Rookie of the Week for Round 9

If Super City Rangers forward Tohi Smith-Milner could stay out of foul trouble he is capable of putting up some serious numbers as the Rangers head into their final five NBL games.

Smith-Milner played just 19 minutes on Friday night before fouling out but still managed 11 points as the Rangers defeated the Jets 100-94. He fared better on Saturday keeping one foul in the bank as he again played 19 minutes, contributed 10 points and snared 4 rebounds as the Rangers were defeated 96-93 by the Otago Nuggets.

On Sunday the Nuggets travelled down to Hamilton to take on the Pistons, both teams trying to elevate themselves from mid table into the top four. The game developed into a fourth quarter arm wrestle, the Nuggets cause not helped by a slanging match between Brendon Polyblank and Brandon Bowdry during a time out late in the game.

The Pistons prevailed 83-78, a couple of their rookies making useful contributions. Dyson King-Hawea scored 12 first half points on the back of an almost perfect 5 from 6 shooting. The small forward ended up with 14pts, 5rebs and 1 steal. Swing man Zac Carter had a similar stat line, 13pts/5rebs/1 assist but did need 14 shots to accumulate his points.

The Southland Sharks have attracted plenty of publicity in the past few days, largely for the wrong reasons, but they did finish their traumatic week with a morale boosting 101-86 victory over the Taranaki Mountain Airs.

While the Sharks relied almost exclusively on their experienced starters, the Airs did give court time to their rookies. Dane Brooks (6pts/7rebs) played 15 minutes and Nash Oh (5pts/6rebs) 13 minutes but collectively they shot just 3 from 13 from the field. Oh and Brooks were accorded additional court time on Monday as the Airs were blown away 103-76 by the Canterbury Rams. Import Adrian Oliver didn’t suit up for the Airs giving further opportunities to the rookies. Brooks 5pts/4 rebounds was solid, Oh relishing his 27 minutes court time scoring a season high 15 points.

For the Rams Richie Edwards was required on court for less time than normal but in 20 minutes he still managed 15pts/4rebs/2assist and 4 steals.

Good performances this week from Nash Oh, Richie Edwards and the hyphenated duo Tohi and Dyson. In the end I gave the Rookie of the Week award to King-Hawea. He and Edwards produced really good numbers but in a tight game DKH’s 6 from 9 shooting including 2/3 triples shaded the other efforts.

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