The Townsville Crocodiles have made the shock decision to part ways with John Rillie, one of the most recognisable players in Australian basketball. Across the basketball community surprise has been expressed at the odd move by the Crocs, with JR being a rock for the Crocs since 2004 and averaging 16ppg, 5.8rpg and 3.7apg in that period.
According to CEO Ian Smythe, the move was aimed at building young players for the future — however a player of Rillie’s talent and with his leadership abilities would surely have been a useful cornerstone to the franchise in that process. Or so many would have thought.
Whilst fans were gobsmacked by the move, even players Russell Hinder and Mark Worthington tweeted their surprise via Twitter yesterday. JR himself was gracious about the move, having the presence of mind to blog on his pleasure playing in Townsville over the years.
No doubt Rillie will need time to get his thoughts together and consider his options, but he has made it clear that he has the game to continue playing (ask the Perth Wildcats) and would like to find a team to make his home in 2009/10 although he will be unlikely to move his young family.
Townsville Bulletin: The championship winner said he had no plans to uproot his wife Heidi and three young children from their home, saying Townsville was where he wanted to stay.

“Townsville is home for my family … my family will definitely be living in Townsville no matter what happens,” said the three-time Crocodiles season MVP.

“We’ve fallen in love with Townsville from a family point of view, we’ve been treated excellently, built up a lot of great relationships with fans, sponsors – everyone around town – so this is home for us and whatever I do we have to deal with that.”

Crocs Official Statement

Look out for JR, possibly coming to a city near you.