Jack McVeigh celebrating alongside his teammates. (Photo: Tasmania JackJumpers -Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

After a strong opening season in the NBL but just falling short of the ultimate glory, the Tasmania JackJumpers will be looking to go one step further in NBL23.

The side will go into the 2022/23 season with a different-looking squad, with two of the club’s stars Josh Adams and MiKyle McIntosh departing the club in the off-season. It left room for the JackJumpers to bring in two new imports Milton Doyle and Rashard Kelly.

With knee injuries to stars Clint Steindl and Will Magnay, the JackJumpers have some shoes to fill on the court if they are going to back up last season’s almost fairytale ending.

Last season

Ladder position: Fourth (17 wins, 11 losses)

Coming into the season, not many fans knew what to expect from the JackJumpers but they certainly exceeded expectations in their inaugural season. The JackJumpers pulled off what was almost the ultimate Cinderella story.

The JackJumpers started the season with a bang with an overtime win against the Brisbane Bullets. A shot from Jack McVeigh granted the JackJumpers their first-ever win in the NBL while also sending the Tasmanian crowd into a frenzy.

Beyond its first match, it was a slow start to the season for Tasmania, winning only one of its next seven games as the side was still looking for that last bit of cohesion.

But what happened from there will go down as one of the greatest runs in NBL history. The JackJumpers went on to win 10 of their remaining 12 games to secure a spot in the playoffs.

The side then faced reigning champions and minor premiers Melbourne United in the semi-finals in what was a thriller three-game series. Tasmania reigned supreme in the series, led by import Josh Adams who scored 30 points in game three of the series, securing their place in the Grand Final against the Sydney Kings.

Although the fairytale ending that many hoped for wasn’t to be with the Sydney Kings taking out the series along with the Championship.

It was a first season to be remembered and one that many expansion franchises would dream of.

Biggest in

The JackJumpers have added shooting guard Milton Doyle to their roster ahead of NBL23. The import brings plenty of experience playing in the many leagues across the world, having spent time in the NBA where he played for the Brooklyn Nets.

Doyle more recently plied his trade in the Turkish Basketball League but has spent time in major leagues across Spain and Italy in the past. Playing for Gaziantep Basketbol last season, the 28-year-old averaged 12.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.

Touted as an unselfish player, who is strong offensively and defensively. Doyle will be looking to fill the shoes of key contributor Josh Adams.

Doyle is a real playmaker, with one of his biggest assets being his ability to bring his teammates into the game. He can also stand up in the big moments able to bring his team over the line.

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Biggest out

There is no bigger loss to the JackJumpers than their reigning club MVP, Josh Adams.

The 6’2 guard won’t be competing in the NBL this season, with the import going international, suiting up for KK Cedevita Olimpija based in Slovenia with the club playing across the Slovenian Basketball Supercup and ABA league.

Adams was a key player in the finals series, especially from beyond the arc, converting plenty of three-pointers in big moments across Tasmania’s finals campaign.

Overall Adams was a real key to the JackJumpers side over the season, averaging 16.6 points, 2.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Player to watch

After a strong NBL1 and Australian Boomer’s campaign during the off-season, Sam McDaniel will be looking to bring that form into the upcoming NBL season with the JackJumpers.

McDaniel had a strong season with the Hobart Chargers, helping them take out the NBL1 South Men’s Championship. McDaniel finished the match with 32 points, six rebounds, and two assists, claiming Grand Final MVP honours.

McDaniel was also a part of the Boomers side that took home the trophy at the FIBA Asia Cup and got rewarded for his consistent basketball, getting the start against Indonesia.

While the 26-year-old was strong in the inaugural JackJumpers season and flew under the radar at times after a strong pre-season, he’s sure to be one to keep an eye on going into NBL23.

Starting five

The Inner Sanctum’s predicted starting five for the Tasmania JackJumpers. (Design: Will Cuckson)
Will Magnay to replace Krslovic when he returns from injury.

