Sport

Crocs centre Luke Nevill helps team quickly climb NBL ladder

Luke Neville of Townsville goes for three points during the round 13 NBL match between the Adelaide 36ers and the Townsville Crocodiles at Adelaide Arena on January 4, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia.
Luke Neville of Townsville goes for three points during the round 13 NBL match between the Adelaide 36ers and the Townsville Crocodiles at Adelaide Arena on January 4, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia. Morne de Klerk / Getty Images

HE didn't quite land an NBA contract, but Townsville Crocodiles centre Luke Nevill certainly took a lot out of the time he spent with the Indiana Pacers in the American summer.

What 2.18m wouldn't relish the chance to line up against one of the best centres in the best league, Roy Hibbert, at training hit-outs?

So rather than hunch his shoulders at missing out on his dream for a second time (Nevill was cut from the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing four pre-season games with them in the 2009 US summer), the 26-year-old has helped pull the Crocodiles out of a massive form slump.

Nevill joined the Crocs in time for their round nine clash against the Adelaide 36ers, and his massive presence was felt immediately.

Going into that game, Townsville was reeling with an appalling 0-10 record.

In the five games Nevill has been there, his side has won all of them, jumping from last to sixth on the ladder.

"One thing we were lacking was a tall presence in the middle of the court," said Nevill, who averaged 9.5 points and almost five rebounds for the Perth Wildcats in the 2011/12 season.

He has six rebounds this season, something which has delighted Crocs coach Paul Woolpert.

Woolpert audaciously recruited Nevill at the 11th hour, after missing his dream Pacers contract, for this very reason.

With an average of 16 points per game to go with that, the sixth highest in the league, and with star American import and teammate Gary Ervin second on this list (17.3), the Crocs have found their offensive bite.

"I've tried to get the ball to my outside men as cleanly as possible so they have time to make their shots," Nevill said.

"They haven't hesitated with the ball before taking those three-point shots recently which has really helped us."

Nevill benefited immensely from the two pre-season games he had with Indiana.

"It's a good situation when you get the opportunity to line up against Roy Hibbert at training," he said.

"Before those games, we had three weeks where we played a lot of five-on-five games among the squad, so I got the chance to see what makes the top players successful."

Nevill said this Friday night's game against the two-time reigning champions and table-topping New Zealand Breakers will give a true indication of just how good his side is travelling.

"They're an elite team, but we've got a lot of guys who are high on confidence," he said.

"(Breakers talls) Will Hudson and Alex Pledger are great players."

Topics:  basketball, nba, nbl, townsville crocodiles



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Gold Coast Airport testing for contamination

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton.

Gold Coast Airport investigating historic chemical use

Shark hunter warns next shark attack "three weeks away"

"Within another three weeks, [they'll] be munching on surfers"

Tweed woman to face court after horse death

Police have charged a woman after her car crashed into a horse float at Kirra.

Woman charged after crashing into horse float

Latest deals and offers

Shark Hunter warns of Attack

Shark hunter Joel merchant hooks a Tiger shark.

Joel Merchant says more sharks on the way as temperature drops.

Beyonce is better than Beethoven according to your dog

Sony research shows that dogs prefer Top 40 over classical.

Research commissioned by Sony shows that dogs like Top 40 more than classical.

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest