Team training sure beats isolation for new import

Otago Nuggets import Geremy McKay makes his first appearance at an Otago Nuggets training session...
Otago Nuggets import Geremy McKay makes his first appearance at an Otago Nuggets training session at the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
It did not take Geremy McKay long to get to work with the Otago Nuggets.

The side’s Australian import had only been in Dunedin for 12 hours when he arrived for the early-morning training session yesterday.

It was a session the 2.01m forward had been waiting for the past two weeks.

Having spent the past 14 days in isolation, he had been limited to yoga, conditioning and a few ball-handling drills — although being on the second floor with people beneath him, he kept them to a minimum.

"It was great to have a shoot-around, get in the gym, meet all the guys, get up and down a little bit and get some air in my lungs," the 25-year-old said.

"That was really good. It was the one thing I was looking forward to all isolation.

"To do that this morning was awesome."

McKay came through the Melbourne Tigers junior system and played for Australia at age-grade level.

He went to the United States for college, although injuries to his elbow, hip and face made for three disrupted years.

Since returning home he has spent time with the South East Melbourne Phoenix in the Australian NBL.

He had played two games for the side, but training alongside the likes of Mitch Creek, Tai Wesley and several other big names had been significant in his development.

"When you’re on the court with people like that you’ve got to raise your level to meet them, otherwise you’re not going to be able to play.

"That’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to go out and really try to work with people at the top of their game and take things and add them to my game."

Those were things he hoped to bring to the Nuggets.

He had spoken to coach Brent Matehaere several times before deciding to sign and felt the team was a good fit for him.

He had watched a few games from last year and had liked the way the Nuggets played as a team, rather than as a group of individuals.

That team aspect was his primary focus.

"A bit of everything," he said when asked what he will bring to the side.

"A lot of work rate, sticking threes, offensive rebounds, playing D, locking guys down.

"Really helping everyone on the court being the best basketball player they can be.

"Whether that’s setting a screen, getting a rebound, hitting a shot when someone’s passed to me, being the guy on court that makes the team work and gel together and really reach that high level."

He is excited for the season opener and will not have to wait much longer.

The Nuggets host the Wellington Saints at the Edgar Centre on April 24.


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