THE next 10 weeks will determine the winners of the West Coast Classic for 2020 which has been created in place of the 2020 and the race for that title gets underway with 12 games played over Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
All 14 clubs had finalised their preparations for the SBL season that was originally set to begin back in March after the conclusion of the pre-season Blitz tournament, but COVID-19 was starting to take hold.
Initially that led to the postponement of the start of the SBL season for 2020 and ultimately led to it being cancelled altogether.
However, Western Australia was doing an increasingly strong job of keeping the pandemic from getting out of hand in the state like it had in other parts of the country and the world, and the restrictions were beginning to be eased.
It got to a point where it did appear possible that there could be some basketball action played in place of the SBL and that’s where the West Coast Classic came from, and now all of a sudden it’s upon us beginning this Friday night.
The West Coast Classic will consist of nine rounds with all 14 teams playing each other once with before a finals weekend that will determine the champions will take place from September 25-27.
There remains so much unknown about how the teams will look in terms of personnel now in the West Coast Classic in comparison to how they were shaping up for the SBL season back in March, but what does remain clear is how much excitement there is to have top level basketball back.
There’s no shortage of action to look forward to either and it gets underway on Friday night with a tantalising battle between the Joondalup Wolves and Perth Redbacks.
For the first time in a long time, neither side will be led by championship coaches Ben Ettridge and Nik Lackovic which automatically leads to some fascination in terms of how new coaches Andrew Summerville and CJ Jackson perform in charge.
Then you have a Wolves team that has recently added former Redbacks Grand Final MVP Lee Roberts and Perry Lakes Hawks championship winning guard Lochlan Cummings.
The Redbacks look impressive too having added Caleb White and Tevin Jackson while retaining Joel Wagner, Zac Gattorna and Marshall Nelson.
Then also on Friday night, the redeveloped Willetton Basketball Stadium will host an official game for the first time with the Willetton Tigers hosting old foes the Lakeside Lightning.
The East Perth Eagles also have a new coach in the form of Luke Coburn and will be a vastly looking line-up as they host a Kalamunda Eastern Suns team featuring the man who was meant to coach them in 2020, Ben Ettridge on their coaching staff.
Mark Worthington’s time coaching the South West Slammers gets underway at Eaton Recreation Centre always on Friday when his team hosts a Mandurah Magic team with quite the coaching staff too featuring Aaron Trahair and Ricky Grace.
The last match up for Friday night is two teams deserving to be considered among the favourites for this West Coast Classic, the Perry Lakes Hawks and Warwick Senators at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Senators then back that up on Saturday night by hosting the Goldfields Giants while reigning SBL champions the Geraldton Buccaneers open their new season where they qualified for last year’s Grand Final against the Lakeside Lightning.
The Mandurah Magic also host the Perth Redbacks on Saturday night and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Willetton Tigers both have double-header weekends when they face off at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Rockingham Flames and Cockburn Cougars also face off on Saturday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex marking Luke Travers’ return to his old home court.
There are then two more matches on Sunday at midday with the Perry Lakes Hawks hosting the Goldfields Giants at Bendat Basketball Centre, and the East Perth Eagles facing the Geraldton Buccaneers at Herb Graham Leisure Centre.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
Joondalup Wolves v Perth Redbacks – HBF Arena 8.30pm
Willetton Tigers v Lakeside Lightning – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Herb Graham Leisure Centre 8.30pm
South West Slammers v Mandurah Magic – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Warwick Senators – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.30pm
Warwick Senators v Goldfields Giants – Warwick Stadium 7pm
Lakeside Lightning v Geraldton Buccaneers – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7pm
Mandurah Magic v Perth Redbacks – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7pm
Rockingham Flames v Cockburn Cougars – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Willetton Tigers – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Goldfields Giants – Bendat Basketball Centre 12pm
East Perth Eagles v Geraldton Buccaneers – Herb Graham Leisure Centre 12pm