Adelaide 36ers youngster Nick Marshall is ready for whatever role coach CJ Bruton requires from him ahead of his third NBL season.
Marshall spent his first two seasons with the 36ers as a development player, playing 33 games – including 15 last year.
The 24-year-old saw an increase in minutes after the departure of Craig Randall II with his talent on full display. Marshall told media on Tuesday it was around that time he started to feel what it took to play at NBL level.
“There was that click where it started to feel a bit more comfortable out there and I kept growing and growing confidently,” Marshall said.
“Guys telling me every day at practice ‘just go out there and do what you do’ and it was about converting it from the practice court to the main court in front of all the fans.
“It’s just going out there and as soon as you cross those lines just go about having fun. If you make mistakes, you can’t let those continue in your head, you got to keep moving forward and continue with the next play.”
Former Adelaide 36er Cam Bairstow was one teammate who gave Marshall that confidence early in his professional career.
“[In] my first year as a DP, Cam Bairstow gave me that advice ‘you get buckets at training just go do it and shoot your shot. What’s the worst that can happen, you miss, next shot’,” he said.
“He was the one that started to put that mentality in my game and then everyone just kept growing my confidence.”
The 198cm swingman said he hasn’t set any major targets this season and hopes to do all he can to help the team strive for success.
“I’m hoping to continue to grow and to do what the team needs me to do and convert those into wins,” he said.
“I’ll be in a bigger role this year compared to a DP. It’s about staying ready whenever he [CJ Bruton] calls my name to go in and play confidently and make the right play.”
Last season Adelaide struggled defensively, but Marshall has said he plans on being a major contributor on that side of the ball.
“I’m going to be locking in defensively if I can go out and play really good defence that’s all that matters,” he said.
“Shots will drop, shots won’t drop so it’s about locking in defensively and making sure I’m not a liability.”
Adelaide was forced into several roster changes including its import pair after last season’s Damian Martin Trophy winner Antonius Cleveland and Robert Franks were both released from their contracts for NBL24 – with Cleveland and Franks signing with European and Japanese clubs respectively.
The 36ers replaced the import pair with Jacob Wiley, Jamaal Franklin, and Trey Kell. They also acquired Isaac Humphries, Jason Cadee, Tohi Smith-Milner, and Alex Starling, as well as adding Next Star Trentyn Flowers.
“There’s a lot of new faces so we’re trying to figure out what the guys do well,” Marshall said.
“It’s been four weeks now so we’re still starting to click together, we’ve still got two more guys to come in after the World Cup with Sunday [Dech] and Tohi [Smith-Milner].
“We’re going to continue to build forward and with the game in Mount Gambier this week it will be a good test for us.”
36ers fans will get a chance to see their roster for the first time in a pre-season clash against the South East Melbourne Phoenix at the Wulanda Recreation Centre in Mount Gambier – a location Marshall knows all too well, having played for the Mount Gambier Pioneers in NBL1 South.
“Obviously excited, I’ve been there for the past three years so it’s going to be cool to go back there in a Sixers uniform and put a show on for the fans,” he said.