Lifestyle

NBL free agency news: Melbourne United sign three imports in three days, Jordan Caroline, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Rayjon Tucker

Melbourne United’s winter of uncertainty is over and they haven’t messed around in covering the departures of stars Matthew Dellavedova, Jack White and Jo Lual-Acuil.

Versatile forward Jordan Caroline inked a one-year deal Thursday, after Rayjon Tucker, on Tuesday, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, on Wednesday, signed with the club.

It’s a pristine haul for coach Dean Vickerman, who admitted it had been a difficult period.

CLICK FOR EVERY TEAM’S OFF-SEASON ROSTER CHANGES

“It was frustrating, not knowing what kind of players we had to get, so we got busy once we knew who was coming and who was going,” Vickerman told News Corp.

“It’s three in three days, but you look at the timeline to get those three pieces, it doesn’t feel like a short period, it’s been a long process and a challenging one.”

The challenge for Vickerman, now, is to mesh the revamped roster into a title contender, but 201cm Illinois product Caroline and athletic guard Tucker have a head start — they’ve competed against each other since they were teenagers.

Watch Live & Free Coverage of The 2022 NBL1 Championship Season on Kayo Freebies. Join now, no credit card required >

“Rayjon is a guy I’ve been going against since high school, so it’s pretty cool that we’ll be playing together for United,” Caroline, who was a high school teammate of Aussie NBA man Ben Simmons at Montverde, said.

“We’d just always stayed in touch, it’s crazy that we get to play together now because it felt like every step of the way we had to go against each other.

“I’m just happy that he’s not going to be trying to dunk on me anymore.”

Caroline, a standout at the University of Nevada with G League experience, comes to the NBL from Italian club Trento with a winning pedigree — he led Montverde to back-to-back national titles and then guided the Wolf Pack to a trio of conference championships.

“Being on a team that’s used to having a lot of success excites me a lot because, above all else, I pride myself on being a winner,” the dynamic big man, who shoots the deep ball efficiently, said.

“When you’re playing with a talented group of guys with high expectations it makes you be the best that you can be for the team every day … I think we’ve got the talent to make these expectations become reality.”

His first foray into the NBA — with the LA Lakers in 2019 — was sadly hampered by a groin injury in Summer League and then a broken foot and more groin issues.

Vickerman said the 26-year-old — whose father Simeon Rice won an NFL championship as a defensive end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — would fill the role vacated by White at power forward.

“I had a really good chat with Eric Musselman, his college coach at Nevada, and he spoke about him being a four-five and then, in one of his last seasons, he pushed him down to the three a little bit as well, so he’s really versatile in the skillset he’s got to play over three positions,” Vickerman said.

The monster game that convinced Vickerman he had to have XRM

—Michael Randall

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman looked on from the sidelines helplessly last season as Xavier Rathan-Mayes obliterated Melbourne United in a 96-90 loss to the Illawarra Hawks.

The Canadian import shredded United’s scout — go under the screener and let him shoot — scoring 25 points and handing out eight assists to go with six rebounds and four steals in a tour de force that completed back-to-back losses for United — on their impenetrable John Cain Arena home floor.

It was death by a thousand cuts for one of the best defensive teams in the NBL as XRM made bucket after bucket from all over the floor, slicing his way to the hoop with a lightning first step and supreme body control that was reminiscent of former Atlanta Hawk contortionist Stacey ‘Plastic Man’ Augmon.

Vickerman was served up a stunning glimpse of what Rathan-Mayes could do without the Hawks’ most-potent scorer in Tyler Harvey, who missed the game with injury, and he both hated and loved what he saw so much, he made sure the 28-year-old would be in United colours for NBL23.

Not that the former Memphis Grizzlie really needed the reference, but Boomers coach Brian Goorjian, who led the Hawks last season, spoke glowingly of Rathan-Mayes’ talents to Vickerman.

It helped, too, that the Florida State alum was front and centre at United’s Hoop City home base during periods of the off-season.

Adept at both guard positions, Vickerman is set to ask more of the 193cm Rathan-Mayes, who came off the bench for the majority of last season for a tick over 10 points and four assists in 23 minutes, finishing second to United’s Shea Ili in the league’s best sixth man voting.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing in Xavier,” Vickerman said.

“We’ve seen him around Hoop City a lot this off-season and he really impressed us.

“Goorj (Brian Goorjian) couldn’t have spoken about him more highly, which means a lot.

“He showed what he can do in this league last season, and we’re confident he can do even more within our system.”

The Ontario native’s signature comes just days after United locked in two-way athlete Rayjon Tucker, giving the Melbourne team one of the best wing rotations in the league with Ili and sharpshooter Chris Goulding, even after Boomer Matthew Dellavedova’s departure.

