in here https://www.hoops.com.au/forum/14022-great-nbl-imports/#p451190

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Isaac  
Earlier this year

An alternative look at it might be to say "You can pick any import in their NBL prime to build a team around. Who do you choose?" Adjust for the modern game. 'Prime' would presumably preclude someone like Stephen Jackson. 'Build a team around' might preclude someone like Carlos Powell who was a bit of a force but generally at the expense of team chemistry. I missed the year Chris Williams played but he's often spoken of as a candidate for this sort of thing.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Its hard to compare between eras. Different rules, different situations. The guys in the 80's were semi pro - working full time jobs as well as playing and training. Today's guys who don't have any other distractions from basketball would kill them

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Luuuc  
Earlier this year

Stephen Jackson often gets mentioned in lists like these, but only on the basis of what he went on to be. His NBL career was negligible.

For me personally, being called the greatest in the NBL needs an element of sustained performance so I would rule out any one-season wonders.

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

Yeah, we don't talk about the NBA GOAT as someone who had 1 good season, so why are we taking that into account here?

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LV  
Earlier this year

This reminds me of a discussion point from a few years ago...

https://nbl.com.au/news/article/cedric

If you took the first 4 seasons of Loggins, D-Mac, Davis, Fisher Grace, etc and then compare to Cotton's first 3.5 seasons, I suspect Loggins would be comparable, and some others not far behind. Loggins won an MVP early on, D-Mac I think finished 2nd in the MVP? Both won championships, all-NBL first teams

And those guys played another 10+ years

So basically, if Cotton's next 3.5 years are anything like his first 3.5 then he'll be in the discussion. But right now, no way he's ahead of these legends who played for 15 years.

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LV  
Earlier this year

But, Cotton is the greatest import of the past 20 years. Ahead of Ware, Randle, Jackson, Lisch, Ere, Redhage, Williams, Patterson, Thomas, probably others who I can't recall off the top....

I hope he sticks around like Redhage and Lisch- not enough of that in the past 20 years.

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LV  
Earlier this year

Last 20 years- since that's how long I’ve been watching NBL regularly. Anyone pre-2000 I only saw glimpses of.

This is purely from memory in 5 minutes, without looking at stats or NBL first team lists (To avoid spending 2 hours putting my list together!).

Must have played multiple seasons- so this excludes Ennis, Powell, Wethers, Chris Williams, Donta Smith, Wilbekin etc.

Cotton
Jackson
Ware
Lisch
Randle
Prather
Redhage
Dave Thomas
Ere
Homicide Williams

Honorable mentions: Tucker, Patterson, Franklin, Boone, Wilkinson

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

Forgot about Tucker and Jackson, how about Timmons and...Trimingham!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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woody  
Earlier this year

My favorite import of all time is Jim Havrilla lol

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D2.0  
Earlier this year

Just my personal opinion, but when I say "greatest" I factor in contribution over time.
With that in mind, I can't go past Loggins:
20 seasons, 550+ games, 3 times MVP, NBL 1st team multiple times, IIRC 2nd highest scorer in the NBL. Plus also won DPoTY a couple of times.

At his best, during his 1st stint, with the Giants, Fisher was incredible.

My Starting 5 (imports) would be:
Rucker
Copeland
Loggins
Fisher
Crawford

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Isaac  
Earlier this year

Cotton is not necessarily miles clear of Cedric Jackson who had a very concentrated impact on the NBL and success of the Breakers before things went south.

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

I'd have Grace over Rucker, otherwise looks right, Cotton prob bumps Copeland at his current trajectory. Feel Grace impacted his teammates more.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Who's the best Wildcats guard ever, Grace or Cotton?

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S. Christophersons Mum  
Earlier this year

Scott Christopherson. End thread.

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

"Who's the best Wildcats guard ever, Grace or Cotton?"

Grace again due to longevity, but even Grace has said Cotton will overtake him.

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Perthworld  
Earlier this year

With that in mind, I can't go past Loggins:
20 seasons, 550+ games, 3 times MVP, NBL 1st team multiple times, IIRC 2nd highest scorer in the NBL. Plus also won DPoTY a couple of times.

Don't forget he has a statue outside of Boondall.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

The NBL 25th Anniversary Team was based on an eligibility criterion of "To be eligible for selection, players...must have played...in at least 100 NBL games"

Seems like a good criterion to apply here.

Worth noting that the only imports to have won multiple NBL MVPs are Loggins (3), Fisher (2), Rose (2), Cotton (2) and Lisch(2).

Loggins was a flat out legend. He could take control of a game at either end. Imagine combining the best of Cotton's offence and Martin's defence. He played 11 seasons as an import before then playing another 10 seasons as a local. Aside from 2 years spent at West Adelaide (82 and 83), he played all of that time for one team - the Bullets. He was that good they never wanted to let him go.

