ILLAWARRA guard Kevin White has seen enough in the most unpredictable NBL season in recent memory to be wary of a wounded Brisbane outfit on Friday.
The Bullets have been in free-fall since going down to the Hawks in overtime three weeks ago, a loss that cost them star big-man Cam Bairstow for the season with an ACL injury.
Veteran forward Anthony Petrie has also joined him on the injury list but White isn’t expecting an Andre Lemanis coached side to simply limp to the season finish line.
“You look at the way the league’s gone this year any team that’s had their backs to the wall has come out and had a massive win,” White said.
“Adelaide have done it all year long, we’ve turned the tables time and time again and looking down the table every team’s managed it at different stages. That’s why the league’s so tight.
“Lemanis has done a great job with that group recruiting who he wants to put in his system. We saw in the Olympics the job Lemanis did running that offence with the Aussie guys and how effective it’s been with Brisbane when they get you in the half-court.
“It’s probably going to be a bit scrappy to start off with but our style of basketball has been really effective against Brisbane this year. It’s about playing to our strengths and pushing the ball but then also being able to defend in the half-court.
“We know we can put points on the board it’s just a matter of defending and getting those stops like we did the other night against Melbourne.”
The Bullets injury woes have seen Lemanis send out an SOS to American guard and reigning SEABL MVP Jeremy Kendle to plug the hole in his roster.
Kendle, who averaged 27.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists for Bendigo in 2016, needs to play all of the Bullets eight remaining games to be eligible for the play-offs, a fact that will likely see him suit up against the Hawks on Friday despite a niggling calf problem. It’s a prospect White is relishing having won the SEABL championship alongside Kendle in Bendigo back-court last year.
“It’s unreal for Jez because I know how hard he works,” White said.
“In the off-season [NBL] teams were coming in and watching him play and I thought he was really unfortunate not to get a gig somewhere because he’s such a talented dude and he works so hard. Culturally for a group off the court he does everything right, he ticks all the boxes and he’s just a winner.
I’m over the moon for him but I’m also looking forward to having a battle against him on Friday night if he gets on the floor. I’ll definitely give him a tug on the singlet and bump him a little but it’s good, they’re the relationships you love to have in basketball and in sport.”