NBL1 Young Gun Focus: Nicholas Stoddart
THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 contains some impressive talent both young and old, with veterans and rookies filling up all lists across the league. In the NBL1 North Men’s division, one young talent has caught the eye of both spectators and scouts with his impressive play on the court.
The Brisbane Capitals’ Nicholas Stoddart has been the talk of the town for a while, putting together an incredibly consistent and mature season for a player who is only just beginning to shine at this level.
Stoddart took on more responsibility at the Capitals this season, and the hard work is on display with his strong play on the court. The left-handed guard spent time with the NBL’s Brisbane Bullets development academy, and is yet to make the next leap in his career, but his 2021 campaign was as good an audition tape as you can ask for. Stoddart shouldered much of the offensive load for his side, and led them to multiple wins off his own back.
A sign of a star in the making is the unique ability to take over games for periods of time, and Stoddart possesses this. An offensive powerhouse, the 21-year-old scored over 20 points on eight occasions this season, and was a large factor in his side advancing to the postseason.
Despite the tough loss to the eventual champions in the Mackay Meteors, Stoddart never gave up, and led his side in scoring for the match, which would be an excellent sign for NBL scouts. He finished the match with 23 points, which was second-best for the match behind Mackay’s Christopher Cedar. He would be disappointed in the loss, but can hold his head high following his career-best year. His season averages ended up at an impressive 20 points per game, 3.93 rebounds and 3.73 assists per game, while he showed his defensive ability with an eye-catching 1.66 steals per game.
His strongest outings often occurred in succession, as he became a more confident player as his performances improved. A five-game stretch in May and June that saw Stoddart score over 20 points in each contest was topped off by a 31-point performance in the fifth game against Rip City. While his team lost that game, they were really alerted to the fact that they now had a young superstar in their side. His season-high points total came towards the end of the season in a loss against the Cairns Marlins, where he poured on a stunning 34 points. He was able to score both at the basket and from range, sinking six three-pointers on his way to an outstanding performance. He followed this outing up with back-to-back 20+ point games to finish off the season on a high.
After such a strong year, there is a strong chance that scouts will come knocking, as Stoddart is given the opportunity to take the next step in his career following a stellar season.
Picture credit: Kieron Place