XRM has fond memories of playing on the JCA court — his Hawks side won all three of its games there last season.

“I love the city of Melbourne, I love John Cain Arena, it very much feels like an NBA arena, it was always super exciting to come play in front of the Melbourne United fans,” Rathan-Mayes said.

“Their rowdiness, their energy and the atmosphere they created was pretty awesome.

“I’m excited to get down there and join this group.

“I think we’ve got the chance to be really special.

“I’m going to have the ability to play with such great players and fit right in with the championship culture that Dean and his staff have created.”

United has two roster spots left to fill — one import and one local.

Family first for United’s new ex-NBA weapon

—Michael Randall

Explosive new Melbourne United weapon Rayjon Tucker radiates a maturity that belies his young years.

The two-way juggernaut whose G League dominance led to stints with four NBA clubs, was forced to grow up fast, becoming the man of the house, aged just nine.

“It’s just me, my mum and my little brother Tevin,” Tucker told News Corp from the US.

“He was two when my dad left, so I kind of had to take on that father figure role a little early.

“From day one I told him that it would be me and him against the world.

“My mum is my backbone, that’s my world, my heart, my soul.

“She’s been with me through my hardest times, my ups and my downs — she’s the strongest woman I know.”

The 191cm shooting guard’s focus on family was one of the decisive factors in his decision to sign with United — specifically chief executive Nick Truelson’s promise of dinner with his teenagers.

“Family is always top priority for me and that’s why I chose Melbourne … me and Nick talked about his kids being excited for me to come over there and to visit their place for dinner,” he said.

“Nick and head coach Dean (Vickerman), I trusted in them, how they wanted to build, how the team is formulated — they have championship aspirations and I’m a winner and that’s what I plan to come over there and do.

“The big picture is always for me to get back to the states to be with my family and be in the NBA, but my goal right now is to take it day by day and I’m privileged to be put in this position to just do what I do as a basketball player.

“I feel like where you’re comfortable, that’s where you perform your best and I just feel a level of comfort coming to Melbourne.”

The 24-year-old’s signature is another tick for United on the back of big man Isaac Humphries’ arrival, softening the triple blow of the departures of Jack White, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr and Matthew Dellavedova. They can still sign two more imports and a local, with a war chest of cash to do it, given Dellavedova was among the league’s highest-paid players.

The Charlotte native’s interest in the NBL was sparked by the sublime performances of NBL22 MVP Jaylen Adams, who he teamed with at the Wisconsin Herd two years ago.

“We had the best G League record, turned the worst team into the best team and that was my guy, that was my PG (point guard),” Tucker, who boasts gaudy G League career averages of 21.3 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 assists, said.

“We definitely did numbers together and I was excited to see what he did over there (in Sydney) and how much he enjoyed himself. He’s one of my guys so it was hard not to follow suit.”

The elite athlete wants to emulate the championship success Adams had in Sydney, but has his sights set on a different league award.

“The only difference I can say about me and Jaylen is that instead of MVP, I’d rather shoot for defensive player of the year, that’s my goal,” he said.

“I feel like defence wins championships, offence wins games, and I pride myself on defence.”

It will be his first time outside of the US, but Tucker says he’s done his research: “I’ve heard nothing but good things about Melbourne — I talked to one of my other female friends who lived in Sydney and she said all her friends that were from Sydney said Melbourne was the place to be.”

Asked what United fans can expect, the maturity gives way to the showman and a boyish charm.

“The intensity, the excitement, you get the love, the dancing, you get a little bit of everything from me,” he said.

“I bring great energy, I bring a winning aspect, I bring the fun aspect to the game where we are exciting to watch, so just be prepared for anything.

“I’m excited to interact with the fans.

“I get things done and that’s what I plan to do when I come to Melbourne — get a championship done.”

Delly seizes on NBA return

—Matt Hickey

Boomers star Matthew Dellavedova is returning to the NBA after signing with the Sacramento Kings.

The team announced the move on Saturday morning (AEST), and according to Michael Scotto from HoopsHype it is a one-year, partially guaranteed deal.

Dellavedova most recently played for Melbourne United in the NBL, but will now reunite with his first NBA head coach, Mike Brown.

“I’ve loved every minute of my time with Melbourne United,” Dellavedova told Melbourne United’s website.

“Playing for Melbourne in front of family and friends has been awesome. My first year with the club was filled with so many great moments and was one of my most enjoyable years playing basketball, with the group of boys we had.”

Sacramento’s front office will be hoping Dellavedova’s leadership can help turn the team’s fortunes after they finished last season with a 30-52 record, missing the playoffs for a record-breaking 16th straight season. Former head coach Luke Walton was fired during the season, with Alvin Gentry hired to replace him on an interim basis. Mike Brown was hired as full-time head coach during the off-season.

