HE’S a quietly spoken character off the floor, but there’s something about the Adelaide 36ers that awakens the beast in Illawarra guard Jordair Jett.
Jett first raised the ire of the Adelaide faithful when he scuffled with 36ers big man Harry Froling in the first meeting between the two sides on Brett Maher court.
He went nose to nose with import Jacob Wiley in the return clash in Wollongong a week later, a clash that saw the Adelaide star hit with two technicals and ejected.
The Hawks ultimately claimed the win in one of their best performances of the season, but it ensured Jett was public enemy number one on his return to Titanium Security Arena in round eight.
He had the last laugh again, weaving his way to bucket past three defenders to snatch a one-point win on the buzzer in one of the plays of the season.
“I was definitely conscious of [the moment] but it’s mostly instinct,” Jett said of the match-winner.
“I thought Toddy [Blanchfield] was going to shoot it so I was getting ready to run in for the rebound. He sort of lost it so I popped back out and he gave it me.
“I was just thinking ‘no jump shot, go in get fouled hit the free-throws and win the game’. You can’t really plan that out it just happens and it went in.”
It saw the Hawks go 2-1 up in the series after being blown out by 25 points in their first clash, a loss that sparked some soul-searching according to Jett.
“I think a couple of games before that we were get out-rebounded very bad, turning the ball over and just getting bullied,” he said.
“I think that was a turning point after those couple of losses, we really had to find our identity and play Hawks ball.
“To go [back] into Titanium and get a win was definitely tough so it’s good on the resume.
“It’s one of the toughest places to play in the league. Now we’re at home so we’ve got to protect our house.”
Jett’s moments were flash points in three fiery clashes, with Tim Coenraad and Dave Andersen ejected along with Wiley in their last meeting at The Sandpit.
Jett expects another physical encounter on Thursday, but says he will bring measured aggression to the showdown.
“I never go into a game looking for an altercation, that’s not good for the team,” Jett said.
“It’s always good playing against those guys, they’re physical just like us, so we’ll go in with the same mindset to try and get a win.
“I think that’s Illawarra Hawks basketball, being very aggressive on defence after a bucket, getting physical and up close with guys. That’s what we need to base our game on.”
Illawarra could leapfrog Adelaide with a win on their home floor, the first of five must-win games at WEC from their final 10 games.
“We’ve got to go into every game as a must-win and play like it’s our last chance to make [the playoffs],” Jett said.
“As long as we go in with that mindset, like we had in the Perth game, like we had in last game [against Sydney] I think we’ll be just fine.
“We’re aware of what we need to do but you’ve got to take it one game at a time. We’re just taking this one, get a win and hopefully make a run.
“At the end of the day we control our own destiny, we’ve just got to win our games.”