Chris, also a YouTube host and commentator, gives his view based on games from the third round of L Lynch Trophy involving the NBL1 teams.
With the WNBL now well and truly underway, we'll also have our WNBL Team of the Week going live later today.
Have your say on this week's choices and give a shout-out to the players you think deserve one using the hashtag #NBL2021. Don't forget to tag us!
The Basketball England NBL Player of the Week goes straight into the starting line-up.
The other four players are picked with the following factors in mind:
Hakeem Sylla once again showed that he is one of the NBL's top rebounders and second-chance shooters in the league (eight of his 13 boards were at the offensive end), enjoying an impressive 66 FG% efficiency this past weekend.
Depending on your take as to whether this game was a battle of the guards or the bigs, Thames Valley Cavaliers out rebounding Hemel 53-37 overall and 26-24 in Storm territory (TVC offensive rebounds vs Hemel defensive rebounds), and Sylla was a player who helped to make a difference.
You can check out Sylla's highlights in the video below.
Travis Charles lived up to his nickname as the 'walking bucket' by hitting every single field goal he took and making 5/6 FTs, all in 21 minutes. Four fouls limited his time on the floor in this one but the American forward is currently averaging the third most points for the Kestrels in his third season.
Inclusion in our TOTW was also due to Charles' defensive work against Worthing. An impressive contribution to a team performance saw Charles keep Thunder's Howard Crawford to just 11 points, three rebounds and two assists on debut.
With 3:38 on the clock, Thames Valley's Lewis Champion went into ‘clutch mode’. Firstly the guard hit a triple to make their contest with Hemel a three-point game, then he continued in that fashion the rest of the way.
Putting up 14 points, plus dishing an assist and nabbing a steal, the former Team Northumbria man hit five of his last six shots from the field (including four of five from long-range) whilst giving up just a single turnover.
The final shot was straight out of Damian Lilliard's repertoire. It was a gutsy effort that, if missed, would have likely allowed Hemel Storm a game-winning shot or overtime. Champion nailed it.
Andre Arissol vs Cameron Hildreth was one of the most enticing individual match-ups this weekend, with both guards currently in the top four average point scorers in Group One. Both players made it tough for each other at either end of the court, making for a real spectacle.
Arissol provided flair with his playmaking and excitement with his dunks. If he can find a way to continue improving his perimeter shooting, he will be a massive threat this season (he's currently averaging 38 3P% from three games).
Ian Smith again exerted himself on the court with his excellent playmaking skills, registering nine assists and zero turnovers in the process. Much like last weekend's Player of the Week performance, his third quarter against Worthing was fruitful for the reigning NBL MVP as well as the Kestrels.
Smith got 16 of his 22 total points in the third frame, only missing a single free throw. To add to that, his quarter stat line of 16 points, three assists and one rebound helped Solent compile a 30-point third period that helped put the contest out of reach.
Team Solent Kestrels again showed their clinical nature at both ends in the third quarter by reaching the 30-point mark. In comparison, their defensive efforts limited opponents Worthing to just 13 points in the quarter as the Thunder only just eclipsed the 30-point mark across the entire second half (31 total).
Thames Valley Cavaliers were trailing at the end of the third but won the fourth quarter to seal an impressive victory. Both the Cavaliers and the Kestrels now have home court advantage and will avoid other first-placed teams in the L Lynch Trophy quarter-finals.
Blayne Freckleton - 24P/4R/5A/1S/20EFF
Abiodum Adedo - 12P/10R/2A/1S/2B/17EFF
Orlan Jackman - 13P/14R/3A/1S/1B/23EFF
Cameron Hildreth - 22P/4R/2A/18EFF
Mike Williams Jr - 28P/5R/3A/1S/23EFF
16 May 2022
09 May 2022