Dellavedova is expected to provide veteran support for young guards De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.

The announcement comes as another off-season blow for Melbourne United, who have also lost Jack White and 2021-22 MVP candidate Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

Despite the loss, United coach Dean Vickerman expressed his joy about the news.

“Melbourne United couldn’t be more excited for Delly. His aim was always to come back to Australia, work on his body and his game, in order to then try and get back to the NBA,” he said.

“To have helped him achieve that goal is fantastic. We’re incredibly excited for him to be back in the NBA and we wish him all the best.”

.

Ili signs on for two more

The NBL’s Best Sixth Man — and most underrated as voted by his peers — has inked a two-year extension with Melbourne United.

Kiwi tyro Shea Ili will bring his dogged brand of defence and ever-improving offence to John Cain Arena until at least the end of 2025.

Ili said United was a home away from home, given his large family back in New Zealand.

“We’ve found a home base here in Melbourne after leaving New Zealand,” Ili said.

“We can see ourselves being here for a long time.

“We love the club, being a part of the boys, it’s a great group, and a great environment to be around.”

It is especially good news for United, given the uncertainty over Matthew Dellavedova’s return, as he vies for an NBA rebirth.

Ili’s improved game gave him broader opportunities in NBL22 and he said United coach Dean Vickerman’s faith was key in his decision to extend.

“To be surrounded by a staff that has faith in me to play my game is massive,” Ili, who was voted the leagues most underrated player in News Corp’s exclusive player poll, said.

“Deano and all the coaches know my game and give me the freedom to do what I need to do within our system to help us win.

“Having that freedom is something every player wants, so it’s the perfect environment for me to play within.”

Vickerman hailed Ili’s progression — the 29-year-old Tall Black has become one of his most reliable weapons on both ends of the floor.

“He’s a lead by example guy … selfless in the way that he plays, diving on loose balls, providing amazing ball pressure, but we’ve seen major growth in his leadership and as a scorer,” Vickerman said.

“He’s an integral part of our program moving forward.”

After United was shocked by Tasmania in the semi finals, Ili says there is a hunger to atone in NBL23.

“The motivation is always there, but there’s definitely a sense of unfinished business,” he said.

“We all felt like we had the team to go all the way this season, so while it didn’t go our way, we’re hungry to get back out on the court and compete for a championship.”

United secure Lual-Acuil Jr replacement

—Matt Logue

Melbourne United has signed former NBL Rookie of the Year and ex-NBA big man Isaac Humphries for the NBL23 season.

Humphries, who played five NBA games for the Atlanta Hawks in 2018/2019, is the perfect replacement for departed centre Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

The 24-year-old has spent the past two years battling injuries, but he insists he is fit, firing and ready to rejuvenate his promising career.

Humphries declared he is now in the best shape of his career, and is “literally flipping and excitement” at the prospects of returning to the hardwood for a powerhouse club like United.

“When the talks started to potentially join United, I was over the moon because their reputation speaks for itself,” Humphries said.

“The coaching staff, the players, the organisation, the fans, the city, everything sort of speaks for itself.

“I’m healthy and ready to play. There’s no reason fans can’t expect really strong basketball from me.

“I think everybody is going to see when I hit the court that my game has evolved and improved.

“I want to come out and prove a lot this year after the past couple of seasons, so to know I’ll have the support from the fans means a lot.”

Hailing from Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, Humphries had a stellar junior basketball career that eventually landed him at the University of Kentucky, one of the USA’s most renowned basketball colleges.

Following two years with the Kentucky Wildcats, Humphries turned pro, playing with the Sydney Kings before making his way back to America, where he would enjoy stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic in the NBA.

The big man has displayed his skill prior to his past injury woes, looking like an MVP candidate over his first 11 games of the NBL21 season, averaging 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game.

An elite post player and shot blocker, Humphries will help United anchor its elite defence, while providing a go-to scoring option inside the arc.

United coach Dean Vickerman says the 210cm giant will go a long way in helping Melbourne contend for another NBL championship.

“Isaac is a great player who we know can have a huge impact on the game at both ends of the floor.“ Vickerman said.

“He is someone that can score around the hoop well, and whose defensive IQ will mesh perfectly with what we want to do at United.

“After spending some time with him in America, we’re confident that we’re bringing in the best, most healthy version of Isaac that the league has ever seen.”

Kings link has Bogut convinced Delly will get NBA deal

—Matt Logue

Melbourne United remain hopeful marquee man Matthew Dellavedova will return for his second NBL season, but have contingency plans in place should the veteran guard secure an NBA contract.

Dellavedova, who won an NBA championship with Cleveland in 2016, has spent the off-season training with the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.

He has impressed the Kings and hasn’t given up hope of returning to the NBA, where he debuted in 2013 and played 499 games before signing with United last year.

