Holding a double-degree in Business Marketing/Sport & Recreation Management gives an insight into the passion and knowledge that Mark holds for sport and recreation. To compliment his studies, Mark currently works in numerous roles within profession sport both during the week and on weekends. Mark was also heard from time to time on Western Australian radio, providing an expert insight into various sporting issues currently being discussed in the media.
On a personal note, Mark is heavily involved within his local sporting community, in particular with his basketball and indoor netball commitments.
As well as being the co-owner/manager with Daniel (DJC), Mark’s main areas of interest when it comes to writing are AFL, Cricket and Basketball, however as can be seen he will write on any sport and every sport! He is also responsible for keeping everyone as up to date as possible using the Pen and Paper Sports Facebook page.
I had the chance to fire off a few questions to my favourite player within the NBL, the hugely athletic Lucas Walker. When this man gets into the open court there is no point even trying to defend him because he will simply jump over you and a new poster will be made the next day that would absolutely humiliate you! Once again a big thank you to the Melbourne Tigers and also to Lucas for agreeing to do this, it is greatly appreciated!
1) A great game on the weekend against the Breakers, double OT and you had your best game of the season with 20pts, 8 boards and a couple of assists. Do you put that down to more minutes or were you simply in the “zone”?
I would say a combination of both at the right time. I felt relaxed and ready for the game prior to tip off and then getting opportunities to play a decent amount helped me play the way i did. Sometimes you can play more minutes and not feel like you're in the flow of the game and not perform as well as you like, thats just how it goes. It would have been nice to get a win though.
2) Do you, as a player, enjoy games going into OT as much as the fans or what’s your mindset when it comes to games going into OT?
I hate going in to OT. I don't think any player in the world wants to go to OT. If you can in the game in regulation, you do it. We have lost a few in OT this year and its heart breaking. To think you had an opportunity to win and it slipped through your fingers is tough to deal with.
3) Do you think that game may have silenced a few people who thought the Tigers were going to drop off without Patty Mills in the side?
I hope so. There was always going to be people who couldn't wait for Patty to leave so they could have a dig at us when we lost and blame it all on that. We lost in OT against Townsville with Patty, and lost to Adelaide who were on the bottom of the ladder with Patty too. I would contribute the few losses we have had recently to inconsistent form. Patty is a phenominal player and i loved having him around on and off the court, but we put this group together at the start of the year without him and we believed it was a group that could push for a championship. The double OT losss against New Zealand was the best we had played in a few weeks and we showed a lot of intensity and heart in that game. I think once we can nail the little things that are keeping us from winning tight games, we will be very tough to beat.
4) What’s been the biggest adjustment to having Patty leave, more minutes or different personnel on court at different times?
We may have lost a bit of our scoring punch, but in saying that, we have a whole team of dudes who can score, so its up to them to make the most of the extra shots they get. Cam Tragardh has been huge scoring for us in recent weeks, hes now leading the league. We have Daniel Dillon playing a bunch more minutes now and he is FAST. he can push the ball up the court better than anyone in the league i think and he has strength to go with it.
5) I asked Cam Tragardh earlier in the year what he felt about going from the tall roster last season to a much smaller one this season, what are your thoughts on that?
Its definitely gone from one extreme to the other. I think it was hard last year to spread the minutes around all the big guys because we had so many. When D-Mac took over as coach i got put in the 3 spot where i played in college, but this year we are a lot smaller and i have played the 5 on occasions in games. We have a really fast and athletic team so we want to push the ball and really play uptempo basketball which is great for me because i love to get out there and run.
6) We haven’t seen too many open floor dunks from you this season, do you think you could get Trevor to draw up a play so we can see you throw down an inbound alley or a monster jam?
I'm slacking on the dunks this year. Last year i was in dunk heaven. I reckon i still have the most on the team, but i would love to get way more. We have a few plays where i could catch a lob, but this year i think they will come from crashing the offensive glass and running the lanes hard. I will get a cheeky drop off pass from a guard every now and then.
7) You’ve played some college ball at St Mary’s, the same college as Patty Mills, how valuable was your time there and do you still keep in touch with the coaches, players etc?
I loved playing college basketball. I was actually watching it on the plane coming back from a road trip last week and it really made me miss it. I still keep in touch with the guys that i played with there. 3 of them have actually come out here as imports either in the NBL or Big V so its fun to be able to hang out with them in my own country and show them around. I learnt a lot at college though, my coach had me on a pretty tight leash and there wasn't much room for error or i was in trouble. Coach Gleeson may wonder what happened to me then since i can make some careless mistakes at practice, but he is on me too when i mess up. After making the same mistake long enough, you get used to what will and won't fly. I dont think that means you have to change your game, more so that you become aware of what is a smart play and what isn't.
8) What do you think is the best part of the NBL this season?
I would like to say having more games on TV, but they are delayed so not as many people are exposed to it. I think the hype that Patty Mills brought back to it made it very exciting to be a Melbourne player and fans around the league were pretty pumped to get the opportunity to see him play. If we get some new teams in the league next year that will be really good.
9) What about the weakest?
The weakest? The delayed games. I know what the deal was between OneHD and the NBL, and that's a decision the NBL made with the leagues best interests in mind so who am i to argue, i'm happy to be playing. Its just a shame that kids will have to go to bed early and miss out on watching our national league. With a larger audience i think it would be easier to create brand and player recognition. I still talk to people i meet who say "Sorry, i don't know who the Melbourne Tigers are" let alone a Cairns Taipans or Townsville Crocs who are so far away from Melbourne. There needs to be a bit more media, get the public to recognize current players and how teams are doing so they are able to keep tabs on how everyone is doing. It would be fantastic if it became almost common knowledge of who was good and who wasn't in the NBL.
10) Any inside scoop on the behaviours in the locker room before, during and after a match that you could let us in on?
There really isn't any pre-game rituals at all pre-game. We all like to have a little sleep in the hotel when we are on the road before a game. Home games though everyone just tapes and gets ready, its really uninteresting. Sometimes we will tease whoever has the player profile in the game night program about his answers or other stupid things he said, but thats about it.
I have to say these are some of the best answers I've received from the interviews I've done so far, by this I mean the detail is great! If you haven't made your way down to see the NBL yet get down and check it out! The action is close this season and any team can win on any night.