As a 43 year old in his final season, his game averages were: 36 minutes played, 16.6 points, 45.8% field goal accuracy, 43.8% three point accuracy, 4.3 three point attempts per game, 5.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.0 turnovers. He played 22 games that season. And that was statistically about his poorest season in the NBL.

He represented Australia at the Olympics, was on 3 NBL champion teams, grand final MVP once (he was Player of the Match in two other grand finals, before grand final MVP was a thing). He was 9 times All NBL First Team and twice Defensive Player of the Year.

Using Isaac's criterion, Loggins in his NBL prime (which lasted over 10 years) would be my first pick to build an NBL team around. No hesitation.

He'd do fine in the modern game, too. In his prime, he had the skill set, physical attributes and basketball smarts to adapt and succeed in any NBL era.

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LoveBroker  
Earlier this year

If no minimum tenure requirement :
- Childress
- Chris Williams.
- Ennis
- Cotton.
- Honorary mention for Hopson if we could see 1 full season of him.

If there is a min tenure :
- Copeland.
- Loggins
- Rucker
- Grace
- Fisher
- Crawford
- Honorary mention Mee and Mark Davis.

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BobnCat  
Earlier this year

I would think Al Green should be brought into this conversation.

2× NBL champion (1982, 1986)
NBL Most Valuable Player (1982)
2× All-NBL First Team (1981, 1985)
3× NBL All-Star Game (1982, 1988, 1991)
NBL scoring champion (1984)
First player to score 3,000 points in the NBL (1985)
Australian Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (1999

Personally I think he could have had more personal achievements if his off court theatrics and he lowered his ego. Still, I think his ego is what made him so good!

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Grace
Leroy
Davis
M Thomas
Williams
Trimmingham

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Camel 31  
Earlier this year

all those awards that you mention were done by aussie al green, naturalised

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

How's about Cal Bruton, fairly large contribution to the NBL without the same success as the others.

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The TrUth  
Earlier this year

Loggins with Rob Rose a close second. People seem to forget the impact the magician had on the league over a long period of time and like Loggins played into his 40's although did decline during his last season in Cairns.

The man was one of if not the best clutch time players in NBL history. Won titles with SE Melb, MVP's and made the Crocs organisation relevant almost on his own.

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Senator11  
Earlier this year

Rose was my favourite player of all time who wasn't a Wildcat, absolute jet.

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Captain Jack  
Earlier this year

I still have Leroy Loggins as number 1 import,

The others in the mix which Cotton is apart of for me are

Al Green
Mark Davis
Scott Fisher
Rob Rose
Lanard Copeland
Kevin Lisch
Cedric Jackson (The Breakers version)
Brye Cotton

So Cotton due to longevity isnt quite the best for most fans, but if you look at his individual talent and the fact he is arguably playing in the toughest era, and crazy amount of winning, you could very much argue he is the GOAT import, even if he isnt quite at the top he is in the top 10 and rising every year he stays in the NBL

If you just look at talent and completely ignore longevity guys like Ennis, Childress, Donta Smith, Chris Williams would need to be added to the list

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Gus3232  
Earlier this year

Went to my first NBL game in 1986. Seen a few imports come and go.

For short tenures, you cannot go past Doug Overton, James Ennis, Chris Williams, Norman Taylor, Steve Carfino in his Hobart stint, Paul Stanley and my favourite short time import - Tim Dillon (NM 1988-1989), holy crap could he play. An early three point shooting big who could score from anywhere).

As for longevity, it's hard to go past Loggins, Grace, Crawford, Fisher, D-Mac, Rucker, Copeland, Rose, Colbert, Green, the list just goes on.

My pick though is Mark Davis and that hurts as a Perth fan who idolised James Crawford. Davis never took a night off, was barely 6'7" in high heels and just DOMINATED the glass. An absolute beast. Loved the way that bloke played.

Can't wait for PeterJohn to chime in.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

No love for Mark Davis?

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Krazy  
Earlier this year

Have to remember to compare the standard of the current NBL compared to some pretty average eras too.

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Maxx  
Earlier this year

One of the problems with the current NBL is that few people outside basketball circles know any of the players, no matter how good they are.

If you survey 1,000 people in Qld and ask them to name an NBL player 90% will say either Leroy or Shane Heal..

Not sure if that makes them legends or GOATS...

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robt  
Earlier this year

Another consideration in judging longevity is that imports from bygone years were not/no-longer NBA prospects like so many are today.

My point is that now-a-days, many imports are still chasing their dreams. "Back then," imports may have chosen NBL as their best remaining options rather than, "a couple of years in Oz and I'll be NBA ready".

Cal Bruton prime example. Have heard that he was working outside of basketball when was given the NBL-lifeline. His choice was play NBL here or back to riding on garbage trucks in NYC. Had he gone back to USA we could have talked about him being GOAT garbage-man ever.

