The Post

No Chicago fairytale for Webster


For Kiwi basketball­er Corey Webster, the chance to play at the iconic home stadium of his childhood hero was the stuff of dreams.

Unfortunat­ely for the NBA hopeful, his visit to the United Center – where Michael Jordan forged so much of his incredible legacy – did not quite produce the fairytale performanc­e he would have been hoping for.

Webster’s Pelicans came up with a quality pre-season win, 123-115 over the Chicago Bulls as they erased a 20-point deficit with a big second-half both at the ANBL club and with the Tall Blacks.

‘‘It’s never easy and never fun. One message we’re really trying to hammer home with the guys is that you have to be locked in every single second you’re on the floor guarding him,’’ Henare said.

Henare is also expecting Penney to be energised by the chance to go up against so many former team-mates.

‘‘Any time an athlete plays against a former team, and a team they were so close with, they want to play well, and stamp their mark. I’m sure he’s going to be highly motivated and I’m sure the guys are going to be up for the challenge.’’

Penney has simmered more than sizzled through the first two games – a comeback. But the game was otherwise a frustratin­g one for the Breakers and Tall Blacks guard who is hoping to pick up a full roster spot with New Orleans.

In his four-way battle for what’s thought to be one guard spot up for grabs on the Pelicans’ regular season roster, Webster appeared to lose some ground on his rivals as he was consigned just four minutes and 55 seconds off the bench in the first half, and did not have his number called after the major break. 79-74 defeat at Cairns and 93-81 loss in Melbourne. He had 12 points on five-of11 shooting against the Snakes, and 18 points, four boards and four assists against the impressive United outfit. Notably, he had five turnovers in each of those games.

Penney admitted it would be ‘‘bizarre’’ competing against a club he had such strong affection for.

‘‘Obviously the Breakers have meant a great deal to me in my career, basically in my home town and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there,’’ he told the Illawarra Mercury. The 1-1 Breakers, who have taken 11 to Australia, will make a game-day decision on whether to play Mika Vukona (high hamstring strain).

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