Full squad

Clint Steindl, Fabijan Krslovic, Isaac White (injury replacement player), Jack McVeigh, Jarrad Weeks, Jarred Bairstow, Josh Magette (import), Josh Tomasi (development player), Matt Kenyon, Milton Doyle (import), Rashard Kelly (import), Sam McDaniel, Sean Macdonald (development player), Tristan Forsyth (injury replacement player), Walter Brown (development player), Will Magnay

Ins: Isaac White (Illawarra Hawks), Milton Doyle (Gaziantep Basketbol), Rashard Kelly (JDA Dijon), Tristan Forsyth (South East Melbourne Phoenix)

Outs: Josh Adams (KK Cedevita Olimpija), Jock Perry, MiKyle McIntosh (Saga Ballooners), Sejr Deans (Jacksonville Dolphins, College)

Fixture highlights

Cairns Taipans (Round 1, October 3rd)

While the matchup itself might not be significant in terms of rivalries, the Round 1 clash against the Taipans will be the JackJumpers’ first game on their home deck of MyState Bank Arena for the season.

When the JackJumpers played in Tasmania last season, the crowd was electric riding every wave and every shot. The Tasmanian crowd have made it clear that they’ll be back once again for NBL23 with the JackJumpers memberships selling out in less than an hour.

Melbourne United (Round 8, October 16th)

The last time these two sides met it was edge-of-your-seat type viewing and when the two sides meet again, it’s sure to be similar. While both sides have gone through plenty of changes over the off-season, there is no doubt that this contest will have plenty of fire.

Melbourne United will out seeking revenge after the JackJumpers ended their NBL22 campaign. While the JackJumpers will be looking to get the upper hand on United at John Cain Arena when the two teams meet for the first time in Round 8.

The two sides have already had some nail-biting clashes in the short time they have faced off against each other. Game three of the semi-final series came down to just three points while the Round 5 match came down to just four points.

Sydney Kings (Round 10, October 30th)

There are few things better in a regular season than a Grand Final rematch and the JackJumpers won’t have to wait that long to have their chance to get revenge after a heartbreaking finish to last season.

The JackJumpers have only defeated the Sydney Kings once in the club’s short history, which was last season in round 10 at home at MyState Bank Arena.

With the Kings keeping much of their championship-winning side together ahead of NBL23, the JackJumpers have gone through some changes to key personnel both departing and through injury, so it’s going to be an exciting match.

What to expect

Last season the JackJumpers were able to play an exciting brand of basketball and were able to take it to any team in the competition. While things will be different due to personnel, they’ll look to do the same once again in this upcoming season.

Players will need to step up, with one of their main avenues to goal – Josh Adams departing the club. The JackJumpers will be looking for a player to take the bulk of the shooting responsibilities.

While Milton Doyle could be that option going forward, after showing from stints across the world that he can be that big game player, players like Josh Magette will be looking to step up into that role as well after showing throughout last season that he was capable of taking on that role.

Milton Doyle in action for the JackJumpers in the practice match against the Phoenix. (Photo: Tasmania JackJumpers)

The JackJumpers are strong defensively and have been since their inception last season. The JackJumpers were able to make life difficult for opposing offences.

In NBL22, Tasmania was the best defensive team, conceding only 79.3 points per game. The defensive pressure was led by the likes of Sam McDaniel and Matt Kenyon.

The last word

It’ll be an interesting second season for the JackJumpers, while the team didn’t win the championship last season they sent a warning sign to the rest of the competition that they can match it with the very best.

With the other nine teams getting a good look at how the JackJumpers like to play, they won’t be flying under the radar of any team coming into this season.

Playoffs are definitely in sight for the JackJumpers come this season but they’ll face a real test early on in the season, with Clint Steindl and Will Magnay set for time on the sidelines.

How they look to cover the voids left by those two will be key to getting some early wins while they wait for the pair to return.

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