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'This club has heart and soul again': Ninnis

18 Feb
3 mins read
“To come into this calendar year and put in some of the performances we did – I couldn’t be happier and more prouder."

Adelaide 36ers head coach Scott Ninnis said he is proud how his side has brought “heart and soul” back to the club.

Ninnis, who took over as head coach in December, led the 36ers back to the brink of the NBL Play-In, and Adelaide won seven of their past 10 matches in the 2024 calendar year to finish with a 12-16 record.

Sunday afternoon’s 76-70 success against New Zealand Breakers at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was the 36ers’ fifth straight win on home court.

“I’m very proud of this group, the way they stuck together when things were going pretty pear shaped there for a while,” Ninnis said post-match.

“To come into this calendar year and put in some of the performances we did – I couldn’t be happier and more prouder.

“One thing I think we have brought to this club again is heart.

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“I had a random person come up to me in the street the other day and they said ‘it’s not about the wins and losses, you can see this club has a heart and soul again’,

“To me – you can’t a bigger compliment than that.”

Adelaide held on in the final moments after the Breakers rallied back from a 16-point deficit in the final quarter to get within one basket in the final moments.

Ninnis said to get the victory to end the season was a great reward for the loyal home fans and gives the club a boost going into the off-season.

“That’s outstanding – to win the last five home games in-a-row and what is even more outstanding is the seven, maybe eight now sellouts,” Ninnis said.

“It’s astonishing just how great our fans are, their ability to come out time after time after time.

“This is not where we want to be, we want to be playing finals, we gave ourselves a glimmer of hope there for a while, but it wasn’t to be.”

Ninnis praised point guard Jason Cadee, who stepped up into the starting line-up for the injured Trey Kell (foot).

“You’re missing 20 points straight away – and you starting point guard and Cadee didn’t train yesterday and we didn’t think he was going to play today (either)," Ninnis said.

“I couldn’t get him back in that last quarter because of that and I’m sure we would be working on a press breaker if we had training on Monday.”

Star guard DJ Vasiljevic, who scored a game-high 25 points to go with a game-high 14 rebounds, said the end result was the only priority.

“They were desperate there, they pressed us and we got a little flustered, but we got the win which is all that matters to me,” Vasiljevic said.

Ninnis said he’d like the 1998/99 jersey to stick around after the side were a perfect 4-0 wearing them this season.

“I’d have us in those (jerseys) every game, and a lot of our turnaround happened when those old boys came to that game, so it’s a big green tick from me to wear those uniforms,” Ninnis said.


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