NBL Blitz Fresh Faces Watch: November 15

THE National Basketball League (NBL) kicked off its ‘Blitz’ pre-season tournament over the weekend, with the eight competing sides taking the opportunity to get some action for their players new and old. In this series, we take a look at the newcomers to the competition, with many players suiting up for their clubs for the first time. With plenty of players around the league to keep an eye on, we take a look at some of the most noteworthy and intriguing of the bunch, and see how they performed in their most recent outings in the NBL Blitz pre-season tournament.

READ>> NBL Blitz Weekend Wrap

Matthew Dellavedova – Melbourne United

The off-season’s biggest recruit suited up for his first match for the reigning champions, with many fans occupying seats to see the NBA champion in action. In typical fashion, he brought his ferocious attack on both ends of the court. His pestering effort on the defensive end was to be marveled at, as the guard claimed two of his side’s three steals on the night. It is evident that Dellavedova will guard the best small-to-mid sized player on the opposition team on a nightly basis, and if he can match the five defensive boards he pulled down on Saturday night, he will prove a headache for opposition coaches throughout NBL Blitz and the regular season.

He was also a strong contributor on the offensive end, pouring eight points and a game-high six assists, proving he can hurt teams on both ends with his crafty play. If he can get his shots from long-range to sink too, he will be one of the league’s most dangerous weapons.

Ousmane Dieng – New Zealand Breakers

The NBL Next Star hit the court as a Breaker for the first time on Saturday night, as he eased his way into his first bit of NBL action. He was given 16 minutes to prove himself, and while he delivered an inaccurate performance, he showed no lack of confidence in his ability. He was 2-10 from the field, but it is evident that if he can eventually sink even half of his shots, he will be a weapon for his side.

Given it was his first experience playing at this level, these struggles were expected, but he still showed signs of promise moving forward. He will likely take these pre-season matches as an advantage as he looks to be primed for round one action.

Kai Sotto – Adelaide 36ers

A highly-touted prospect, there were many anticipating Sotto’s debut with the 36ers, and the big man did not disappoint, flashing the potential he carries in his side’s overtime win over the Taipans. Earning the starting nod from his coach, Sotto was impressive and transitioned into the league seamlessly. While there were certainly areas of improvement from the 19-year-old (3-8 from the field), he still showed glimpses of excelling in what should be an exciting year.

He also showed no fear in big moments, as he delivered what appeared to be the match-winning moment as he drove to the hoop for a lay-up that gave his side a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter, before the Taipans were able to tie up proceedings shortly after. In the end, Sotto finished with seven points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal in what was a promising showing.

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