Jett out to take flight in NBL return

HIGH HOPES: Hawks import Jordair Jett. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
HIGH HOPES: Hawks import Jordair Jett. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

New Hawks import Jordair Jett has boldly declared his MVP ambitions for the 2018-19 campaign as the American guard looks to reignite his NBL career in the Illawarra.

Jett made his first appearance at the Snakepit on Tuesday after sealing his return to the NBL by signing a one-year deal with the Hawks last month. 

The hard-nosed guard last played in the competition with the Townsville Crocodiles in 2015-16 before a serious knee injury derailed the former Saint Louis star’s professional career. After fighting his way back to full health in the QBL with Townsville Heat, Jett earned a recall to Australia’s top competition with the Hawks.

The 26-year-old has set his sights high in his return season.

He admitted he will have ‘a point to prove’ and had his eyes fixed on the competition’s highest honour when asked about his personal goals for the upcoming campaign. 

“MVP. Nothing less than that. I mean, why wouldn’t I [target that]?” Jett told the Mercury.

“You have to put in the work. Obviously the work that nobody sees and that starts in this practice gym.

“You have to get that right, get it going and keep it consistent.”

Despite spending more than two years out of the limelight, Jett maintained belief he would get the chance to show his worth again at the top level in Australia.

“I had confidence that I would get some kind of opportunity,” he said.

“I started in the QBL obviously as my first opportunity coming back and then I guess my plan was pretty good.

“I obviously played good enough to catch [Hawks coach Rob Beveridge’s] eyes.

“I think I have a little bit of a point to prove just to let everyone know that I am back and I am healthy.”

Jett will be coming off a full season in the QBL with the Heat before linking up with the Hawks full time. 

He only flew in from St Louis for a brief visit to the Illawarra after travelling home to the US for a college roommate’s wedding. 

“I got a real warm welcome,” Jett said.

“Everybody seems to be nice and happy to have me here, which is a good thing for me because it’s good to feel like I am wanted here.

“I am really excited for the season.”

Jett is one of seven new faces on the Hawks roster for the upcoming campaign, with one spot still to be filled in the squad.

He played alongside fellow new import Brian Conklin during his stint at the Crocodiles and felt Illawarra have all the right tools to be a competitive force in 2018-19. 

“I like our roster a lot,” Jett said.

“It is very versatile. I think we are deep and there is a lot of talent on the team so we will be able to run if we need to, slow it down or feed AJ [Ogilvy] and Dave Andersen. 

“I think we have a team that can do a lot of things.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks will begin their NBL campaign against defending premiers Melbourne United at WIN Entertainment Centre on October 12. 

Illawarra will host their traditional New Year’s Eve clash against the Brisbane Bullets.

Their first showdown with bitter rivals the Sydney Kings, who now boast a roster that includes former NBA star Andrew Bogut, will be played away from home on November 2.

The Kings will come to Wollongong for the first time on Sunday, December 16.