Trip to Orange County spoiled by Slow Start
Tucson Buckets took their 0-3 record on the road this weekend to Orange County, California for a rematch with the team that started this inaugural season off for us. The Nova Stars are ranked number 11 in the ABA polls and have a 2-0 record coming into this game. Although our record would indicate differently we have had very competitive performances this season but lacking in execution has been the detriment to a young team. The organization and players are finding its way in this new league and adjusting to the referee styles and unique ABA rules in a short time frame. With that being said, we prepared to take our first out of state road trip with the mentality if we can put a full game together we will be in prime position to start winning.
Coach Ramirez emphasizes sharing the ball and playing hard nose defense despite our lack of size in the paint. We have a quick and talented team but where we struggle is creating shots for our teammates. Getting off to slow starts has been an Achilles heel so far in our young season causing an uphill battle from the jump in 2 of our 3 games. Saturday Night was no different.
Orange County Nova Stars came out of the gate utilizing their overall size to take advantage down low. They quickly got the Buckets in foul trouble making Coach Ramirez adjust his approach early. The Nova Stars took a commanding 15-6 lead before the first media time out was taken and from there were able to stretch the league as far as 28 points in the first half. Turn overs played a major role in the slow start, inaccurate passing and fouls kept the Buckets out of rhythm as well.
Midway through the 2ND quarter is where the Buckets were able to take advantage with their quickness. With the help of the 3D rules implicated in the ABA the Buckets were able to get a few extra points which spurred on a run to end the half. After starting so poorly as they did, the Buckets were able to cut the lead to 10 60-70 at half time.
#24 Donte Williams and #11 Tony Lillard kept the Buckets in the game with their aggressive play. #11 Tony Lillard ended the game with 26 points and #24 Donte Williams had 21. The team came out in the 2nd half with much more energy but the size of the Nova Stars made it difficult for the Buckets to control the boards.
#21 Brandon “Bea Love” Miller took the rebounding into his own hands with 8 rebounds alone in the 2nd half, giving him 14 on the night. Bea Love also helped to jump start the 2nd half push with 2 back to back 3’s and a drop off pass to Donte Williams on a back door cut that cut the lead to 8 points and put the Buckets in good position to make a classic comeback. #9 Jatai Gonder also knocked down 2 big 3’s to help narrow the gap even further.
#20 Dimitri “Meech” Chonis and #35 Mark Simmons could not find a good rhythm on Saturday but contributed with timely rebounds. Meech also made a few highlights with put back dunks while Mark had 4 steals, 2 of which helped score extra points on 3D plays. #12 Devante Harkins played solid as well contributing to 12 points and 5 rebounds in times where rebounding was dire.
Going into the 4th quarter the Buckets were down 104-92 with the Nova Stars looking tired which I could tell by their lack of legs on their free throws. The 9- man rotation of the Tucson Buckets finally started to wear down the bigger Nova Star team in the 4th and the Buckets capitalized by pushing the ball and pressing, forcing turnovers and getting the lead as low as 3 points. After exhausting an abundance of energy, in the end the Buckets ran out of gas the last 3 minutes resulting in our 4th straight loss to start our inaugural season. The Final Score was Orange County 127 and Tucson Buckets 121.
Tucson Buckets travel back to the city with a 3 week break until our next game and nearly a month until our next home game. January 2nd we will be facing the Las Vegas Jokers in Las Vegas where we will be looking to start the year with much more success on the court than 2015 brought us. Looking to utilize these few weeks to fine tune our turnover problems and really get a hold of the ABA rules. We believe we have a strong core and can bring wins with the team we have put together. We are still looking for a big man to solidify our roster this season but with the bulk of our games coming in January and February we have ample time to find the missing piece to our puzzle.
You can watch the live stream of Saturdays game, take a look and tell us what you think we should do to get out of this slump. We are a young organization but we are looking to bring home W’s at all cost. We look forward to seeing everyone in January. There is a lot of good news coming out in the next 2 weeks stayed tuned and keep sharing our website and Facebook page and we will keep bringing positive energy and good basketball to Tucson! #GetBuckets
#11 Tony Lilliard- 26 Points, 4/6 from 3, 3 assist and 2 steals
#24 Donte Williams- 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assist, and 1/3 from 3
#21 Brandon Miller- 13 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assist, and 3/5 from 3
#9 Jatai Gonder- 10 points, 2/4 from 3, and 2 assist
#35 Mark Simmons Jr- 9 points, 2 assist, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals
#12 Devonte Harkins-12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assist and, 2 steals
#30 Saul Mancinas 9 points, 6 rebounds
#6 Marcus Campbell- 11 points, 7 rebounds, 0/1 from 3
#20 Dimitri Chonis- 9 points, 3 assist, 5 rebounds, 1/6 from 3
This journey over the last 5-6 months since I took over the online business duties for the franchise for my big brother Brandon Miller, who is co-owner as well as a player on the team, has been one to remember. Rewind back to 1 and half year prior, I was accompanying my brother to his first ever professional tryout which was for the San Diego Surf another ABA franchise in which he actually made the team but due to some franchise deficiencies and issues the marriage just could not happen. So from there I watched my brother turn a dream of playing into this seemingly unimaginable dream to own a professional team here in Tucson. I rarely feel doubt when it comes to doing things so maybe it’s the ambition in us that made us believe in what we could accomplish. Tucson is a basketball city and even the mention of a semi-pro team coming to the city turns people ears up at us. There has been several attempts at bringing a team to the city but have not been able to garner the support and attention to make it last. We are far from the traditional professional organization we resemble more closely the people who were beat down so long and denied so much the only alternative was to do it themselves.
