NBL | Next Star Watch – Round 13

THERE was plenty of anticipation surrounding the National Basketball League (NBL)’s 2023/24 season for many reasons, including the performances of some seriously talented youngsters.

Through the NBL’s Next Stars program, some of the best prospects in the world have joined Australia’s premier basketball competition in a bid to further their chances of selection at the NBA Draft.

Eight Next Stars will be suiting up this season in an exciting development to the league on the global stage.

Round 13 concluded a busy Christmas and New Year’s period and we take a look at how each of the young stars fared.

Trentyn FlowersAdelaide 36ers

It was a mixed Round 13 for Flowers during Adelaide’s back-to-back losses to Perth Wildcats and Illawarra Hawks. At home against the Wildcats, Flowers stood up to have a handy 13 points, six rebounds, one assist and one block. He did concede four turnovers though. It was better than his second performance against the Hawks where he failed to hit any of his six field goal attempts, finishing with a statless performance from 14 minutes on court only registering one turnover and one personal foul.

Rocco ZikarskyBrisbane Bullets

It was a quiet night for Zikarsky during Brisbane’s 12-point victory over South East Melbourne Phoenix, only coming on near the end and playing fo five minutes. When on court, Zikarsky scored two points – one of two from the field – and also registered a rebound and a block in the win.

Bobi KlintmanCairns Taipans

It was not the best weekend for Klintman after a 24-point performance in Round 12, amassing a combined five points across his two matches. In a loss to Sydney Kings, he failed to score from four attempts, albeit three from beyond the arc. He did pick up three rebounds though, two of which came on the defensive end. Against Melbourne United in an upset win, Klintman was better, scoring five points and picking up five defensive rebounds in 19 minutes, as well as producing a strong block.

AJ JohnsonIllawarra Hawks

Johnson only played the one match in Round 13, spending 16 minutes on court coming off the bench during the Hawks’ seven-point victory over Adelaide 36ers at home. He registered six points – two of six from the field – as well as one offensive rebound, one assists and one block. Though he has had bigger games, he stepped up in patches when required.

Ariel HukportiMelbourne United

Hukporti made his presences felt off the boards against the Cairns Taipans in a shock loss, picking up seven rebounds, five of which were defensive. Not turning the ball over once, Hukporti also scored five points, three of which came from the line as he nailed the one of four from the field.

Mantas RubstaviciusNew Zealand Breakers

The in-form Rubstavicius continued his outstanding form for the Breakers, remaining a locked in starting player. He spent 29 minutes on court against Tasmania JackJumpers yesterday and scored 16 points, with four of seven from the field. Like many of his teammates, he was sent to the charity stripe consistently, and scored from all seven attempts. Rubstavicius also picked up four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in the victory.

Alexandre SarrPerth Wildcats

Sarr was able to impact off the bench in limited minutes during the Wildcats’ win over Adelaide 36ers on the road. Shooting five of six from the field, Sarr scored 12 points in 13 minutes, including draining his only long-range shot. He had two rebounds and played his role when on court.

Alex TooheySydney Kings

Toohey entered the game off the bench and recorded six points in 18 minutes as he went at 50 per cent from inside the arc, but missed all four shots from three-point range. He did collected four rebounds – three defensive – and an assist and block without any turnovers in a tidy performance.

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