Jawai Aussie enforcer
FROM BAMAGA behemoth to Boomers bruiser, Nathan Jawai has continued his emergence into a world-class basketball enforcer.
The 208cm centre showed no signs of nerves in his debut for the Australian men’s basketball team on Sunday night, scoring 18 points in the 84-78 loss to China.
The Chinese were forced to double-team Jawai to try to curb his influence on the game.
Boomers coach Brett Brown said he was impressed with the way Jawai handled the pressure the Chinese placed on him in Beilun.
"He was great," Brown said. "In his first game, he ended up with 18 points and he was a target.
"He was a real presence at the post and he commanded a double team. He really forced China to give second thoughts to giving him one-on-one coverage.
"We used him where everybody else could reap the benefit from the attention he was receiving."
Jawai also pulled down eight rebounds.
The former Cairns Taipans star, who has completed one season in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, will have an important role in coming years helping to lead a youthful Boomers squad.
Boomers captain James Harvey was also strong, finishing with 12 points and four rebounds.
China led 11-3 after the opening minutes but Australia fought back to tie the game after six minutes and managed to lead 23-19 after the first quarter.
The lead changed hands throughout a physical second quarter and at halftime China had retaken the advantage, 42-41.
But despite the Boomers’ valiant effort, China extended its lead to five points with a quarter to play and went on to win by six points.
Brown was satisfied with the performance. "I can’t be any happier with the performance in our first hit-out, there’s obviously lots to work to do but as a first off, I’m excited.’’
Brown said the Boomers’ defence was particularly impressive. "As a team we guarded for the most part well."
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