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Bartlett making the most of Wildcats' opportunity
Thursday, November 10, 2011, 07:13:00 PM
Everard Bartlett is now one game into his NBL career with the Perth Wildcats looking ahead to his first road trip with the team this weekend that he hopes is just the beginning of his time in the league.

Bartlett has previously been a development player with the New Zealand Breakers before moving to Perth and being a training player with the Wildcats for the 2010/11 season, and so far this year as well.

mp3 - download>Click here to listen to Everard Bartlett speaking to the media following his NBL debut While he never really expected an opportunity to present, when Damian Martin went down for almost two months with his toe injury he was signed by the Wildcats and made his debut in the NBL in Saturday night's victory at Challenge Stadium over the Wollongong Hawks.

He certainly didn’t look out of place either making a strong drive straightaway when he hit the court, helping out with the ball handling duties, hitting a big three-pointer and just generally looking as though he belonged.

The 25-year-old did certainly feel some nerves when he hit The Jungle floor for the first time, but just tried to help out the team however he could.

"There was still definitely some nerves there, but I think what helped with that was my teammates showing their support and confidence that they had in me.

That helped settle the nerves a little bit and I just concentrated on playing basketball," Bartlett said.

"I was definitely just told to play my game and do what I do well.

That's obviously driving to the basket and when the defence presented that chance to me when I first got out there, I drove and managed to get to the line.

" While never ideal to receive an opportunity at the expense of an injured teammate, Bartlett was ready to go when Martin went down and feels that by training with the Wildcats it prepared him well for some actual game action.

It was a definite step up to anything he's experienced before though.

"Obviously I want to try and achieve something, but you never want to see any of your teammates get injured just for you to get a chance.

That's just part of the sport, though, and it's unpredictable when injuries come along.

That's why us guys just have to be ready," he said.

"As a development player and training player when you come into the team for the first time of course you want to do well.

You don’t want to make mistakes or bring the team down at all.

I just wanted to do well and support the team however I could.

"We do train pretty hard but there's training and then there's playing.

It's definitely a step up in the level of intensity and focus, and you can only get that by playing in games and being out on the court.

I definitely felt that it was a step up.

" Given Bartlett's long wait to make his NBL debut, he certainly hopes that he can show enough while Martin is out to ensure he has a future in the league as well.

"I like to see it that way as it's an opportunity for me to show what I can do in this league," Bartlett said.

"Part of any basketballer's goal is to be part of this league, which is very good and the competition is a very high level.

It's definitely a goal of mine to earn a contract somewhere in the league.

" Now looking ahead to his first road trip with the Wildcats this weekend that sees them take on Gold Coast on Saturday night and Cairns on Sunday, Bartlett is looking forward to getting away with the team and hopes to receive some more court time to show what he can do.

"It does pose some obstacles there for us with back-to-back games on what will be my first road trip with the team.

I'm looking forward to it, though, and hopefully we come back with two wins," Bartlett said.

"We talked about what we need to do for back-to-back games and recovery is definitely a big part of what we want to do.

We want to be playing healthy and fit, and ready in both games so that we are prepared for whatever obstacles pop up.

"There is minutes there hopefully for me, but I'm just trying to take it one game at a time and try and do well when I get an opportunity.

Hopefully I can help the team be successful.