Bairstow ready for NBL re-firing
Photo Source: AAP
After eight years in the sporting wilderness, the Brisbane Bullets are back.
Brisbane kick off the NBL season against champions Perth Wildcats on Thursday night following their readmission to the league.
It's been a long eight years for local fans, who saw stars like Leroy Loggins, Cal and CJ Bruton and Sam Mackinnon win the foundation club three championships before disbanding in 2008.
By recruiting national team coach Andrej Lemanis and a talented roster headed by Boomer Cam Bairstow, there's a feeling the Bullets can make a splash both on and off the court.
"We've got to give fans a team that they're going to be proud to come and support," Lemanis said on Wednesday.
"We certainly respect and we'll honour the history of this club ... but this team needs to establish their own identity."
In typical Lemanis style, the Bullets will be a busy and proactive team.
"(We'll be) a team that plays defence. A team that stays in every possession," he said.
"A team that shares the ball offensively and plays the game the right way.
"There won't be a lot of hero ball the way we play, we'll play as a team."
Bairstow is a toss-up to make tip-off on Thursday night, recovering from a dislocated shoulder at the Olympic Games.
Lemanis said a decision would be up to the 25-year-old local, but teammate Adam Gibson backed the Boomer to play.
"I think Cam will be fine. He's done all his work off the court. He's a beast," he said.
"That's why they call him the bear. He's solid down in the paint. He's ready to go."
Gibson is the sole playing link to the previous Bullets side, with CJ Bruton joining in an off-field role.
"We've had the fingers crossed for many years," he said.
"I've said many times if the Bullets were still here I'd be a one-club player. I'm glad I'm a part of the rebuild and hopefully we can do well."
Whether or not the Bullets are successful, their readmission, after previous owner Eddy Groves was unable to find a new buyer, is at least a positive sign for the league.
Under new chief Larry Kestelman, the competition is riding a wave of enthusiasm.
The NBL has broadcast deals with Fox Sports and SBS and on Wednesday announced it would be streamed in China.