DiDi, Ball, Thompson and also Craig and Ennis are the other end of the equation. Doesn't matter how good they were/are, they're never going to qualify (longevity-wise) 'cos they're too good before they even get here.

Might be interesting, and less judgemental, if we just find the import with the best single-year stats. That way, we also eliminate the arguements re rule changes, opposition, etc, of then and now. The only irregularity in this stat's-based format would be 48 mins v 40 mins. Games of (nearly) 5 quarters(?????) instead of 4.





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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

George Banks from Canberra Cannons

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Dwayne McClain, then Loggins, Darnell Mee or Robert Rose.

McClain was above the league when he was here.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

No love for Mark Davis? Clearly you can't read. I know Train and saw him play every game, one of the best? Close. No cigar sorry to say.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Rocky Smith from St Kilda, saw him play he could certainly score. Owen Wells and also Dwain McClain. All three would be up there.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

McClain, yeah, definitely up there in terms of pure talent. A couple of years ago I dug out my one remaining VHS tape from the early 90s, that was mostly full of recorded NBA stuff, but had an almost complete 2nd half of a Kings v 36ers game on there as well. He was clearly cruising through the game to a kind of surprising degree, looking back on it from this distance - so, so lazy. If any import played that way now they'd be on the first plane out of here. Then he’d just have this burst of energy, score at will several times, and then just kick back again. I remember being really confused when the Kings axed him back then, but watching this back, it must have been infuriating. (In this game, his scoring sprees are just keeping the Kings on pace, nothing more/nothing less – then right at the end he takes over with a final burst, and the Kings win).

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Anyone arguing against Leroy Loggins as the best import to ever play in the NBL clearly doesn't know the facts and probably never saw him play.

I’ve been watching the NBL since the late 80s and he’s clearly the best import. In fact, I believe Loggins stands shoulder to shoulder with Andrew Gaze as the greatest two players in league history.

- 3 x NBL champion (played in 6 straight NBL finals)
- 3 x NBL MVP’s
- 2 x NBL DPOY
- 10 x NBL 1st Team
- 20 x NBL seasons played
- 1992 Olympian

He was an absolute stud at both ends.
He could score from the perimeter (career 39.4 3P%) midrange or inside, comfortably using both hands to scoring around the basket. He was a very efficient scorer, posting exceptional shooting percentages for his entire career (50 FG%, 39 3FG%, 82 FT%), incredible for a perimeter player.

His length (6-6" with long arms) and athleticism caused headaches defensively, often locking down the opposing team’s best scorer. His quick hands saw him average 2.2 steals for his career, 3 times averaging over 3 steals. He is also rarely given credit for his rebounding. He twice averaged over 10 boards along with averaging 6.9 for his 20 year career which is exceptional from the 3 spot. And finally, he was tough... tough as sh*t. He wouldn’t back down to nobody and that shows in his career record.

Not meaning any disrespect for the many other great imports that have graced our league, but Loggins stands tall as number 1 and in all reality, it’s not even close.


My take on Cotton versus Loggins.
Cotton is a flat out scoring machine, but he will never score on the interior the way Leroy could which makes him much more versatile offensively.
Despite improving over the last season, Cotton doesn’t come close to being the defender nor rebounder Loggins was. Cotton is amazing, but it’s highly unlikely he will ever catch Leroy Legend

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chillbaby  
Earlier this year

Great thread. I have been fortunate to follow the NBL since inception - was at the very first Sydney Astronauts game (vs Glenelg from memory) and have been involved in varying capacities ever since. So many great names posted (and forgotten) above. From "one season wonders" to imports that ended up naturalised there are so many criteria and wonderful players that have passed through our league. Early imports that dominated from my recollection - guys like Owen Wells (I think the first NBA drafted player in NBL?), Mike Jones, Stormin Norman Taylor, Jerry Everett, Wayne McDaniel to current era players like Casey Prather (pre-injury), James Ennis etc. Personally my favourite imports all time would be, in no particular order, Leroy Loggins, the great Cal Bruton (can't recall his name above but has contributed so much to NBL and Australian society in general), Dwayne McLain. Finally, Bryce Cotton. IMO he is already up there with the greatest NBL players of all-time. I find his skills breath taking and the ease with which he plays the game is astounding. He rarely complains to refs and just gets on with it. My apologies to so many other great players I have missed - I am sure there are many more we could add. Another good thread a bit further on - maybe the off-season to keep some interest - would be the greatest and favourite Australian player off all-time

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Lawsy  
Earlier this year

I've noticed Steve Woodberry isn’t getting a lot of mentions. That man was ahead of his time and an absolute animal. That 99 season where he was MVP; he was unstoppable playing some times 46mins per game. I think Woodberry is easily in the top 10 best imports ever chat

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GM  
Earlier this year

And we've overlooked Bruce Bolden

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