MANY basketball punters knew of Katie Ebzery’s proficiency on the offensive end for the Perth Lynx, but not everybody anticipated the kind of season that the Waratah-born guard would have in WNBL20. Based on this, it only makes perfect sense for us at Draft Central to begin this week’s Player Spotlight series on the All-Star Five nominee.
Earning the All-Star Five selection, Ebzery compiled consistent performances at every turn last season, earning six 20-point performances over a full 21-game campaign. Averaging 16.3 points (sixth highest amongst league leaders), 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists, Ebzery cemented herself as a cornerstone piece of the Lynx’s offence, while also maintaining a ridiculously high 46.5 per cent shooting clip from the field and earning herself an Australian Opals spot in the process.
Newly appointed head coach of the Perth franchise Ryan Petrik praised Ebzery’s efforts over the last couple of seasons and knows full-well that she is only showing the tip of the iceberg. “Clearly she’s been phenomenal for two straight years and she’s as competitive a player you will ever find,” Petrik emphasised.
Not only does Petrik credit his star guard’s natural ability to influence the game, but also her dedication to studying her opponents preceding the opening whistle. “She will read the scouting report back to front what feels like a thousand times and dissects the tendencies of not just her matchup, but also players that she might need to switch onto,” Petrik said. “She wants to know everything about everything and she’s also meticulous in how she cares for her body.”
The re-signing of Ebzery back in June coupled with the similar announcement of Sami Whitcomb just a few days earlier, provided the people of Perth with one of the most exciting backcourt duos in the WNBL, with Whitcomb currently preparing to compete in the WNBA finals for the Seattle Storm.
Ebzery also voiced her pleasure during her announcement noting the high standard of the side’s roster and her relationship with coach Petrik in the past.
“I’m really happy to be staying in Perth, there’s some really exciting talent on the roster and I have a great relationship with Ryan after working with him for the last two seasons,” Ebzery said.
Given the number of years Petrik has served as the club’s assistant coach, he does not see his player-coach relationship with Ebzery changing in the future, as he takes on the head coaching role citing the close connection the two already have.
“She used to be my navigator on road trips so to speak,” Petrik joked. “I would have a car to drive and so would Andy [Stewart], and Katie was always in charge of the radio, air-conditioner etc., but for two years we were on the road together just talking anything about everything.”
“She just has a beautiful basketball brain and I’ve said this multiples times, but I don’t think I have ever coached a smarter player and from that we have always had a good relationship. And now that I have a more hands-on role, I don’t really see anything changing,” he finalised.