Like most basketball scribes I have run out of superlatives for the player who is the engine of the Sky City Breakers and a major factor behind the unparalleled success enjoyed since he rejoined the club in 2010.
Numbers don’t tell the full story but a couple of facts helps illustrate how much the power forward’s drive and commitment has contributed to the run of four championships in five years.
Since rejoining the club from the Gold Coast Blaze in 2010 the Breakers have played 160 games – Vukona has played in every single one of those fixtures, the only player to do so. Resolute, reliable, relentless, a player who just doesn’t seem to break down.
What do the numbers below illustrate?
- 2010-11 58%
- 2011-12 69%
- 2012-13 64%
- 2013-14 78%
- 2014-15 80%
As one who attends Breakers practice sessions on a regular basis it doesn’t surprise me that Vukona’s free throw shooting percentages (shown above) have improved markedly over recent seasons. The man is a punishing trainer, putting as much effort into practice as he does into games. The percentages above show how that practice has paid off.
At the end of the 2010-11 season he ranked 9th out of the 10 Breakers contracted players in terms of shooting % at the foul line. This season he ranks 1st out of 10 at the foul line.
In the last 35 seconds of Grand Final Game 2, Vukona secured two, that’s right TWO offensive rebounds to set up scoring opportunities for Ibekwe and Jackson – you could see it coming.
With 12 seconds remaining he slotted home 2 from 2 free throws, when the pressure was at it’s greatest – you wouldn’t have seen that coming a couple of years ago.
Vukona is the epitome of the old adage that practice makes perfect.
He may not be quite perfect but he would get my vote for MVP!
Season at a glance;
- 5 NBL championships (4 with the Breakers) in the past 7 seasons
- 4th in the league in rebounding – 213 @6.7pg
- Breakers all time – most wins – 153
- Breakers all time – most appearances – 268
- Breakers all time leading rebounder – 1,822