New guard blazes in
ONLY a fool or a person with plenty of ability to back up his self-confidence would give himself the nickname "2Hard2Guard".
Adris DeLeon is no fool. And neither is Gold Coast Blaze coach Joey Wright.
Wright believes he has made the right move in luring the revered "streetballer" to Australia and the NBL.
DeLeon has never played in the USA's elite National Basketball Association - preferring "streetball" where his amazing talents with the ball have earned him the reputation as one of the hottest players on the circuit.
But the 27-year-old, born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York's tough Bronx district, has shown he is up to the elite standard .
During that time a host of NBA stars turned to streetball for a game due the dispute between club owners and players which has resulted in a lock-out.
A handful of NBA players have sought out DeLeon and his heavily sponsored Team Nike, keen to show him up.
But the lightning quick guard has more than held his own, displaying his mesmerizing dribbling and shooting skills in front of huge crowds which pack the sidelines at street courts all over the country.
Streetball allows gifted, carefree players like DeLeon to "run free" on basketball courts, without having the axe hanging over their heads for any slip-ups which would see them benched or pulled out of the game in the NBA.
DeLeon arrived on the Gold Coast and will accompany the Blaze to Townsville where they face up to the Crocodiles tomorrow night.
Wright said he would give DeLeon "some game time" against the Crocs.
"We won't be looking for him to win the game for us - just get him out onto the court to wet his feet and get in a bit of experience playing in our competition," Wright said.
"He comes to us still pretty fit after playing for a few weeks in the Dominican Republic national league - I don't think it will be long before he's getting plenty of game time for us."
Wright says he will be looking for DeLeon to give the Blaze "go-ahead" from the back of the court.
"Adris has toughness and tenacity and I always admire that in a player," he said.
"I'll be looking for him to push the ball up the court at speed and get us onto the attack while their defence isn't quite set."