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Healthy Magnay Already Thankful for JackJumpers Decision

Written for nbl.com.au by Chris Pike

The fact that he is back healthy means that the move south is already a win for Will Magnay before #NBL22 gets underway but now he wants to help the Tasmania JackJumpers win and the signs couldn’t have been better in his first hit out.

Having impressed at the Brisbane Bullets, Magnay banged down the door to get a chance to play in the NBA at the New Orleans Pelicans, but when he returned to the NBL midway through last season, he just wasn’t himself physically.

Magnay joined the Perth Wildcats and ended up helping them to the Grand Final before losing to Melbourne United, but he just couldn’t do what he wanted out on the floor because of his troublesome ankle.

He just didn’t have the same lift in his legs that had made him such an impressive big man with the combination of strong finishing around the basket and a soft shooting touch.

So all he wanted to do when he looked ahead to the 2021/22 NBL season was find a home where he could put his faith in the medical staff to get his body back to where he can perform at his best on the floor.

Without doubt, he has found that in Tasmania with the JackJumpers and all the evidence of that you needed was in his debut appearance at the NBL Blitz on Sunday in Ulverstone.

He might have only played 13 minutes and didn’t appear after half-time, but in that period he tore the house down. He put up 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks while going a perfect 5/5 from the floor including some strong throwdowns and knocking down a three ball.

Along the way, he helped the JackJumpers open up a 21-point lead against the Adelaide 36ers so in so many ways, it couldn’t have been a more impressive start.

While frustrating he couldn’t get out there in the second half as that lead withered away, Magnay was just happy to contribute and be back out there feeling healthy.

"It was good to be back out there. It was a mix of emotions, I was excited and everything but more just grateful to everyone who helped me get back out there. I was just happy to be out there running around and I'll certainly build some more minutes from here, but it was a good time to get started," Magnay said.

"It was nice being out there and to be able to see a few shots go in, and touch a few balls. I was certainly puffing hard but it was good to start getting used to playing against people from other teams. It was just a good hit out all round.

"You always want to play more but there's always that balance of not pushing it too hard, too early. The medical staff has done a great job of managing me so far so I trust their judgement, and just listen to their advice and will take it from there."

Magnay is already delighted with having decided to join the start up club in Tasmania for everything they have done for him to get back healthy.

"I really am happy I came here. More than anything, it's just the medical staff have done such a great job to get me back to where I am," Magnay said.

"If that's all I get out of the season, I'll be stoked, but obviously there's a lot more to come with it. The guys are great on this team and there's a bigger role for me to play here. The coaches trust me to play that role and it's exciting looking at the season ahead now that it's so close.

"I am feeling good. It's more just my ankle feeling right that is the biggest difference. Last year I felt fine overall but it's just that my ankle was bothering me and I couldn’t jump or run really without any discomfort. 

"I couldn’t push off it but it's back to normal now and I'm feeling good as a result. The medical staff here have done a good job of getting me back to where I want to be. I still have a little bit of aways to go of getting back into game shape, but I'm feeling comfortable with my body again."

Not only is Magnay excited for the season ahead so he can remind everyone what he is capable of doing on the floor when his body allows him to, but being part of a new franchise with such an exhuberant fan base in Tasmania behind them has him excited already based on the Blitz experience.

"It's huge being part of basketball down here. I'll be honest, I'm a little taken aback with the support they have for basketball for Tasmania. I didn’t realise just how big it would be and it's really exciting to be part of," he said. 

"They are really good fans, they just cheer the whole game from first to last possession, and it's great having that support. I think we sold out that arena on a Tuesday night which is pretty special and says it all really. 

"Hopefully they can continue to show that support throughout the season and help us get some wins, but it's been great already."

While the JackJumpers still have games at the Blitz this week against the Wildcats on Wednesday and Cairns Taipans on Friday, the anticipation is building for Friday December 3 in the season opener at MyState Bank Arena against the Brisbane Bullets.

That's quite the tantalising first up match up to look forward to for Magnay to go up his original and hometown club. But really all he is worried about is showing what he can do again, and helping the JackJumpers show they are out there to win and not just being happy to be part of the NBL.

"It feels like it has been the longest off-season of all time and then the longest pre-season of all time," Magnay said. 

"We've been together now for almost three months and after playing so much against each other, it's good to finally have a hit out against other boys. But I'm keen to get the season started now and to start to push towards March and April where we hope to be part of things.

"The message that Scott brought across to us from the start that the minimum we'll be a team that tries to play harder than the other to ensure we are competitive. 

"We're definitely not just going to roll over and take losses, we want to go out there and challenge every team on the floor. It's going to be an exciting year for us and I think we'll surprise a few people, and pick up some wins along the way that's for sure."

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