The Madgoats. That name rings a certain bell in the minds of Thai basketball fans and it still does. After a one year hiatus, the Madgoats are back.
It hadn’t started to rain when I arrived at the Lat Pla Kao School Gymnasium where the Madgoats were holding their practices. A few hours later, it started pouring right before I started talking to “Tong” Chalermdech Limsuwan after practice had ended.
“I want to remind people that the Madgoats aren’t back this season just for the sake of being back,” Tong says. “We’re back to reclaim the glory after winning the championship 2 years ago. We’re here to say that the Madgoats are still here and we haven’t gone anywhere.”
I was like in those action movies where the protagonist sits down before going out to avenge whatever it is that he lost. The claps of thunder, the sound of the raindrops drumming on the roof, and the sound of basketball being played set up the mood two days before the TBL started.
Two years ago, the Madgoats were hoisting the championship trophy after a thrilling 2-1 series against Chonburi-Hitech Sharks.
Chalermdech Limsuwan was there in the celebration. So was Watcharapong Thongsri, Suchon Maithampitak, Danai Kongkum, and Atirachat Phrayakchon. Since then, the core of the Madgoats has gone different ways. 5 players on that championship team are now on Mono Thewphaingarm and 3 more are now on Mono Vampires. Limsuwan, Thongsri, and Maithampitak spent one year with PEA and Danai Kongkum did a year with Hitech, but now they are reunited to “reclaim the glory”.
They will be having a pretty convincing cast with them this year. Other than their touted import, Magnum Rolle, they will also have Richard Latham and Moses Morgan. Latham and Morgan played at PEA last year and according to them, they have improved since.
“I don’t think I got as many chances as I wanted last year,” Latham says. “but I just put my head down and did as much with what I had. This year, I’m back and I’m ready to show what I can do.”
“I feel like my overall feel of playing overseas has improved,” says Morgan. He also played in Vietnam for the Saigon Heat in the ABL last season. “I also had to adjust to the change of my role from college to the professional level.”
Not only will they be having these two half-Thais, the Madgoats will also be having a foreign head coach, Kevin Yurkus. From the moment I walked into practice, Coach Kevin stood out from most coaches. He has a laid back demeanor and the way he approaches and talks to his players seems more friendlier than usual coaches.
“The most important thing is that you have to recognize who the stronger players are and play through them,” Coach Kevin says of his team’s identity and his coaching philosophy. “More importantly it’s about everyone, not one or two guys. As a coach, I try to be a communicator. I try to let everyone know where they stand and what their roles are.”
Everyone on the Madgoats seem to know where they stand in Coach Kevin’s system and so they enjoyed their practices together. Everyone could put in 100% effort during practice, because it had been made clear already what they would need to be doing and what they would get out of it.
“My guys play hard,” Magnum Rolle, the World Import, says. “They are dedicated. They are physical. They show up every day, they play defense, they have heart. I’ll always play with a guy that works hard and does the little things right than with a talented guy every day.”
Though the Madgoats are back, they are not exactly the same team. Every fan must come in knowing to expect that. However, they will still do as much as they can to achieve their goals.
And to let everyone officially know that the Madgoats are back.
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TBL 2016 ROSTER
Head Coach: Kevin Yurkus
Dominic Dar (ASEAN Import)
Magnum Rolle (World Import)
Chris Gabriel (World Import, last minute addition)
Anecha Kongpui (Free Agent)
Anekchai Jaiwat (Mono-Thewphaingarm)
Atirachart Phrayakchon (Free Agent)
Chalermdech Limsuwan (PEA)
Danai Kongkum (Hitech)
Dominic Dar (Free Agent, ASEAN Import)
Jompon Srisuk (Free Agent)
Wacharapong Thongsri (PEA)
Magnum Rolle (Free Agent, World Import)
Chris Gabriel (Free Agent, World Import)
Matthew Shepherd (Free Agent)
Moses Morgan (PEA)
Narongrit Banmoo (PEA)
Richard Latham (PEA)
Suchon Maithampitak (PEA)
Every World Import is important to each team, but I don’t think there is an import which will impact the entire outcome of the league as much as Magnum Rolle. It’s not just about his profile, it’s also about how he approaches his role on the team and his approach to what he can bring to this team.
“I bring in a lot of experience,” Rolle says. “I can be aggressive on defense. I bring maturity on offense knowing when to slow the game down, how to put guys in the right situation, and how to use the clock.”
Basketball is a team sport that needs everyone to play their roles and Magnum Rolle is going to play a pretty big role for the Madgoats.
Moses Morgan is back after leading all locals with 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in the TBL last season. And that was a season where he was just feeling out his expanded role. He struggled with the limited options and spacing at PEA.
Now that he’s had a chance to play in the ABL alongside other legit scorers like Lenny Daniel and David Arnold, he’s going to have a better feel of which role he is comfortable with. With this Madgoats team, Morgan should bring a nice well rounded game to complement Magnum Rolle creating one of the best one-two punches in the league.
Similarly to Moses Morgan with PEA the year before, Richard Latham looked out of place. He barely played at all. When he did play however, he showed what he could do.
When given minutes, Latham puts his head down, plays defense, and hustles. He’s not much of a threat on offense, which is why he might have got lost out of the rotation at PEA. Here with the Madgoats, he won’t have to be an offensive weapon with big guns like Moses Morgan and Magnum Rolle on board.
This is essentially the same team as last year’s PEA team if you switch coaches and Jordan Collins for Magnum Rolle. It seems like those two areas will be improved so expecting something a little bit more than last year’s Semifinals performance shouldn’t be too hard to imagine.
Technically, they still are the defending champions until they lose a game right?
ONE THING THAT IS SURELY BOUND TO HAPPEN THIS SEASON
Moses Morgan is going to hit at least one huge game winning shot.
ONE THING THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN THIS SEASON
Madgoats being not mad. Or else they’d be the Happy Goats.
Read the other TBL Previews here: