Down under, J’Nathan Bullock, a former Cleveland State basketball player, is making his alma mater proud.
This is not the first time that Bullock has pulled his team to a victory. During the 2008-2009 Cleveland State men’s basketball season, Bullock, then a senior, helped the Vikings get into the NCAA Tournament and advance past the first round against No. 4 Wake Forest before losing in the second round to No. 12 Arizona.
Now Bullock gets to celebrate a championship in Australia that his Geelong Supercats won when they were crowned the best team in the South Eastern Australian Basketball League (SEABL).
This was Bullock’s first season with the team after leaving CSU. He also tested his skills as a professional football player when he was invited to offseason practices by the New York Jets in 2009.
Bullock’s stay in the NFL was short, since he was cut by the Jets prior to the regular season beginning.
He was signed by the Supercats early in 2010, and Head Coach Jamie O’Loughlin said Bullock was instrumental in the team getting a chance to even compete for a title.
“We knew his talent through the recruiting process and never doubted he could have an impact on our league, but we were more interested in his attitude and passion for team success,” said O’Loughlin. “J’Nathan did everything asked of him and more, he challenged the group to play harder, play better defense, make the extra pass and he led by example, putting his body on the line every day.”
O’Loughin was also amazed at Bullock’s constant commitment to the game of basketball.
“His work rate is outstanding, I would work out with him three to four mornings a week trying to develop his perimeter skills and then he would come back at night to practice with the team and was always the hardest working player there,” said O’Loughlin.
Bullock averaged 19 points and seven rebounds per game as a power forward.
Winning a league championship at any level of competition is never an easy task and there are always hurdles along the way as happened with the Supercats.
“The season was a real unknown and after the first four games, we were still able to come together as a group, and this was compounded with one of our players quitting the club,” said O’Loughlin. “The team really came together following that and we have just improved every game since.”
The Supercats finished on top as the best team in the league, and even though Bullock was only runner-up for the team’s Most Valuable Player award, his presence sparked a title run that ended with a former Viking athlete coming out on top.
(Article also printed in The Cleveland Stater Vol. 12, Issue 2 on September 16, 2010 and can be found on The Cleveland Stater's site by clicking here.)