Strug­gling Ade­laide re­leases im­port De Leon

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - REECE HOM­FRAY

VET­ERAN im­port point guard Adris De Leon has been re­leased from his Ade­laide 36ers con­tract as the team searches abroad for a much-needed spark to its sea­son.

It’s un­der­stood that De Leon was told of the club’s de­ci­sion on Fri­day but fans would not have known it judg­ing by the in­ten­sity he brought to the team in its 12-point loss to Syd­ney yes­ter­day.

The 34-year-old jour­ney- man started on court, won first pos­ses­sion and scored the open­ing bas­ket on Jerome Ran­dle while work­ing hard both ways in his 25 min­utes of game time.

He fin­ished with 11 points and a game-high six as­sists but that solid ef­fort was not enough to save him.

With Ja­cob Wi­ley and Ra­mone Moore oc­cu­py­ing the other two im­port spots on Ade­laide’s ros­ter, the 36ers are be­lieved to be tar­get­ing a shot­mak­ing im­port who can bring con­fi­dence and be­lief back to the group.

“Def­i­nitely (we’re down on con­fi­dence),” 36ers coach Joey Wright said post-match.

“We’re pass­ing up shots early, pump fak­ing wide open shots that are our shots, and that’s what hap­pens when you lose — (you suf­fer from) low self-es­teem.

“Right now when you talk about bot­tle half full or half empty, we have an off­set of too many guys that’s half empty.

“You’ve got to have that be­lief that things are go­ing to work out, right now as soon as we get in that mo­ment we have to stay with the pos­i­tive stuff.

“Right now our lead­er­ship isn’t there, we don’t have lead­ers on the court when we’re down to say ‘it’s okay, let’s go get this’.”

Fox Sports com­men­ta­tor Shane Heal said Ade­laide needed to make a change to per­son­nel.

“The Ade­laide 36ers in­ter­nally do not have the ta­lent that took them to the grand fi­nal last year, a change has to be made,” Heal said on the TV cov­er­age yes­ter­day.”

De Leon has shown glimpses of his best this sea­son, in­clud­ing 21 points on 6-7 three­p­oint shoot­ing in Ade­laide’s Round 2 win over the Kings, prompt­ing Wright to la­bel him the best value-for-money im­port in the league.

But af­ter los­ing five of their past six games, the Six­ers have de­cided they have to make a change.

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