Hungry Jack's NBL
Boiling point – Josh Adams’ turnaround
It’s all tied up at 40 points and the buzzer sounds for half-time of Semi Final Game 3 between Tasmania and Melbourne.
Josh Adams is visibly frustrated. Several teammates and coaches try to console him and calm him down knowing there’s a long way to go in this one.
United’s Shea Ili, Yudai Baba and Matthew Dellavedova have been relentless in their bid to snuff out the shot-maker’s impact.
It worked for a quarter with Adams scoreless in the opening period but in the second, the tide began to turn. With nine points, the JackJumpers’ star import was starting to cook.
Nevertheless, his frustration was boiling over as the players entered the tunnel on their way back to the change room.
“That anger that I have on the court at half-time isn’t so much anger, as it is passion and desire to win,” Adams explained.
“I have incredible teammates that have my back no matter what. They encourage me, they calm me down, they keep me focused.
“Mika Vukona (basketball consultant) did an incredible job helping me to channel that energy into effective play and being aggressive.
Whatever Vukona and his “incredible” teammates said, worked.
Adams emerged a different player after the break, with his mind firmly on one thing: winning at all costs.
21 second-half points later, the 28-year-old had led his team to one of the most famous victories in Australian sporting history.
The JackJumpers, against all odds, advanced to the NBL Grand Final series in their inaugural season.
“I feed off my teammates and the flow of the game,” Adams continued.
“There are times where I need to take over and there’s times where I don’t need to.
“Melbourne did an incredible job throughout the series making my life a living hell, with Shea Ili, Baba and Delly (Dellavedova) … they did a great job.”
That three players were tasked to stop the impact of Tasmania’s scoring machine makes his performance even more impressive.
But Adams isn’t concerned about individual accolades.
“It’s not about me … I’m going to continue to be aggressive when I need to be aggressive, and the other guys are going to take over at times too,” he said.
“The experts say we are not supposed to be here, but everybody on this team believes we are. We’ve earned it every single step of the way, and our confidence is sky-high because of our body of work and nothing else.
“We just go about our business, we just keep building, we just keep fighting and keep throwing haymakers.
“That’s the same thing we are going to be doing this series, whether we win in three, lose in three, win or four, whatever it may be. We are just going to keep marching and throwing haymakers.”
The team’s next challenge: Sydney.
“Excitement, relaxed, confidence; we have nothing to lose, we planned to be here and just like the last games, we expect to win here as well,” Adams said.
“We see what it means for us to just be in the situation. We walk into the airport and there’s people that don’t even know basketball that are rooting for the JackJumpers.
“I think it will be pandemonium and I think it will be a big event, a crown jewel for Tasmanian sports. It’ll bring a lot of attention to other sports down here.”
All eyes set to be on the battle between two of the league’s best imports, Josh Adams and Jaylen Adams.
“Sydney’s an offensive-minded team and I think they’ll combat it by having their lead scorer try and be extremely aggressive,” Adams predicted.
“I’m sure they are going to try and make adjustments on me, as we are going to make adjustments on Jaylen, but at the end of the day it’s what team is going to play harder and what team is going to execute better.
“We’re just going to go out and play our way, throw punches and if we win, we win, and if we lose we gave it all we had.”