Hunt making most of opportunity given by Nuggets

Jordan Hunt was after an opportunity.

The Otago Nuggets provided it.

It came as a bit of a surprise to the 22-year-old.

Having returned from four years playing at Southern Oregon University, the NBL Showdown was a great chance to make a name for himself.

He had not expected the Nuggets to take him with their third-round pick in the draft.

They had not talked pre-draft and he has never been to Dunedin.

So it was "pretty cool" when he heard his name read out.

It has proved a good fit, too.

The 2.05m forward has been the side’s main big man, while showing the ability to shoot from deep to put up 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game through the first six games.

He will look to do more of the same this weekend in a double-header against the Manawatu Jets and Nelson Giants.

"I’ve found it pretty good," he said.

"The first couple of weeks just getting to know the boys, they’re all good guys, great lads, the coach [Brent Matehaere] is pretty cool.

"Everyone just gets along with each other and that translates on to the basketball court, especially those first couple of games, we were playing really well together.

"We kind of took a downturn those last couple of games, but we need to figure it out again."

Hunt said it was good to be back in New Zealand playing against the people he grew up with, alongside the older players he looked up to.

Originally from Hutt Valley, he had played both there and for Wellington growing up.

In 2016 he left for college, playing at the NAIA level.

That had been a great experience and he graduated with a business management degree.

There his toughness and aggression developed, both being key in the American game.

Both were useful coming back to this league.

Playing against grown men brought different challenges though and getting stronger was now a key.

That strength would be important this weekend, the Jets and Giants both boasting formidable front lines.

After starting well, the side has won just one of its past four games and struggled to score on Tuesday against the Auckland Huskies.

He admitted the inconsistencies had been frustrating.

Effort, rebounding, cutting out quick shots and getting the offence moving were things he said the side would focus on to rectify that.

Getting its whole squad involved was important too, Hunt noting the drop in bench points in recent games.

Despite those inconsistencies, the Nuggets remain well in the chase.

They have three wins and three losses, but two wins this weekend could lift it to equal at the top of the table.

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