Dean Vickerman has lauded the instant impact of NBA hopeful Jock Landale on his title-hunting Melbourne United team ahead of the NBL season tip-off.
Boomers star Landale, 25, signed with United in December with the hope of using the Australian competition as a shop window to launch himself onto basketball’s biggest stage.
And if early performances are any indication, it might not take him too long to get there.
Landale starred in United’s unbeaten run through pre-season (4-0) and is well-placed to play a big role against 36ers duo Daniel Johnson and Isaac Humphries in Adelaide on Friday night.
“He’s had some games that he’s scored heavily, where he’s rebounded heavily and where he’s passed the ball really well,” United coach Vickerman said of Landale’s pre-season performances.
“We believe he’s got mobility at the centre position, ability to stretch the floor, ability to post up smaller guys – he can do so many different things on a given night.
“We just need to give him enough information about what we need from him against any given team.”
With Landale joining MVP candidates Scotty Hopson and Chris Goulding, United are widely considered to be one of the leading title contenders this season.
Vickerman has close to a full roster at his disposal heading into the Adelaide clash, with guard Sam McDaniel the only player on the injury list.
He is still about two weeks away from returning from a broken hand.
Vickerman had his entire squad operating on restricted minutes throughout a disjointed pre-season, which included an intended five-day camp in north Queensland.
The camp stretched beyond two weeks because of government-imposed travel restrictions after coronavirus outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne.
Despite the disruptions, United took plenty out of wins over Cairns (twice), South East Melbourne and New Zealand.
“That showed us the depth of our squad and if we can rotate this team and sub well, we can put a lot of heat on the opposition,” Vickerman said.
“Our defence has been extended and it’s going to be one of the challenges for me this season, to make sure that I use our depth well and continue to rotate people.”