Sal’s NBL: Dazzling Dion Prewster leads MVP standings; plus spherical 1 highlights

Dion Prewster didn’t play quite a lot of aggressive basketball in 2020, deciding to sit down out the Covid-shaped NBL Showdown in Auckland. You wouldn’t comprehend it by the best way he has began the ’21 marketing campaign again with Wellington’s Saints.

Prewster has been the standout particular person, simply forward of Auckland Huskies fill-in extraordinaire Jeremy Kendle, through the opening spherical of the Sal’s NBL, rightfully incomes the utmost haul in Stuff MVP voting after a pair of close to excellent performances.

The Tall Blacks swingman was nothing in need of sensational as Saints opened the season 2-0, with victories on the Otago Nuggets (95-73) and of their residence opener towards the Canterbury Rams (95-74), and can be a key determine once more once they host fellow unbeaten facet the Southland Sharks on Friday at TSB Financial institution Enviornment (7.30pm tip).

Dion Prewster has been in brilliant form for the Saints during their twin victories in round 1 of the NBL.

Joe Allison/Getty Pictures

Dion Prewster has been in good kind for the Saints throughout their twin victories in spherical 1 of the NBL.

The 31-year-old scored 31 factors apiece within the pair of Saints victories at an eye-catchingly environment friendly clip. He was 11 of 19 from the ground towards the Nugs and three of 6 from deep, whereas he was 11 of 16 towards the Rams and a couple of of 5 from deep. Only for good measure he averaged 4.5 assists, 5 boards and a couple of steals over the 2 video games.

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Saints coach Zico Coronel, who additionally had Prewster with him on the Bay Hawks in 2018 and ’19, informed Stuff his Kiwi star’s stellar early play was “par for the course” for the work he had put in.

Prewster elected to sit down out final yr’s Showdown over variations with its format, and so coming into this season his final aggressive hoops had been for the Tall Blacks of their Fiba window in February of 2020.

“At 31 he’s in all probability not as explosive as he as soon as was, although he’s nonetheless fairly explosive,” mentioned Coronel. “However his dedication, each intellectually along with his understanding and studiousness, and along with his health means he’s nearly as good as ever when it comes to cardio base and talent to play at excessive depth for lengthy intervals.”

Coronel is a giant fan of high European basketball which he tags the most effective tactical hoops on the earth. It’s why he has his Saints measuring themselves towards that stage of efficiency and Prewster finding out the video games of high Euro slashers similar to Vasilije Micić, the Serbian star of Anadolu Efes.

“He’s tried to include quite a lot of that European tactical play into his sport, and it’s been very evident these first couple of weeks. He had begun that path in Hawke’s Bay in ‘18-19 … however I feel we’re seeing that come to fruition in a system conducive to him displaying these talents.”

Dion Prewster's last competitive basketball before the NBL was his February 2020 outing for the Tall Blacks.

Bradley Kanaris/Getty Pictures

Dion Prewster’s final aggressive basketball earlier than the NBL was his February 2020 outing for the Tall Blacks.

When Prewster elected to sit down out the 2020 home season he didn’t keep idle. He obtained into the gymnasium, into no matter exercises he might discover, and he continued to work at his craft. The result’s a participant Coronel firmly believes will quickly discover his method again to the Australian NBL, and may play real minutes for the full-strength Tall Blacks.

“Dion nonetheless feels he has extra he’d like to perform in his profession,” added the extremely revered Saints coach. “When he performed within the ANBL final time for Sydney (2015-17) he was perceived as a defensive participant … he’s nonetheless excellent defensively, however has grown a lot as an offensive participant since then. He’s very eager to get a chance to point out he’s not the identical participant the Australians believed he was final time, and has devoted himself to that.”

With the Tasmanian JackJumpers approaching board throughout the ditch for 2021-22, there can be extra jobs for Australasian gamers. Coronel feels certain that Prewster, along with his stellar mixture of slashes to the rim and 3-point vary, can be someplace close to the highest of that checklist. Within the meantime the Saints are rapt to have him again on board (he has received three NBL titles with the capital metropolis membership), and as soon as once more successful them video games.

Jeremy Kendle made a succession of big shots for the Auckland Huskies as they opened the NBL with a pair of victories.

Shane Wenzlick/Photosport

Jeremy Kendle made a succession of huge pictures for the Auckland Huskies as they opened the NBL with a pair of victories.

Kendle, in the meantime, has taken the NBL by storm in his all-too-short stint with the Huskies which can come to an finish along with his third and remaining look for them on Sunday once they entertain the Nelson Giants at Eventfinda Stadium (5pm tip).

The Brisbane-based American additionally averaged 31 factors over twin Huskies wins within the opening spherical (32 in a 99-96 victory over the Franklin Bulls and 30 because the Auks obtained previous the Manawatu Jets 106-97 of their residence opener) as he led the league newcomers to a dream begin.

The Huskies would have liked to make his addition everlasting (he drilled 11 triples over the 2 video games and added 11 assists and 10 boards), however he has to return after this weekend to Queensland the place he performs in NBL1 for Logan and has a younger household who want him again residence.

“Jeremy was all the time going to be a short-term repair,” Huskies GM Matt Lacey informed Stuff. “We’d have liked to have saved him however he’s obtained greater than his Logan stuff occurring again in Brisbane.

“He has hit some large pictures for us and stepped up once we wanted it. For a younger workforce and a younger franchise his worth has actually been there in the best way he has gone about issues and led. He has been precisely what we would have liked to start out the season.”

However now the Huskies, who will debut ex-NBA large man Chris Johnson on Sunday, need to discover a substitute. Crimson tape points with transferring the visa from preliminary recruit Armoni Brooks (who ended up on the Houston Rockets) have sophisticated the method.

Lacey confirmed they had been additionally in discussions with Aussie Jarrod Weeks who was just lately launched by the Breakers. “Everyone seems to be a dialog at this level,” mentioned the Huskies boss who understands the necessity to transfer rapidly on this.

Stuff MVP leaderboard: Dion Prewster (Saints) 20, Jeremy Kendle (Huskies) 19, Josh Selby (Bulls) 16, Isaiah Moss (Nuggets) 15, Kerwin Roach (Saints) 14, Sam Timmins (Nuggets) 14, Josh Cunningham (Sharks) 12, Donate Russo-Nance (Huskies) 12, Jayden Bezzant (Jets) 10.

Standings: Wellington Saints, Southland Sharks, Auckland Huskies all 4, Hawke’s Bay Hawks, Otago Nuggets, Franklin Bulls all 2, Manawatu Jets, Nelson Giants, Taranaki Mountainiars, Canterbury Rams all 0.

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