‘Rookie’ Dexter has plenty more to offer
Dexter Kernich-Drew is 27 years of age and has been in the NBL since 2016 but one of his earliest mentors says he should still be regarded as a rookie.
Nick Abdicevic does not mean that as a knock on the Cairns Taipans shooter, his point is that after sitting on the bench for the Perth Wildcats for a couple of years and not playing consistently, his debut season in the Far North will be the launching pad to his basketball career.
Abdicevic coached the Melbourne junior in his teenage years and with the Melbourne Tigers in the SEABL this winter and believes if Snakes fans like what they see of Kernich-Drew this season - they will love him even more in 2019-20 and beyond.
In a season where Cairns are 1-6, the Washington State graduate has been a shining light from the bench.
In the 117.24 minutes the reserve shooter has been on the court, the Taipans are plus 34, while when he is on the bench, Cairns are minus 86.
As Kernich-Drew does not play big minutes, a more relevant statistic may be that the club is plus 10.4 across 36 minutes, and minus 18.5, when he is off the floor, across 36 minutes of playing time.
Abdicevic, who was in contact with Snakes coach Mike Kelly through the preseason about what Kernich-Drew needed to work on in the SEABL, believes his early form is just the tip of the iceberg.
"I think he deserves to get more involved offensively, from what we have seen so far, he is shooting at a high percentage from deep," Abdicevic said.
"If he is averaging 15-20 minutes a game this year, it is a huge step forward for him.
"And, if he can be solid this season, then the following year is when he gets the bigger opportunities.
"He is kind of like a rookie in my eyes because he has never played this much consistently, now he has started a few games, that is huge improvement.
"He will use this season to get his confidence up and he will show the coaches and players that he deserves to play more."
Kernich-Drew, who broke out for 17 points in the club's loss to Adelaide, does not read into statistics too much but says he is focusing on helping the team whenever he can.
"I just try and do my job, if it is scoring, screening or moving the ball," he said.
"I just try and defend the best I can."
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson yesterday said centre Angus Brandt (ankle) won't play against Cairns tomorrow night while Terrico White (hamstring) is also unlikely.
WHAT IS REAL PLUS-MINUS?
■ Real plus-minus shares a family resemblance with the +/- stat in the box score, which merely registers the net change in score (plus or minus) while each player is on the court.
■ RPM is inspired by the same underlying +/- logic: If a team outscores its opponents when a player is on the court, he's probably doing something to help his team, whether or not he's putting up big numbers.
- from ESPN.com