Orange Eagles phenom Matt Gray, despite being just 17, fired in NSW’s competition-openers at the Basketball Australia Under-20 Championship at Bendigo this week, channeling NBA cult hero Dikembe Mutombo in the process.
NSW accounted for Western Australia (110-100) on Sunday’s opening day before being downed by South Australia (106-73) the following day, Gray backed up his stunning first-up performance with another solid showing on day two.
Gray, playing centre, produced an incredible seven blocks across those two games, denying his West Australian opponents on five occasions and notching two more against South Australia – although there was no trademark Mutombo finger-wagging to be seen.
Gray also notched 20 points in NSW’s first game, along with seven rebounds and a steal. He scored seven points against South Australia, grabbing five boards and notching two more steals as well.
NSW took on Victoria on Tuesday night and is scheduled to play ACT on Wednesday afternoon.
Dean Pallier and Keelan Crawford have been on fire for NSW in the Ivor Burge Championship too, averaging 11.5 and eight points per game, respectively, in their side’s two losses to South Australia (96-59) and Japan (82-63). They played Victoria on Tuesday night.
VIDEO: Check out Dikembe Mutombo’s greatest blocks of all-time, to get an idea of Matt Gray’s presence in defence for NSW
On top of that, Orange’s Eliza and Bernadette Mills and Siena Boland have helped their NSW Country side to one win from two starts in the women’s division of the Ivor Burge Championship.
NSW Country defeated South Australia (94-41) on day one before being trumped by ACT (83-48) to sit fifth through two rounds.
Eliza Mills in particular has been throwing up huge numbers. Against the ACT she produced a stunning performance in a losing side, notching a points-rebounds double-double. She nailed 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, along with a steal.
In that game Boland almost did the same. She grabbed eight boards and scored seven points, while Bernadette Mills grabbed six rebounds too.