Hungry Jack's NBL
Cairns Add Jonah Antonio
The Cairns Taipans have releaved that they have secured the sought-after signature of Australian guard Jonah Antonio. In a coup for the club, the renowned shooter has signed a three-year deal, committing him to Far North Queensland until at least 2025.
Hailing from Perth, Antonio grew up playing for the Stirling Senators and went on to graduate from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, before embarking on his collegiate career.
As a redshirt freshman, Antonio started in 31 of 32 games at Mount St. Mary’s and averaged 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He managed the second-best single-season mark in school history for 90 made three-pointers and was named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team.
As a sophomore, Antonio averaged 11.6 points per game, shooting at 40.9 percent from three at South Plains College in Texas and winning the Regional V title. He was named to the All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference (JUCO) team before transferring to the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
For the Runnin’ Rebels, Antonio shot at 31.5 from beyond the arc before improving to 40 percent at Wake Forest, where he averaged 6.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 19 minutes as a senior.
The 25-year-old began his professional basketball career last year in the Czech League, joining Nova Hut Ostrava and helping the club to the finals for the first time since 2012. He shot at a clip of 35 percent from three, and averaged 7.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Taipans Head Coach Adam Forde said that he had been following Antonio’s journey as a junior and was eager to sign him up as soon as he completed college.
“This is my second swing at Jonah, and I’m glad we could land him this time round. We went in early to secure his signature as Jonah was another player I knew wouldn’t remain under the radar for long. An elite shooter with arguably one of the quickest releases in the league, he is a very exciting addition to the team,” said Forde.
“Being a fellow Perth boy, I’ve always admired Jonah’s work ethic because nothing was ever gifted to him. He was snubbed from state teams growing up. He landed his own college scholarship in a mid-major program, but then wanted more, so made his way through JUCO to get to the ACC. He backed himself as that’s a tough path to take. It requires a massive chip on your shoulder and some mental grit.
“There are fake gym rats, then there are guys like Jonah who just get after it. I can’t wait to see what he does for us.”
Antonio joins Sam Waardenburg, Tahjere McCall, Keanu Pinder, Bul Kuol, Majok Deng and Mirko Djeric on the Taipans 2022-23 roster.