Brad Newley inbounds the ball from the side of the court.
Big man Aleks Maric catches the rock from the top of the key and hands it over to a streaking Kevin Lisch, who uses Maric’s massive frame to dodge his man.
It’s good. Over and over, we see the same play executed perfectly by Sydney all season long. Their hapless opponents try to stop it time and time again. Ain’t gonna happen.
This veteran trio has brought hope to a rejuvenated Sydney Kings ball club this season. Sydney’s newest starting centre, Maric has come home full circle to help infuse a physical presence into the Kings. So far, so good.
Measuring in at 6’11” feet and 125 kilos, this giant with Serbian roots is a basketball prodigy. Maric makes things much easier for his Sydney teammates, playing both ends of the with ruthless aggression
Maric, 32, started his basketball journey at Westfields High School before a stop at the prestigious Australian Institute of Sport and then a long international career playing in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Russia… not bad for a local west Sydney kid.
He has styled his game after NBA legend and fellow Serbian Vlade Divac. He plays smart, tough and aggressive. It’s the only way he knows how.
Fondly called “Truck” by his teammates, Maric’s addition has brought back memories of another former Kings legend who wrecked havoc inside the paint.
Back in the early 90’s, the Sydney Kings had a powerhouse frontline that included superstar imports Ken McClary and Dwayne McClain, the Dalton brothers and perhaps the biggest big man of the all “Man Mountain” Dean Uthoff.
This team imposed their will and created match-up problems for other teams, Uthoff in particular was an imposing figure as he grabbed huge rebounds, set up bone-crushing picks and was virtually unstoppable near the basket.
Growing up in the suburb of Liverpool out West, Maric noted that the Kings was his favourite team as a child and he takes great pride in showing the club and his teammates his loyalty to the club.
“Loyalty is my biggest motto. I work as hard as I can, I play smart, I do the intangibles and go out there to be the best teammate and protect them.”
Maric is all about loyalty, to his club and to his teammates.
Never one to shy away from physical contact, Maric came to the rescue of one his new teammates against the Cairns Taipans earlier in the season. He head-locked Taipans enforcer Mark Worthington and dragged him away from a scuffle with Kings guard Jason Cadee. He sent a resounding message to his teammates that day – I got your back.
Under the tutelage of his influential coaches, Maric surveys the game like an eagle waiting patiently for its prey.
“I let the game come to me. I’ve stopped counting stats a few years ago, but we all want to have fun. My basketball IQ has grown tremendously and I have a better understanding of the game.”
Maric says he has two to three years left. Until then he wants to help his team reach playoffs and win a championship before he hangs up his size 16 sneakers.
“We have a tough schedule. I want to help the club be in the best possible position because any team can win it this year. We enjoy each other’s company. But to win, we have to play and fight together.”
Words from Maric echo in the locker room and in the huddle as he also mentors younger teammates Jerome Hill, Craig Moller and Greg Whittington. However, he lets his game do more of the talking.
After another defensive board, he passes the rock and trails Newley in transition. Sure enough, Maric was there to grab the missed shot for an easy putback. Just another day’s work for Sydney’s newest man mountain.