I really cannot remember exactly when I met Duncan Smith for the first time, but my earliest memories of Duncan were some glorious nights at his fantastic studio in his old house in Heywood. Duncan was a gentleman of the highest order. If you are a regular reader of the Mike Shaft web site, you'll know that he has been mentioned on my tributes page from the first day I decided to include that page.
From the beginning of an official’s career, it is constantly stated that when 10 players are moving at speed within the parameters of a basketball court, CONTACT IS INEVITABLE, but not all contact is illegal. Determining what is legal and illegal contact is part of the official’s development and knowledge building process. The ability to recognise and judge the consequences of contact further determines which officials will progress to higher levels.
Well it is 4:35am and my alarm clock goes off. I am at home in Bolton having travelled back home last night as I have to present the Sunday Breakfast programme on BBC Radio Manchester. The show starts at 7:00am and in order to get to the studios and get all the preparation done, I must be out of the house by 5:00.
Last year at the 07/08 Finals Weekend British Basketball paid tribute to the wonderful Sheila Hopkins who had died earlier in the year. This year 08/09, we would be paying tribute to referee Number 19 - Ian Pollard, one of basketball's favourite referees who passed away within the previous couple of weeks.
Well having arrived in Turkey for my holiday, there were a couple of things that I really had to do and the first of these was to go to Izmir to hook up with my good pal Andre Smith. Andre played in the BBL last season for the Everton Tigers and in my opinion he was the most outstanding player of the year.