36ers star Randle labels Hawks ‘dirty’

Jerome Randle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Jerome Randle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Adelaide linchpin Jerome Randle has branded Illawarra a dirty team, saying he dislikes all Hawks players ahead of their NBL semi-final series.

A day after winning the NBL's MVP award, Randle has lit a fuse for an explosive best-of-three series against the Hawks starting Thursday in Adelaide.

"I just don't like them. I don't like the way they play basketball," Randle said on Tuesday.

"I don't like anything about none of the guys on the team. I'm just being honest.

"There's a lot of dirty players on the team, that is how they play - fight first, play basketball second."

Randle forecast the semi-final series was "going to be fight".

"They want to make it to the grand final and we want to make it to the grand final so however they throw blows, then we're going to do the same thing," he said

Randle, the key cog the Adelaide machine, was personally braced for a physical onslaught from the Hawks.

But the brilliant playmaker scoffed at feeling any pressure of carrying his 36ers in the final series.

"I'm from the south side of Chicago ... that is pressure being from the south side of Chicago," he said.

"Basketball is not pressure. I don't know what pressure is when it comes to basketball because it's a game. You have just got to come out and here and play."

The 29-year-old described winning the league's MVP award as a "great accomplishment" but said the gong was not front of mind.

"I'm not thinking about the MVP right now. Top four, in the playoffs, is all that is on my mind right now ... I'm anxious to play," he said.

"It (the MVP) means a lot ... but I have got to give a lot of credit to my teammates because without them, I definitely wouldn't have this award.

"Them having the confidence in me to shoot the ball, take tough shots down the stretch, making plays for myself and my teammates - so I give a lot of credit to them and my coaching staff."