Brandon and I returned from that trip to San Diego and discussed his aspirations with his now Business partner and Co-owner of the Tucson Buckets Jatai Gonder who just like Brandon has pursued his professional basketball career for many years but saw the value of bringing the team to Tucson and from there the seed was planted.
Growing up in the south and having grandparents and older friends who raised cattle and cultivated many fruits and vegetables in gardens and farms we have seen the process of growth first hand. Growing something from its seed takes patience and proper nourishment. The Tucson Buckets has been a seed we have been nourishing and continue to nourish to this day and this past weekend was the perfect indication of how patience and pure organic seed planting is done. Through stormy weather and even a circumstance that could be categorized as tornadic that happened the night of our debut in the American Basketball Association we overcame and were able to provide the people who support us with a quality basketball game. High Scoring and action packed we believe we have built something that can withstand the test of time and surpass all of the negative opinion that will come our way.
Before the game, Monica Grimaldo the news correspondent from CBS 13 here in Tucson asked Brandon, Jatai and I what we thought about the people who had doubts and didn’t believe what we were attempting to do would be successful. Our response was simple, we DID NOT think about the people who didn’t support us, we only look to the people who has shown us so much support in this process. This has been a process as divine as any, we have been able to attract people who see the value of this venture through our constant work with the youth in our Junior Buckets program and our outreach into the community events. We take the roll as the underdogs very serious and as we grow we continue to have that chip on our shoulders to show people that this is much bigger than basketball but an opportunity for people to see young men who are molded by this city flourish in what they are passionate about it. If that isn’t inspiring then I don’t know what inspiring even means anymore. The Tucson ABA Journey has begun and we look forward to bringing the city something they can be proud to represent..
We want to take the time to thank everyone who helped us pull off our first official game in the ABA this weekend. Despite the issues we handled everything like champions and made it work. Our volunteers and our staff did an amazing job. Sporting Chance Center took an amazing gamble by opening their doors for us on minutes notice to provide our fans and supporters with quick and easy location change. These things happened so fast that it was nearly overwhelming to see people take ownership of our franchise. It was powerful and everyone who made it possible, Tucson Buckets organization, Jatai, Brandon and I really do appreciate it. The pictures of the crowd will be with us for the rest of our lives and we hope to add to those numbers and bring a lot of wins to the city. If you have pictures or video please send them over to Tucsonbucketsaba@gmail.com when you get a chance. Post them to your blog and send us a link and we will share it on our page. Let’s continue to build something powerful for the city of Tucson!! #GetBuckets
High Flyer Club Cards
The growth of our organization starts with the communities support. We have been able to move pretty well so far with the help of some great people and we really do appreciate any and all support sent our way. We are closing in on our first ABA game this season on Saturday and we want to extend our welcome to those who want to make the season investment into our organization. We have a great offer for those who want to take advantage of our season tickets prices.
What is the High Flyer Club Card?
The High Flyer Cards are our way of rewarding people who invest in our season ticket packages. The package includes 15% off Tucson Buckets Merchandise, 5% percent off Concessions, A special appearance by a Tucson Buckets player at your social or community event, Invitation to closed practices and tryouts, Updates and invitations on ALL Tucson Buckets Events, Instantly quality for special drawings on our social and at our home games.
Each High Flyer Club Card Member will receive 2 game day tickets to ALL Home Games. This is $200 value that you can get for $70 right now. The price will go back to its original place next week so take advantage now. Join our High Flyer Club today and watch us as we build this franchise to the next level.
Interested in getting a High Flyer Card? Contact us today @ TucsonBucketsaba@gmail.com or text 520-314-1382 and we will get you all set up for a great season.
Buy Your Tickets NOW
We have been working tirelessly to bring a unique experience to the Tucson Basketball community. Basketball is a sport that garners much attention in this city and we feel we have the players and tools to create something that can last a very long time. We are dedicated to creating a family oriented entertainment experience that will engrave itself into the minds of a generation. We understand our biggest allies are the children and adolescence of this city who have never been able to interact one on one with professional athletes whenever they want. That was a goal of ours from the start. We wanted to embody a community oriented team that built its foundation on how we affect the people who support us.
Our online ticket sales offer a great opportunity for you and your family to purchase tickets in the comfort of your home. You will be able to plan a great evening together with our inexpensive game prices. Online tickets also provide opportunities for discounts and other specials that we provide on our website. Join our Buckets Connect and receive even more information on discounts and special coupons at our local sponsors.
Our first game will be held at Lead Athletics on November 7, 2015. The doors will open at 7:30 and Online Ticket Sales will be cut off as the doors open. Game will start promptly at 8 PM. You will be required to bring confirmation email or printed ticket to the entrance prior to event. If any inaccuracies are found you will not be allowed entrance to the game. If you have any problems with printing the ticket receipt please contact us via email at Tucsonbucketsaba@gmail.com. Ticket Prices are below..
$70 and includes 2 game day tickets for all of our Home games. This price subject to change November 6, 2015 8:00 PM.
10-20 people- $90-$190 (Depends on kids/adult ratio)
20-30 people- $200-275 (Depends on kids/adult ratio)
Game Day Ticket Prices
Kids under age 16- $5
Military/ College ID- $7