Three things we learned – NBL Blitz: September 22

THE National Basketball League (NBL) Blitz preseason competition is past the halfway point, with plenty of action as the league’s 10 teams hit the court in Darwin ahead of the fixture commencement next weekend.

The action from Thursday night saw the Tasmania JackJumpers claim their second win of the tournament, downing the Cairns Taipans to the tune of 19 points, while the Adelaide 36ers remained undefeated after proving seven points too good for the Illawarra Hawks.

While the results have no say on the regular season directly, there is still a bit to take out of the evening’s action on the eve of next Saturday’s tip-off.

1. Franks steps up to lead comeback

With fellow offseason recruit Antonius Cleveland missing Adelaide’s third Blitz outing, the 36ers needed a spark after falling 19 points down against the Hawks on Thursday night. Enter Robert Franks. The import forward was outstanding in dragging his side back into the contest, delivering his best performance in an Adelaide jumper to-date. Franks produced a double-double to finish with 30 points and 10 rebounds, justifying why the 36ers were so eager to acquire his services in the offseason. Adelaide’s prospects look extremely bright after the recent performances of Franks and Cleveland.

2. D.J. plays his own tune in loss

Despite the Taipans falling quite heavily to the JackJumpers, Cairns will be pleased with the efforts of new import D.J. Hogg. A former teammate of star guard Tahjere McCall, Hogg looks to be a welcome addition to the Taipans lineup, and should produce some much needed scoring throughout the year. The power forward went off in the third term, scoring 15 of his 24 points in this time and announcing himself as a recruit to watch in season 2022/23. A lack of offensive output was a real issue for the Taipans coming into the year, but if Hogg can deliver scores of this calibre, it will be huge in the context of their season.

3. McVeigh not slowing down

The breakout season of both the JackJumpers and forward Jack McVeigh caught the eye of many last year, and McVeigh looks to continue to take his game to another level. A four that can score heavily in quick bursts, he was the star of the show in Tassie’s win over the Taipans on Thursday. Of his 25 points, 13 came in the second term, as he showcased an ability to produce buckets from all over the half court. If he can become a 20+ point player per game, then he will become a cemented superstar of the game, and will be huge for the JackJumpers.

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