Usher hoping Wildcats' party keeps rolling against Hawks
Dan Woods - NBL.com.au
The party in Perth has been rolling for the past six games. The Wildcats haven’t lost since Round 12, and they’ve only lost twice in their last 15 games. This is a party Jordan Usher is determined to keep on rolling.
One of those two defeats came at the hands of Illawarra back in Round 10. The Hawks got the jump on Perth early to register an 18-point win, to hammer home the new credentials of the Justin Tatum-led team.
Usher has starred for Perth in the concussion-forced absence of import forward Kristian Doolittle, and he scored 24 points in the side’s last time out victory over Sydney.
While he’s self-proclaimed “crazy”, Usher believes this Wildcats roster has the perfect blend of personalities to experience on-court success.
“I think that’s what makes it special, it’s kind of like throwing a party, you can’t invite everyone who’s crazy, you might need to bring two or three crazy people, a couple of chill guys, a couple of homegirls that just kick it, I think it’s a perfect mixture,” Usher said.
“Shoutout to (Wildcats General Manager of Basketball Operations) Danny Mills and whoever put the whole team together, because it’s a real good mixture and now we have a taste of how everybody likes it and we’re on a roll.
“It’s summer time, it’s my favourite city in Australia – the only one that could compete is Gold Coast – Perth is it, in the summertime it’s hot, you can’t be in a bad mood and school is still out, so everyone is in a good mood.
“I like to party all night, so we’re going to keep going and we’re going to keep playing well. I’m trying to push to the finals, everybody’s trying to push to the finals, nobody is hotter than us right now.”
It’s a party Usher is hoping the Hawks won’t enjoy when they’re welcomed to RAC Arena in Round 17, and he says Perth needs to start better than the last time these two teams met.
“We’re taking all the hors d’oeurves and keeping them to ourselves. They’re coming to The Jungle and it’s hard to play there, the fans are going to be rocking trying to make it seven in a row,” he continued.
“We didn’t have Tai, but also we can’t give up a first quarter like that. It was a really mundane first quarter for us and they jumped on us.
“We put a fight up later, but in this league you cannot let another team get the jump on you with that many points in a quarter, because it’s a fight that sometimes you just can’t climb back from.”
The Wildcats look set to welcome Next Star Alex Sarr back to their active roster for the first time since Round 13.
Usher didn’t go as far as confirming the projected number one draft pick would be back in action, but says when he does come back, Sarr could be back better than ever.
“Being a guy as young as he is with the potential he has, we don’t want to rush him,” Usher said.
“Everybody wants to see him do great, we give him the hardest time because he’s going to be a great basketball player. I’m happy he’s back and I’m happy he gets to play basketball again.
“He’s full health now, 110 per cent, he might even be stronger. We’re just excited to see him play.
“He’s built for the pressure. He’s a really humble young man and I think he’s a stand-up human before basketball. He comes to work every day as an 18-year-old and treats it like a professional, and I think the sky is the limit for him.”
The Wildcats host the Hawks in Thursday night's Member Recognition Round clash at RAC Arena from 6.30pm.