Top Ten NBL Players who made an impression after Round 1
By Marco Selorio
The “NEW” NBL launched last week with plenty of hype. Seven solid games were played, plenty of great plays and fresh new faces. However not a single team scored over 100 points. There were a few notable players that stood out for their respective clubs after Round 1.
- Melbourne United YOUNG GUNS (Majok Majok, Todd Blanchfield & Chris Goulding). The impressive trio led the United to a hot 2-0 start. Blanchfield dropped 29 points, and 8 rebounds including 7 three-pointers on opening night, followed by a 15 and 15 double double the next game. Goulding got 7 points, 5 boards and 11 dimes, followed by 26, 4 and 3 the next game. My favourite is Majok, the Sudanese centre who is leading the NBL in rebounds after grabbing 13 and 12 in his first two games in the league.
- Julian Khazzouh (Sydney Kings). The returning big man made a mockery of the Taipans, dominating his counterparts to the tune of 22 points, 9 boards, 2 dimes, 2 steals, 5 blocks and 2 threes, plus a big opening night win. Icing on the cake. Welcome back, Jules.
- AJ Ogilvy (Illawarra Hawks). The latest Hawks anchor dug deep and powered his way to 20 points, 15 boards and 3 blocks but it wasn’t enough against Melbourne. His confidence will continue to soar under Coach Rob Beveridge’s tutelage.
- Hakim Warrick (Melbourne United). The high-profile NBA import made his debut off the bench and is averaging 17.5 points and 5 rebounds. Head Coach Dean Demopolous is easing him in slowly, but expect more from this hard-working power forward as the season progresses.
- Jason Cadee (Sydney Kings). No Josh Childress, no problem. Enter Jason Cadee, straight into the starting five. The local Bankstown boy had a dream stat line: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and two 3-pointers. It was game over by halftime.
- Brian Conklin (Townsville Crocodiles). The bruising American import and reigning NBL MVP dropped 25 points and 5 boards on opening night against the United, and followed it up with 15 and 10 double double versus New Zealand. The Crocs are lagging at 0-2.
- Adam Gibson (Adelaide 36ers). The veteran Australian guard got 11 points, 6 boards, 8 assists and 1 steal in 28 minutes against New Zealand.
- Cedric Jackson (NZ Breakers). After a relatively quiet game against the 36ers, Action Jackson erupted with a triple double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against the Crocs.
- Matt Hodgson (Adelaide 36ers). On opening night the 6’11”, 23-year old Australian centre dropped 18 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks and an assist in only 18 minutes of court time off the bench. The former St Mary’s Gael was a development player for Melbourne United last year but looks ready to take his game to another level.
- Mark Worthington (Cairns Taipans). The Australian veteran forward came off the bench to help his team win against a resurgent Illawarra Hawks. Wortho’s stat line: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals in 28 minutes. He should be starting, but his addition solidifies the Taipans bench.
PLAYERS TO WATCH NEXT ROUND: Kirk Penney, Josh Childress, Nathan Jawai, Damian Martin, Tom Abercrombie, Jordair Jett, Charles Jackson