Jolly Jawai finally home for Christmas
Despite some improved play, the Cairns Taipans big man says he’s missed some gifts around the basket this holiday season.
Christmas is bringing out the best in Nathan Jawai on and off the court.
After a slow start to the NBL season Jawai has scored in double figures the last seven games, including 15 points and seven rebounds in the Taipans rousing 99-82 win against the Illawarra Hawks at the weekend.
But the 209-centimetre big man says he still hasn’t found his best form following surgery on his right index finger in July.
“I’ve been missing crazy shots around the basket,” he says.
“My finger still hasn’t recovered 100 per cent but you have to play through it. It’s been eight months now. I can’t do anything about it.
“The double team hasn’t been coming recently. I just have to be more aggressive, I guess, demand the double team and get the ball out to my teammates.
“I haven’t seen the double team for a while so it’s their [opponents] fault if they get damaged.
“There aren’t a lot of guys who can stop me when I get the ball deep or in the paint.”
In the spirit of giving, the former NBA draft pick says he’ll be treating development players Tevin Jackson, Ash Constable, Anthony Fisher and Jack Madgen this Christmas.
“I’m thinking about spoiling some of the DPs so we’ll see what comes up,” he says.
“They work hard.
“This is my first Christmas back home in a while. The funny thing is my family have decided to have Christmas back home in Bamaga.
“But I’m here [contracted] for three years so I’ve got another two more [Christmases] to go.”
The Taipans next game is against Melbourne United at home next week.
Coach Aaron Fearne says the break allows veterans Mark Worthington and Alex Loughton the chance to rest up.
“You’re trying to refresh a little bit mentally and physically,” Fearne says.
“But then you’ve got to come back in and get back to work. We’re in a fairly important patch here.
“The results come when you play for each other and not for yourself. The teams that figure that out quicker have success at the back end of the season.”
Images courtesy of Gordon G Photography.