The Dominion Post

Saints’ Prewster in dazzling form

- Marc Hinton

Dion Prewster did not play a lot of competitiv­e basketball in 2020, deciding to sit out the Covid-shaped NBL Showdown in Auckland. You wouldn’t know it by the way he has started the 2021 campaign back with Wellington’s Saints.

Prewster has been the standout individual during the opening round of the Sal’s NBL.

The Tall Blacks swingman was nothing short of sensationa­l as Saints opened the season 2-0, with victories at the Otago Nuggets (95-73) and in their home opener against the Canterbury Rams (95-74), and will be a key figure again when they host fellow unbeaten side the Southland Sharks tomorrow at TSB Bank Arena.

The 31-year-old scored 31 points apiece in the pair of Saints victories at an eye-catchingly efficient clip.

Saints coach Zico Coronel, who also had Prewster with him at the Bay Hawks in 2018 and 2019, told Stuff his Kiwi star’s stellar early play was ‘‘par for the course’’ for the work he had put in.

Prewster elected to sit out last year’s Showdown over difference­s with its format, and so coming into this season his last competitiv­e hoops had been for the Tall Blacks in their Fiba window in February, 2020.

‘‘At 31 he’s probably not as explosive as he once was, though he’s still pretty explosive,’’ Coronel said. ‘‘But his dedication, both intellectu­ally

with his understand­ing and studiousne­ss, and with his fitness, means he is as good as ever in terms of aerobic base and ability to play at high intensity for long periods.’’

Coronel is a big fan of top European basketball which he tags the best tactical hoops in the world. It’s why he has his Saints measuring themselves against that level of performanc­e and Prewster studying the games of top Euro slashers such as Vasilije Micic, the Serbian star of Anadolu Efes.

When Prewster elected to sit out the 2020 domestic season he did not stay idle. He got into the gym, into whatever workouts he could find, and he continued to work at his craft. The

result is a player Coronel firmly believes will soon find his way back to the Australian NBL, and can play genuine minutes for the full-strength Tall Blacks.

With the Tasmanian JackJumper­s coming on board across the ditch for 2021-22, there will be more jobs for Australasi­an players. Coronel feels sure that Prewster, with his stellar mix of slashes to the rim and threepoint range, will be somewhere near the top of that list.

In the meantime, the Saints are rapt to have him back on board (he has won three NBL titles with the capital city club), and once again winning them games.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Dion Prewster has been in brilliant form for the Saints during their twin victories in round one of the NBL.
GETTY IMAGES Dion Prewster has been in brilliant form for the Saints during their twin victories in round one of the NBL.

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