BLANCHFIELD ‘ JAZZED’ UP FOR NB A CLASH

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH

IT’S never too late. Just look at Joe In­gles.

That’s the at­ti­tude Todd Blanchfield is tak­ing as he looks to en­hance his child­hood dream of crack­ing the NBA when Syd­ney Kings play In­gles’ Utah Jazz in a pre- sea­son clash in Salt Lake City on Oc­to­ber 3.

The NBL has struck an agree­ment for the Kings, Mel­bourne United and the Bris­bane Bul­lets to take on NBA teams in pre- sea­son clashes in the US in Oc­to­ber.

For­mer Townsville Crocodile Blanchfield left Mel­bourne United to join the Kings on a two year deal and said the one- off game is “an un­be­liev­able op­por­tu­nity”.

In­gles had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in Europe be­fore join­ing the Jazz in 2014 as a 27- year- old.

Fel­low Aus­tralian Dante Exum is also on the Jazz ros­ter and Blanchfield, who will travel to Le­banon with Aus­tralia’s Asia Cup team to­day, wants to make his mark.

“I’m only 25 years old and it’s still my dream, and al­ways will be, to play in the NBA,” Blanchfield said. “It’s some­thing I’ve dreamt of since I was 12 years old shoot­ing in the front yard.

“To get to the NBA has al­ways been my dream and al­ways will be un­til I fin­ish play­ing. Whether it hap­pens is an­other story but every­one’s got to have goals.”

Blanchfield said the pre- sea­son fix­tures were a chance for the NBL to earn the re­spect of the bas­ket­ball world.

“The Boomers at the Olympics have re­ally put Aus­tralian bas­ket­ball on the map and this is an­other good step­ping stone to put the rest of the world on no­tice that the NBL is a re­ally good league,” he said.

“You’re play­ing against the best play­ers in the world and it’s go­ing to be great to see where I’m at an in­di­vid­ual level and give you some­thing to work to­ward.

“It’s an un­be­liev­able op­por­tu­nity. Be­cause it’s only one game, you have to put your best foot for­ward.

“You’ve got to leave ev­ery­thing on the floor. You can’t go out there and be hes­i­tant or ease your way into it.

“I’ve got to back my­self and not se­cond guess ev­ery­thing I do. I have to be­lieve in my­self and trust my bas­ket­ball skills to get me through.”

Pic­ture: ZAK SIMMONDS

JAZZY STUFF: For­mer Townsville Crocodile Todd Blanchfield and his Syd­ney Kings team­mates will take on the Utah Jazz in a land­mark NBA pre­sea­son game.

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