In part one of the podcast, Axel Dench spoke with the Professor about how he started his basketball career, being a member of the 1999 Gonzaga college basketball team that made the ‘Elite Eight’ at the NCAA championships, being selected as rookie of the year in the NBL in 2001 and he was a member of the Illawarra Hawks that were NBL champions in the same year. Perhaps he is better known as Wookie chieftain, Merumeru in the Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith.
In part two of the discussion with Axel, we talk about how he got his role of Merumeru in Star Wars and the sliding doors moment when he had to make the choice between basketball and a career on the silver screen.
If you missed today’s Sportzfan Radio, special guest, Brett Phillips from SEN discussed how Covid-19 and quarantining are affecting the arrangements for the Australian Open. Dan Butterly spoke about the start of the NCAAB season, the adjustments to the NFL schedule caused through Covid-19, Dallas being the new home of US cricket and Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller making history by being the first female kicker in football for a Power 5 conference team. The panel also discussed Hawthorn FC’s appointment of an all female coaching staff for their VFLW team and the questionable appoinment of a CEO by Football Queensland.
In this first of a series of Sportzfan Interviews, the Professor talks with former College and NBL player, Axel Dench about his career in basketball and as Merumeru in Star Wars 3, Revenge of the Sith. In a career that included a March Madness trip to the Elite Eight with Gonzaga, a Championship in his first year with Wollongong Hawks plus the 2001 NBL Rookie of the Year award, he believes he peaked early. A shoulder injury hampered his development and he eventually bounced around Europe until returning to Australia to play with the Melbourne Tigers in 2007.
Whilst he enjoyed playing at elite level in basketball, it wasn’t until his taste of Hollywood in Revenge of the Sith that he discovered he had a love for acting and movies. His one regret is that he declined another movie role to accept a three year contract with the Melbourne Tigers only to be released after one year to free up player points.
4 December 2011 229.1 – The Panel start with a look at the first test against New Zealand. Daniel also reviews the Melbourne Tigers recent performances and says with the game on the line in the last four matches, they couldn’t get it done. The Gelding queries whether they are missing Patty Mills already. Dan Butterly comes on to discuss US sport talking College football including who will qualify for the National championship and the other BCS bowls. Once again Dan argues that there should be a playoff in College football. He also looks at the coaching carousel with a number of Colleges firing their football coaches and says it’s not good to be a coach at this time of year. Dan says Tim Tebow is a winner and Tebowmania has overtaken Denver. He thinks the Packers can run the table and sees the Colts going 0-16. The Professor and Dan discuss the bid by Jerry Kramer’s daughter to have him admitted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Professor learned about it on Twitter. Dan says it is an amazing story and he encourages the fans to learn more about the cause and Kramer’s career. Dan thinks Bobby Valentine’s hiring to coach the Red Sox is a great one. The Gelding talks racing and reviews both his selections and the Sydney Colts. Unfortunately for the Gelding his tips were just off the mark with four seconds. He awards an s-hit ride to Danny Nikolic for his ride on Starchine. Sportzfan Stan is upset that the Gelding has been invited to the Ladies at the Tennis club’s Christmas party but he hasn’t. Mark Fiorenti talks A-League soccer and says the Melbourne Victory are a ‘little bit’ back in crisis. The Professor reviews Mark’s pre-season ladder predictions, especially Adelaide on top and the Newcastle Jets on the bottom.
13 November 2011 226.1 – Due to a technical glitch at Southern FM with the logger we come in during the US report with the Panel speaking with Dan Butterly about the huge story developing at Penn State University and the sacking of football coach Joe Paterno. Also to lose their jobs were the University’s President and Athletic Director over the sex abuse charges laid against former Penn State defensive co-ordinator Jerry Sandusky. Is it co-incidence that Paterno became the winningest coach in NCAA Div 1A last week and the scandal broke this week? Dan encourages those who want to know more to read the Grand Jury testimony. He also discusses the NBA lockout and feels if things keep going the way they are there will be no winners and no losers. Dan thinks there will not be a season as the owners aren’t worried if there is no season. Finally, Dan reviews the tip off of the College basketball season with the opening game pitting UNC against Michigan State played on an aircraft carrier on Veteran’s Day. The Gelding talks racing and reviews both his selections at Sandown and the Sydney Colt’s Rosehill tips. Sportzfan Radio tipsters picked 6 placings including 2 winners from 7 selections. Sportzfan Stan asks the Gelding how Danish Rock’s preparation is going but the Gelding says it will be a while before he races again. The Professor has trouble playing Dr Leslie’s community service announcement and the Gelding questions whether she may have fallen off her stool.
