The Mandurah Magic unveiled their new American recruits for the 2018 men’s and women’s State Basketball League season at the pre-season Blitz event last weekend.
Ahead of the regular season, which kicks off on Friday, March 16, the Mandurah Mail sat down with the new Magic stars for a chat about their transition to playing ball in our town.
- Position: Point guard
- Age: 23
- College: University of Akron, Ohio
Just a kid from Akron.
Okay, so that might be the slogan of the all-famous king of basketball, LeBron James, but it also rings true for new Magic import Anita Brown, who has made her way to our city after becoming a star with the University of Akron Zips.
In her college ball days, Brown became the Zips’ sixth all-time leading scorer (1568 points) and climbed to the fourth most games played for the program.
The point guard started in all 32 games for Akron in her senior year, where she led the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in scoring (21.9 points per game) and led her team in rebounding (7.4 per game), paving her way to an all-MAC team selection.
But perhaps most impressive was her aptitude to show up in the big games.
Brown took the MAC tournament by storm in her sophomore year, taking her game to another level to lead the Zips to a conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Her clutch play continued through to her senior year, resulting in some huge moments including registering a career-high 37 points to lead Akron past Toledo in overtime, scoring 28 points in the second half to will her side over Northern Kentucky and hitting a buzzer-beating three to send the game into overtime against Eastern Michigan.
She’s born and raised in winning culture, and is now joining a Magic side looking for its first title.
“I want to win, that’s what I love,” she said.
“I know the girls here made the grand final last year and are still looking for their first title, they told me about that, and I want to be part of their first championship team.
“I bring energy and scoring to games, so I think I’ll fit in well.
“The entire organisation has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to get out on the court and repay the faith.”
- Position: Small forward
- Age: 23
- College: Samford University, Alabama
A small forward hailing out of Samford University, Jamal Shabazz is a six foot, six inch human highlight reel looking to make his mark on the State Basketball League.
The 23-year-old spent a two-year stint at Samford, where he averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game with the Bulldogs in the Southern Conference.
His college career came to a close in the 2015-16 season, and Shabazz has since spent time playing internationally in both Mexico and Qatar.
He’s hoping to call on that international experience to help him excel in Mandurah.
“Mexico was just super fast-paced, even off the court we would have a new set of teammates all the time with guys coming and going,” he said.
“That tested me, and I know things are a little more solid here, so I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned in all the countries I’ve played in and bringing it to Mandurah.”
Shabazz joins a Mandurah men’s side looking to drag itself off the depths of the standings with a young group, and is eager to share his experiences with the side’s youth.
“We have so many kids coming through in our team so that’s something I’ll definitely get on board with,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to getting better as the year goes on, knowing I can help the guys develop and improve.
“I don’t like to lose so I don’t plan on doing much of that.”
On the court, Shabazz will add much needed athleticism and a knack for scoring to the Magic.
- Position: Point guard
- Age: 23
- College: Limestone College, South Carolina
A scoring point guard with a capable passing ability, Shaun Stewart’s finesse and skill with the ball is going to be a huge boost to Mandurah’s men’s side in 2018.
Fresh out of school at Limestone College, where he piled up a stack of honours, the young point guard is aiming to add an extra dynamic to the Magic’s line-up.
In his 2016/17 season at Limestone, Stewart racked up four Conference Carolinas player of the week honours, was selected to the all-conference first team and the 2016/17 NABC all-district team.
He notched a career high 22 points per game (a single-season program record) on an incredibly efficient 49 per cent shooting from the field.
Stewart also set school records for single-season total points (725), field goals made (266) and games started (33).
The numbers will tell you he’s a highly-talented shooter with a natural scoring ability, but the new SBL player said his passing will be one of the greatest attributes to his Mandurah side.
“Like Jamal said, we’re a young side, and we need to get guys involved and make sure they keep developing and contributing for the team,” he said.
“That’s something I think I can really help with. I can penetrate [the defence] and kick the ball out to someone for a shot.
“It’s all about making sure everyone is involved.”
The import also plans to hit the ground running in the Mandurah community, and said he is looking forward to pitching in at junior clinics and school events.
“I’m excited to be here, and I want to be part of the community, so I can’t wait to get out and play ball with some of the kids,” he said.
“This is a beautiful place, I want to enjoy it.”