News

Nick Kay - more than okay

Townsville Crocodiles rookie Nick Kay is tough as nails. Late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Perth Wildcats, with the contest well and truly hanging in the balance, Kay was one of several Townsville players who dove face-first onto the hardwood to secure a loose ball. Kay’s hustle, in particular, evoked images of Matthew Dellavedova during last season’s NBA Finals. It was a singular moment that personified a much larger effort from the first year pro. Starting at power forward in front of reigning league MVP Brian Conklin, Kay played a game-high 32 minutes in the Crocs’ impressive win over the Wildcats. In the best performance of his young professional career thus far, the 23-year-old stuffed the stat-sheet with 14 points (on 7/9 shooting from the field), 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals while not committing a single turnover. The numbers were nice – very nice – but according to Head Coach Shawn Dennis, it was Kay’s relentless hustle in key moments that inspired the Crocs to victory. “When Nick and a couple of our other guys hit the deck to save the ball, that really epitomised it for me,” Dennis said post-game. “Also when Nick got three offensive boards in a row… It said to our group ‘hey, this is how we have to play the game this year’. We simply can’t afford to not play that way.” For Kay, who played the past four years at NCAA Division II powerhouse Metro State, his ‘Delly’ moment was simply a matter of see ball, get ball. “That just came down to who wanted it more,” he said. “That’s a big thing that SD (Shawn Dennis) inspires in us guys; if the ball’s down there, who wants it more? Against Perth, we showed that we wanted it a bit more than they did and that’s why we ended up with the win.” After making a solid start to the season, Kay has significantly increased his output over Townsville’s past five games. Over that stretch, he is averaging 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 27 minutes per game, while shooting over 57 percent from the floor. That kind of production, when combined with his unyielding desire to battle hard on every possession, has quickly made Kay a fan-favourite among the Townsville Crocodiles faithful. His coach, however, is his number 1 ticket holder. “He’s unbelievable,” Dennis said when asked about Kay. “Nick has an unbelievable work ethic and as he grows in confidence he’ll become an even better scorer. He’s only going to get better and better because he’s an intelligent player who adapts very quickly to his environment. He’s just a terrific kid.” Dennis is not at all surprised that the lad from Tamworth, NSW, has made a quick transition to playing pro ball. He knew from the moment he saw Kay on tape, that he’d be an excellent player at the NBL level. “I watched film on him and I just said ‘I want him’. Everyone said ‘but he’s playing Division II’ and I told them ‘I don’t care, watch this kid play’,” Dennis explained. After some impressive performances during the pre-season, Kay was a popular early pick among NBL analysts to take out this season’s Rookie of the Year Award. Refreshingly, the young forward makes no bones about his desire to prove those tipsters correct. “It’s a great motivator,” he said when asked about the award. “I use it every day when I go into the gym, thinking ‘you’ve got to get better, you’ve got to get better’.” One thing’s for sure, if Kay continues to perform the way he did on Wednesday night, he’ll be a big chance to take home some shiny new silverware come end-of-season. First things first, however, as Kay and the Crocs have to deal with that daunting Perth frontline again this Friday night. This time the battle will take place in Western Australia and with a fired-up Nathan Jawai likely thrown into the mix. In addition, Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has promised a physical response from his players, after point guard Damian Martin was injured in the final seconds of Wednesday’s game. Shawn Dennis can’t wait to see how his young Townsville players respond, but won’t be wasting a second worrying about Nick Kay. “He’s a good country boy, he’s not going to back down,” Dennis said. “He’s tough as nails.”
NEWS

Taipans Complete Roster with Experienced Point Guard

13 hours ago

NEWS

Perth Add NBL1 Standout as DP

20 hours ago

FEATURE

Gliddon Eyes Return to Best

20 hours ago

NEWS

Report: Makur Maker Signs NBA Deal

1 day ago

NBL23

Analysis: Breakout Candidates

1 day ago

NEWS

Humphries Drawn to United "Prestige"

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

36ers Add “Extra Edge” to Roster

1 day ago

NEWS

NBL Trading Cards Return With Topps

2 days ago

GAME REPORT

Gaels Overrun Phoenix in OT Thriller

2 days ago

FREE AGENCY

Hawks Welcome Emerging Point Guard

2 days ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates