18/04/2024

Harry Froling is proving more valuable than ever for the Hawks. (Photo: NBL/Twitter)

Harry Froling's ability to shoot the three is proving to be a valuable asset in the Hawks' playoff aspirations in NBL22

The art of the shooting big man is more relevant than ever, and there is none better in the NBL than Harry Froling.

Before Sunday’s game against the Phoenix, Froling was shooting an astonishing 59 per cent from beyond the arc while attempting the fourth most among centres in the league, showing great accuracy on a high volume.

The match against South East Melbourne saw Froling shoot 0/2 from the perimeter, with his opposition seemingly catching on to his elite shooting this year.

Froling was guarded well on the three point line by Brandon Ashley off the bench, hardly allowing an opportunity to get a shot off. The second string Ashley was the primary defender for Froling during his minutes.

The big man shot a career high 27 points against the 36ers in January, shooting eight threes from only 10 attempts along with nine rebounds.

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Elite inside defender Zhou Qi had an interesting task on Froling as he took repeated stances on the perimeter, forcing mismatches that allowed his Hawks teammates to create better space for themselves.

On an occasion in the second quarter, Froling used a pump fake to remove Qi from the paint, thus allowing an assist to an easy Isaac White bucket.

This however was followed by a block from Xavier Munford on a three point attempt from Froling, showing their awareness of his shooting presence.

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The advantage of having a centre like Froling able to shoot the ball from the perimeter provides another layer of defence that opposing teams are forced to address, ensuring that the big men on the court can defend both inside and outside.

Although Froling was inaccurate on Sunday, the danger of his shot creates a variety of open looks for the rest of the lineup, as seen by his three assists and a commanding lead of points off the bench showing 33-10 for Illawarra.

With the Hawks hoping to embark on a deep playoff run, this danger proves vital over long stretches of games against the same opponent, as they must remain locked in defensively to the threat.

With the Phoenix likely to be in the playoffs, they have had a taste of the correct way to defend Froling and now understand what else they must do to stop the rest of his unit scoring.

Other teams will no doubt be keeping an eye on the Hawks centre, as he can explode and tear games open if guarded incorrectly, providing another elite scoring threat off the bench.

After the game, Froling spoke on his performance and his ability to help the team, saying “I’m trying to impact the game in ways when I’m not scoring the ball”.

“I’m just trying to bring it defensively and bring energy with the bench guys and do what we can to give those starters a rest.

“Goorj [coach Brian Goorjian] has helped me get a lot better, defensively I’m getting better. Obviously there is those games where I can have offensive outbursts and if I can make my bread and butter the defence and keep contributing I’m happy.”

Froling and the Hawks next game is against the struggling JackJumpers on March 13.

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