NZL - Tall Black Pledger grows in stature
AUCKLAND (NBL/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - One has to turn the clock back to the 8th of December to find the last defeat suffered by the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).
They have been on a tear, winners of 15 straight games.
An integral part of the side’s success has been big man Alex Pledger.
The two-time defending champions are getting a league best average of 1.5 blocks per game, along with 9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds, from their 2.15m pivot.
He has been named as the NBL Player of the Week after pouring in 20 points and corralling six boards in an 80-77 triumph over Cairns, and scoring 11 points while also pulling down 11 rebounds in a 79-74 road triumph at Melbourne.
Pledger celebrates his 26th birthday on 27 March, so the expectation is that he’ll continue to improve.
Talent in abundance
If he doesn’t make that many headlines, it’s because there is so much talent in the New Zealand club.
Three of his teammates have been named Player of the Week this season.
Another key man in the Breakers team is power forward Will Hudson, an American averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Back in January, when the New Zealanders had won the first seven games in their current streak, Pledger talked about the frontcourt.
"If you look at our numbers combined, they're pretty damn good," Pledger said.
"We have different strengths and weaknesses, but we're both pretty good defenders, both pretty good rebounders and both pretty tough to deal with around the basket.
"I think we're definitely the best one-two punch in that position in the league."
The Breakers will look to continue their winning streak in the last two regular-season games at Melbourne on Thursday and then at Perth on 22 March.
Pledger is expected to be with the Tall Blacks when they compete against Australia in the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.