PRIZED SIGNING: Bullets recuit Adam Gibson in action for the Boomers against New Zealand.
PRIZED SIGNING: Bullets recuit Adam Gibson in action for the Boomers against New Zealand. Ross Setford

Will the Bullets thrive or dive as they return to NBL?

BASKETBALL: The buzz around the Brisbane Bullets after their first appearance in eight years this week has been great.

Despite losing to the visiting USA college team UCLA by three points, the game was a sell-out at the Logan Metro Centre.

But the big question facing the new franchise is can they turn that buzz into bums on seats on a regular basis in a far different sporting landscape to the one when they were the No.1 ticket in Brisbane?

When the Bullets ruled the roost in 1980s and '90s they had the city to themselves. Brian Kerle was their coach and promoter, and the Bullets had a small staff of passionate people driving them.

These days big sport is big business with lots of competition for the sponsorship dollar and fans.

What will be interesting to follow is whether the NBL has let it go too long before bringing back the Bullets.

Or has their absence created a hunger among basketball fans who will come out in numbers to show their support?

The NBL have given the Bullets an attractive early draw that should appeal to old Brisbane basketball fans and those who want jump on board the bandwagon.

It won't take too long to gauge their popularity with their opening game of the 2016-17 season against defending NBL champions and long-time arch-rival Perth.

In its wisdom, Brisbane has decided to play its first game in eight years at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre - a venue it used to regularly pack out, playing to crowds of between 10,000 and 12,000 fans.

If they can't pull at least five or six thousands fans to their renaissance game on October 6, it will be very disappointing.

Brisbane begins its comeback with games against Perth (home), Sydney Kings (away), Adelaide (home) Melbourne United (away), and New Zealand Breakers (home).

Results will be important to attract crowds.

They've got the Australian coach, Andrej Lemanis, just back from the Rio Olympics, assistant coach CJ Bruton, arguably the most successful NBL player of all-time, and a playing roster boasting a good mix of senior players and some young hopefuls with good size up front with Rio Olympian Cameron Bairstow.

Their back-court will be led by another Olympian Adam Gibson and hot-shooting import Jermaine Beal, who dropped in a record 10 three-pointers with Perth last season on the way to his second NBL championship.

Their other import is 25-year-old small forward Torrey Craig, an all-rounder from South Carolina who had two seasons with Cairns in the NBL.

Fans will be able to get a look at all the NBL clubs when Brisbane hosts the annual pre-season Blitz between September 23-26.


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