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The Roar


Wildcats continue to have all the answers in NBL

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19th October, 2018

Write the Perth Wildcats off at your peril. After being the only team to win twice in Round 1 of the NBL season, they come into Saturday’s home clash with the Brisbane Bullets having already answered one significant question.

It raised some eyebrows in my NBL season predictions last week when I didn’t have the Wildcats finishing in the top four considering they have reached the finals in the past 32 consecutive seasons – winning eight championships along the way.

The one rider I put on that was that it was because of what Terrico White had shown at the NBL Blitz and in the Wildcats’ NBLxNBA games against the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. Theyy suggested he wasn’t going to be the type of import the team needed.

That was my only question mark I had over the group because, aside from that question mark, they had brought back MVP Bryce Cotton and added Mitch Norton and Damian Martin as point guards.

Tom Jervis returned to support Angus Brandt in the five spot and is a significant upgrade on Derek Cooke Jr from last season, while adding Boomers power forward Nick Kay is also an upgrade on Lucas Walker, with all due respect, from last season.

With proven veterans like Jesse Wagstaff and Greg Hire and the depth chart filled by Clint Steindl and Rhys Vague, the Wildcats were always capable of being the deepest team in the league.

The only question mark was whether White was going to be able to deliver what he promised.

Jean-Pierre Tokoto of the Wildcats in action against the Cairns Taipans.

Jean-Pierre Tokoto of the Wildcats in action against the Cairns Taipans. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)


Jean-Pierre Tokoto had a good season last year in that three spot, but his limitations to shoot from the perimeter hurt the Wildcats the longer the season went.

So the focus coming into the 2018/19 season was to find a second import who could shoot well from the outside and that’s what White was promised to come in and provide.

The problem was he showed little of that ability in the three games at the Blitz and then in the two games against NBA opposition, but some players are just destined to deliver when the games actually matter.

That was precisely the case for White as he produced 20 points, three rebounds and two assists in both wins for the Wildcats in Round 1 – 99-91 away to the Adelaide 36ers and 101-61 at home to the Illawarra Hawks.

White delivered exactly what the Wildcats needed from him in those two impressive victories and if he continues to be able to do that, with the depth the team has, there’s no question that, not only will they play finals for a 33rd straight season, they are a definite championship threat.

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson maintained his faith in White despite his pre-season struggles and was glad to see his production over the first two games, and his combination with reigning league MVP Cotton develop nicely.

“Terrico’s been practicing great and I don’t think he was too happy with his couple of games in pre-season,” Gleeson said.


“But our team has confidence in him of passing the ball to him in the right spots and he has the ability to knock down the three and get to the rack.

“We are just creating space for him and him and Bryce are starting to get a good little synergy out there between them. Hopefully that will keep on building.”

Trevor Gleeson

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

White played in in the NBA D-League, Serbia, Turkey and Israel after being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2010, and then after a stint with the Phoenix Suns he played in the D-League again before going to Korea.

But he was after a fresh challenge and was blown away by his first game inside Perth’s RAC Arena last Sunday and was glad to give the Red Army plenty to cheer about.

“It was awesome just to get to play in front of the fans. This is my first time playing overseas in front of a large crowd like this. It was noisy and I loved it,” White said.

“I didn’t really have a good pre-season but I knew coming in for the regular season I had to step it up and that everyone in the team has confidence in me. It’s pretty simple I just had to go out and play my game, and knock down shots.”


The Wildcats are now back home this Saturday to host a Brisbane Bullets team that looked tremendous beating the New Zealand Breakers last Thursday before losing disappointingly at home on Saturday to the Cairns Taipans.

NBL Round 2 Fixtures

All times (AEDT)

Adelaide 36ers 106 beat Sydney Kings 101

Perth Wildcats v Brisbane Bullets – RAC Arena, 3pm

New Zealand Breakers v Sydney Kings – Spark Arena, 12:20pm
Melbourne United v Adelaide 36ers – Melbourne Arena, 2:50pm
Cairns Taipans v Illawarra Hawks – Cairns Convention Centre, 5:20pm