Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman has been left impressed with Next Star pick-up Ariel Hukporti during his first pre-season in the NBL.
The 19-year-old has pleased his new coach throughout the pre-season, and he’s got high hopes for the German.
“Ariel is big and powerful, he’s got great mobility on the perimeter that allows him to take people off the dribble at seven feet,” he said.
“I like (the Deandre Ayton comparison) for him. (Ariel’s own comparison).
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“He’s been able to catch lobs that no one else has been able to. His length and reach are exceptional. Ayton is in unbelievable shape, and we’d like to see Ariel build on his fitness level.
“He can be anything, we love the talent level, we love the cheekiness and the liveliness he brings, he’s fun to have around the group.”
Vickerman added the off-season has been one of the “craziest” he’s been a part of.
“It’s been one of the craziest pre-seasons, in terms of bringing all the guys in, that I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.
“Bringing in Ariel (Hukporti) from Germany, Calab (Agada) from Canada, the guys back from the Olympics, and maybe the hardest, Newls (Brad Newley) from Sydney has been pretty interesting.
“It’s a major credit to Mark Boyd and our office staff to get everyone back in here.”
Another one of those signings is Australian veteran Matthew Dellavedova.
“Delly is in amazing shape, he believes he’s far better than he was during the Olympic campaign. We look forward to having that combination of point guards with him and Shea, the speed and execution those two can create,” Vickerman said.
“We like playing at a higher tempo, we want to be in the top three in tempo in the league because that’ll allow our group to shine.
“It’ll allow Brad Newley to create layups like (Yudai) Baba did, it’ll create opportunities above the rim, and combine that with some of the shooting we have with Barlow, Chris (Goulding) and Caleb (Agada), that’ll provide a massive scoring punch.”
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