16 October 2011 223.1 The Professor and the Gelding talk about their respective days at the Caulfield and Traralgon races yesterday. The Professor believes that Danish Rock would have beaten the horses in the first five races at Traralgon. Sportzfan Stan and Daniel eventually get introduced and make up for lost time. There is a discussion regarding the televising of NBL games and how they select the games as Daniel thought it would be Perth v Melbourne on Friday night but it turned out to be Townsville v Cairns. Sportzfan Stan asks why people aren’t watching the games on TV and the overall feeling is that the games are on too late. Dan Butterly comes on to talk US sport and looks at the situation in Boston after the Red Sox meltdown with both their coach Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein leaving. He also looks at the revelations that three pitchers were in the clubhouse during games eating fried chicken, drinking beer and playing video games while their teamates were out on the field. Dan looks at the ALCS and NLCS and believes the Texas Rangers and St Louis Cardinals will play off in the World Series. He comments that hitting is dominating at present. Dan discusses Pete Carroll’s attempt to get LeBron James to play wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks via twitter and the shock teams so far this season in the NFL. He also looks at the ‘almost’ play of the year in College football by Brad Wing, LSU’s Aussie punter and finishes with a review of MWC basketball media day. The Gelding talks racing and reviews yesterday’s races at Caulfield. He got two selections up for the Ladies at the Tennis Club and also awarded an s-hit ride. The Gelding has also put together a Sportzfan Radio stable of horses for the listeners to follow for the Spring carnival.
24 April 2011 199.1 – Sportzfan Stan leads off the show with suggesting the Port Adelaide FC coach, Matthew Primus should be sacked after yesterday’s loss to the Gold Coast Suns. Daniel says the club should look outside for a replacement. This leads to a discussion on whether the Melbourne Tigers should also look outside the club and not go with Darryl McDonald as coach. Stan suggests they should appoint Andrew Gaze. The Panel talk to former NBL player John Rillie who is now with Boise State’s basketball program. He discusses College basketball, NBA and the NBL playoffs. The Gelding comes on the show to talk racing and the weird behaviour of jockey Shane Scriven during the week when he ‘borrowed’ the whip of another jockey during the race. He has been suspended for 5 months over the incident. The Gelding also reviews both his and the Sydney Colts selections. His two tips for the Ladies at the Tennis Club got up. The Panel then discuss the Anzac Day game and whether it should be limited to just Collingwood v Essendon or should other teams also get a chance to play on the day. Mark Fiorenti has finally tweeted again…about the Copa Del Rey between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
17 April 2011 198.1 – Sportzfan Stan leads off the show suggesting that the Australian Cricket Board should be sacked and appoint an independent Board with no parochial interests to improve cricket in Australia. Dan Butterly returns to the show to talk US sport including college basketball finals. He previews the NBA finals and thinks it is out of Chicago and Miami in the East and the Lakers are the team to beat in the West. In NHL action he feels the Canucks from the West and the Capitals from the East look good to advance to the Stanley Cup final. Dan reviews the first weeks of competition in MLB and says it is early days yet but the Mariners are looking at another 100 loss season. The Mets could also be a 100 loss team. Jackie Robinson is remembered on the 64th anniversary of him breaking the colour bar in major league baseball. The Professor queries whether Brett Favre will be back for a shortened NFL season. The Gelding reviews the racing at Flemington and Randwick with a much better performance this week on the punt. The Sydney Colt was not quite as successful.
27 February 2011 191.2 – The Panel discusses cricket and Ricky Ponting’s thrown cricket protector that damages a television. They then have a discussion whether Shane Warne should have been selected as Australian captain. Mark Fiorenti talks soccer and Daniel wants to know whether teams actually train to score goals. Mark doesn’t believe Gold Coast can beat Adelaide. Given Melbourne Victory came fifth and is now out of the finals, Sportzfan Stan says coach Ernie Merrick has been there long enough and should go. There is also a discussion of the Asian Champions League matches involving Victory and Sydney this week. Daniel predicts a 2-0 win to Adelaide using his own tipster method. Mark tips Arsenal to beat Birmingham City 2-0 in the League Cup and agrees with Daniel on the Adelaide game. Paul Dalligan, on the golf course again, reports on the developments in NRL during the week. The redemption story of 2010, Todd Carney back in the headlines again for drink driving. Ivan Henjak sacked as coach of Brisbane Broncos two weeks out from the start of the season. Paul also reviews the World Club Challenge between St George and Wigan. He thinks the Dragons will be too strong. The Professor awards the second ‘Benny Hill’ award for 2011 to Nathan Tinkler – when is a deal not a deal? Paul says Newcastle and Tinkler are still working through a deal. Dan Butterly comes on the show to bat clean up with his US sport report. He talks NBA and Carmelo Anthony’s trade to the Knicks and also the trade by the Clippers (supposedly building for the future) of their 2011 #1 pick and Baron Davis for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. At Detroit, there are discipline problems with players missing the shoot around. Dan says at this time of the year all eyes are on College basketball with March madness on the horizon. He thinks BYU will be seeded high by the NCAA tournament committee. Finally Dan looks at baseball and he believes the Colorado Rockies will do well this season, the Mets won’t make the playoffs, the Kansas City will be Kansas City and the New York Yankees are getting old.