NBL Standouts – Round 7
ROUND 7 of the NBL has almost wrapped up, and the league returned from the FIBA break with a bang, as one of the closest seasons in recent memory continued.
As is the case with any week, there were a fair few eye-catching performances from an individual perspective, as some of the competition’s biggest and best stars fired in a round that was full of rivalry matchups and tense finishes.
With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be highlighting three players that stood above the rest, in a weekend that had a number of strong and impactful outings.
Tyler Harvey – Illawarra Hawks
Although the Hawks lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Sydney Kings again (two buzzer-beating shots in their last two games against Sydney), Harvey was the main reason why Illawarra was in the game in the first place. Although the Kings were missing Xavier Cooks, they still had the star power to win the match with ease if not for the performance of Illawarra’s star scorer. He finished the match with a game-high 32 points, the equal most of anyone in Round 7. Harvey went 13/23 from the field and 4/9 from behind the arc, including some ridiculously deep triples from the Bunnings logo in the final term. Although a Shaun Bruce shot at the final horn decided the result, Harvey still had a huge say in Illawarra’s chance of winning the contest.
Dererk Pardon – New Zealand Breakers
The Breakers had the perfect weekend, going two from two with wins over the Tasmania JackJumpers and the Adelaide 36ers. One of the biggest factors in New Zealand’s success was import Pardon producing his most well-rounded weekend since joining the competition. Against both Tasmania and Adelaide, Pardon worked extremely hard on both ends of the floor, and went head to head with some of the NBL’s better big men in Will Magnay and Daniel Johnson. Pardon had 19 points and 10 rebounds in both performances and against the 36ers, chimed in for three steals and three blocks, all of which proved crucial in a tight finish. The big man has shown his value to a rising New Zealand side, and should feature heavily for the remainder of the season.
Gary Browne – SEM Phoenix
Browne has flown under the radar a bit in season 2022/23, with other imports producing slightly bigger numbers. However, his impact for the Phoenix has been undeniable as the team aims for a return to the finals in a tightly contested season. The guard delivered one of his strongest outings of the year in the Phoenix’s bounce back win in the Throwdown against Melbourne United, a much needed result for South East Melbourne. A renowned facilitator, Browne got involved in all facets of the game on the weekend, finishing the match with a statline of 16 points, five rebounds and 11 assists, the most of anyone over the course of the weekend. His teammates were able to reap the rewards of his expert passing, with the likes of Mitch Creek (23 points) and Alan Williams (18 points) finishing off the guard’s hard work.