NBL Team Watch: Tasmanian JackJumpers
WITH the National Basketball League (NBL) season edging closer by the day, we take a look at each team’s prospects heading into their upcoming NBL21 campaign. With an offseason full of eye-catching signings and roster improvements, teams will be looking for strong signs as the season approaches. Next up is the NBL’s newest team, the Tasmania JackJumpers.
Tasmania has yearned for a team in the NBL since their departure 26 years ago, and with their basketball pathways improving on a yearly basis, there was no better time than now. The NBL has seen plenty of success with their most recently injected team in the South East Melbourne Phoenix making the finals in the most recent campaign.
After years of debate as to whether or not the Apple Isle should have their own professional sporting team, an answer has finally been delivered. Tasmania’s hosting of the NBL Blitz, a pre-season campaign in 2019, planted the seeds for a permanently based side in the state. With the side announced to join for the upcoming 2021/22 season, fans in Tasmania are excited as ever, with plenty of members signed up already.
Obviously, the side had a much more active offseason, given they are building their roster from the ground up, and the Jackjumpers gathered a mix of players with a combination of experience and youth as they look to debut their inaugural side in November.
Their biggest source of experience will come from forward Clint Steindl, who joins the side from the Perth Wildcats, where he won back-to-back NBL Championships. Steindl will bring 229 games of experience at this level, and will be crucial for the development of the side’s young players. Steindl would know a thing or two about player development himself, having won the 2016 NBL Most Improved Player Award.
Also joining the bracket of experienced additions is Jarrad Weeks, who has 193 games of NBL wisdom to impart onto his younger teammates. The JackJumpers were able to snag talented young big man Will Magnay from the Perth Wildcats, who looks to be a centerpiece of the team for years to come. These players will combine with a number of younger players to create a young list that is looking to make an impression on an already established league.
Moving with Magnay from Perth is the team’s inaugural head coach Scott Roth, who was an assistant coach for the Wildcats in the most recent season. Roth has an extensive playing and coaching career, highlighted by a successful stint as an NBA assistant coach for teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. The 57-year-old who hails from Ohio also has 160 NBA games under his belt as a player and should bring invaluable knowledge and experience into this expansion team.
The Tasmanian JackJumpers will be heading into this NBL season hungry to prove their worth, and with nothing to lose, they may surprise fans and opposition teams.
Photo: Zak Simmonds