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Taipans All-Import Starting Five

Jayson Wells

With the Cairns Taipans going into their 15th season, we thought this year we would celebrate some of their history, starting with our pick for their All-Import Starting Five.

Going through the selection we took into consideration: Time with the club, awards won, play and what they did for the team. We came across some hard decisions like Marcus Timmons, Ron Dorsey, Kevin Owens or one of the first Taipans imports Rashamel Jones. But not everyone can make the cut.

Some players were left off the list because they became naturalised Australians before or during their tenure with the Snakes. Such as Darnell Mee, Melvin Thomas and Rob Rose. Although Rob Rose’s Cairns stint wasn’t even note worthy.

Players that made the ‘Not so good’ import list are: Kenny Payne, Gerald Zimmerman, Jared Newson, Ron Kelly and Rashad Tucker.

Some other random imports you may not remember, but weren’t that bad: Al Hamilton, Ricky Robinson, Rich Melzer and if you have a short memory Andrew Warren.

So – Here we are!

C: Chris Burgess

Burgess spent 3 years in the NBL, all with the Taipans  from 2004-2006. He was selected to the All-NBL First Team in 2005 and All-Star in the same year. Over 3 seasons he averaged 16.6 ppg, 11.9 rpg and 1.9 bpg.

Chris is by far the best import center the Taipans have ever had and still holds the team record for the most rebounds in a game when he pulled down 28 against the Perth Wildcats in October 2004. He was known for his inside scoring, rebounding and a great shot blocker.

F: Jayson Wells

Wells came into the NBL in 2001 with the Canberra Cannons and signed with the Taipans in 2002 as a replacement for Matt Garrison. He came back to Cairns for the 2003 season. In 2 seasons with the club he averaged 21 ppg and 8 rpg.

Wells was one of the most exciting players to watch during his Taipans years. He could dunk with the best of them and one of the best scoring imports the Taipans have ever had.

F: Larry Abney

The original Birdman came to Cairns in 2008 after playing two seasons with the Townsville Crocs. A signing that angered many Crocs fans and would later come back to bite the Taipans because of his large contract.

Abney spent 2 seasons (well, 1 and a half) with the Snakes, making the NBL All-Star game in 2008 and finishing in the top 5 for rebounds in 2008 and 2009. He averaged 15.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 1.0 bpg during his time in Cairns.

Larry was best known for his dunks, giving him the name “Birdman”.

G: Ayinde Ubaka

“Chewy” Ubaka played just one season for the Cairns Taipans but he was the most memorable season the Taipans have ever had. Ayinde joined the Taipans in 2010-11 after a season with the Gold Coast Blaze. He averaged 13.9 ppg and 4 apg whilst earning a selection to the All-NBL Third team.

Ubaka lead the Snakes to their only finals appearance, losing to the NZ Breakers. He was best known for his clutch shooting, on the court antics and streaky scoring.

G: Jamar Wilson

Wilson will play his 3rd straight season with the Taipans this year. He first joined the Snakes in 2011-12 and after a MVP like season in 2012 he was re-signed on a rare multi year deal by the club.

In 2012 Wilson averaged 17.3 ppg, 3.1 apg and 5.3 rpg. Earning him selection to the All-NBL Second Team in 2012. He backed this up with a All-Star and All-NBL Third Team selection in 2013.

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Nat Where You At

Nat Where You At

Basketball Junkie
Basketball junkie living in the real South Beach (Wollongong!). I talk too much about basketball, eat too much bacon and reminisce about the Seattle SuperSonics almost everyday.
Nat Where You At

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4 comments
Russel Bach
Russel Bach

Yep that's him I posted this article on his Facebook wall he was an awesome player to watch. I still haven't seen a player in the nbl is fast as he was.