Breakers' Alex Pledger aims to rebound
It was the first thing Alex Pledger noticed when he looked at the stats sheet from Friday's home opener. The new starting Breakers centre had zero rebounds. A big fat donut.
When you're over seven feet tall - a whopping 2.16m - like Pledger is that's just a little bit embarrassing. Or, as his coach put it afterwards, totally “unacceptable”.
The good thing is Pledger doesn't need to be told this.
Even though there have been no shortage of people willing to point out his shortcomings in the few days since that 93-72 shellacking by the Perth Wildcats at the NSEC, the fellow they call the Chief has been his own harshest critic.
And that honesty, that self-assessment has Pledger's team-mates backing him to make the sort of response he needs to when the Breakers run out for their second game of the season against the much-improved, and dangerous, Adelaide 36ers at Vector on Friday night.
He may need to if the Breakers are to avoid falling into an early 0-2 hole in their quest for the title threepeat. Adelaide have arguably the most imposing frontline in the league, with former NBA player Luke Schenscher, rising young Aussie star Daniel Johnson and Gold Coast recruit Anthony Petrie splitting most of the time in the centre and power forward positions.
Pledger and new import Will Hudson, who had a mixed bag of a Breakers debut himself, are going to have to make some serious adjustments if another big Vector crowd are to be appeased. Against Perth they mustered three total rebounds between them, and none at the defensive end. It was just one of the effort areas that the Kiwi defending champs were exposed in.
“They've definitely been challenged and I know they're both up to it,” said experienced shooting guard Daryl Corletto. “Apparently it was the first thing that Chief said after the game - he's never played a game where he's had no rebounds.
“To me that's a good thing. The first thing he looks at is his rebounds. It's all about the rebounds.
“I have no doubt that he and Will will come out and fire on Friday night against two of the best big men in the league.”
The 36ers team, on the back of a 23-point thumping of the Melbourne Tigers first up, will come to Vector with their confidence ominously high.