A press conference to welcome Australian Boomers big man Nathan Jawai to his new team Regal FC Barcelona was held yesterday. Jawai told reporters he is “excited” to be at part of FC Barcelona and he feels that this latest stop on his already impressive resume is one which offering a “great opportunity” for him.
Nathan Jawai will most likely begin the season coming off the bench behind talented forwards Erazem Lorbek (a member of the Slovenian national team whose draft rights are currently owned by the San Antonio Spurs) and Ante Tomic (a member of the Croatian National team who was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2008).
“I’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot of players like Tomic and Lorbek. For me it is a great opportunity. I come to a team with a long tradition of winning”. Jawai mentioned the words “experience” and “learn” numerous times during the press conference and seems to be focused on making this season one where he takes both his physical and mental game to the next level. “Faults are going with my game. I am an aggressive player, but it is true that sometimes I make stupid mistakes that should not be done. Not the fault of the referees, which also can be wrong,” he said.
Jawai, who was unsuccessful in making the Boomers Olympic squad this year, admitted “My game is aggressive and sometimes I make stupid mistakes, but it is true that sometimes I make stupid mistakes that should not be done”. The exciting prospect of a mature 25 year old Nathan Jawai playing on a quality international team, under a talented international coach (Barcelona coach Xavier Pascual was the winner of the 2009/10 Euroleague coach of the Year) could lead to a huge boost in Jawai’s game as well as the Boomers hopes for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014.
Jawai moves from Unics Kazan in Russia, where he averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15 Euroleague games last season. Strangely enough those figures skyrocketed to 14 points on 64.3% two-point shooting and 7.3 rebounds in the three playoffs games he played against FC Barcelona. He also ranked second in the Euroleague play-offs in points per minute (24.9 points per 40 minutes) and third in rebounding per 40 minutes (13.1).
Prior to that Jawai had a great season with Partizan Belgrade in 2010/11 where he led the team to the Adriatic League, Serbian League and Serbian Cup crowns. He has spent time before joining Partizan, Jawai also spent two seasons in the NBA with Minnesota and Toronto. He has career averages of 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in the NBL.
Jawai also joins fellow Australian Boomer Joe Ingles (a part of last year’s FC Barcelona championship squad) who thanks to a British passport will be allowed to play in either the ACB or Euroleague without restrictions.