Retired Boomers big man Andrew Bogut is tipping Dellavedova to secure a contract with Sacramento.

“Delly was with Mike Brown (Kings coach) at Cleveland, and I have a feeling that they might bring him in,” Bogut said about his ex-Australian teammate on his Rogue Bogues podcast.

“It would not surprise me.

“The Kings need someone who is a pro every day.

“Harrison Barnes is that guy as well, but it will help to have another guy like that in their locker room with a young team.”

Dellavedova’s potential deal with Sacramento has left Melbourne United on hold until a decision is made about the guard’s future.

Watch Every Game of the The 2022 NBA Conference Finals & The Finals with ESPN on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

United CEO Nick Truelson says the uncertainty isn’t easy, but the club is prepared to be patient.

“Because it will give us the best opportunity to get the roster that we need,” Truelson said.

“We’ve got a few models going: one with Delly here and one with him not here and then what does that look like.

“It depends on what their (Sacramento) needs are. Delly is up against a few other guys, but he would offer a lot as an older guy with a lot of NBA experience.

“Our feedback was that Delly had a really productive three or four days with Sacramento, but like everyone we are all in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment.

“Once we know with Delly, it will give us a clearer direction on the type of players we can go after as well.”

United’s roster for the 2022-2023 season remains uncertain, with a cast of players fielding attention from overseas clubs.

Forward Jack White is NBA bound after signing a two-way contract at the Denver Nuggets while big man Jo Lual-Acuil Jr has left the club, signing in China while pursuing his own NBA dream.

Losing players can be difficult, but Truelson can see the bigger picture from a development perspective.

“We want to be that destination club,” he said.

“Whether you are a local player or an overseas player, we want them to see us as a way of making it back to the NBA.”

On the recruitment front, United has been linked to Adelaide 36ers big man Isaac Humphries as a replacement for Lual-Acuil Jr.

In other news, United has announced the return of its open-air game to John Cain Arena, following a two-year hiatus due to Covid.

United will take on the Cairns Taipans on Friday, December 23 from 7.30pm.

Since the first open-air game was played in 2015, the event has become a regular highlight in the NBL calendar.

The event includes a spectacular pre-game show where fans watch the John Cain Arena roof open, and then enjoy an NBL match played under setting sun and the stars.

Truelson couldn’t be prouder to host the only in-season professional basketball game in the world played with an open roof.

“At United, we are always putting the fan experience at the centre of everything we do,” he said.

“We focus on pushing the boundaries and aim to be the best in everything we do, particularly when it comes to providing the best live sporting experience in Australia.

“After a few years without the open-air Game, we can’t wait for the game’s return this season.”

The full 2022-23 NBL season schedule will be announced on Monday, July 25.

Hard work more than luck, key to White’s NBA dream

—Michael Randall

Jack White believes he is lucky to be getting an NBA Summer League chance with the Denver Nuggets.

But luck is only a small element. The 24-year-old has worked tirelessly to recover and thrive after a ruptured Achilles, that can rob hoopers of their athleticism, threatened his career.

It’s a little over a year since the 24-year-old faced that long hard road back from surgery but, after an impressive season with Melbourne United that resulted in a three-year contract extension, coupled with a Boomers call up and now a chance to impress an NBA team, White says he’s “living the dream”.

“My agent called me up and said ‘you’re going to Summer League’,” White told News Corp.

“I was like ‘that’s crazy’, I couldn’t believe it.

“I view Denver as such a high level organisation, obviously seeing what they’ve done with (two-time MVP) Nikola Jokic (Serbia) and international guys like (Canadian) Jamal Murray going to them, you’ve seen guys develop.

“They made me feel wanted and valued by their organisation and I’m just super excited to have that opportunity and take a step in the right direction of living out a lifelong dream.”

White will make his Boomers debut later this month in three FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Japan and China — and then get straight on a plane for Summer League.

“The Nuggets were supportive of me and they knew what it means to me to represent my country,” he said.

“They were excited for me to have that opportunity and happy that I was able to do both.”

The 200cm forward, who possesses NBA athleticism with the physicality that is a trademark of Aussie ballers, says he’ll go to Denver with an open mind, keen to learn more about his own game and what it takes to play at the highest level.

“It’s such an incredible opportunity and experience I’ve got coming up so I really just want to soak it all in and enjoy it,” he said.

“If I go in with that mindset I’ll be able to really get the best out of myself and not have any regrets once I’m done.

“It’ll be a chance to see where I’m at and what they (the Nuggets) think of me and my potential to make an impact at that level.

“I’ll find out if there are things I need to work on coming back here — if they think that’s a good idea — or if there’s a two way opportunity available.

“I’m not trying to put too many expectations on it. I’ll just play hard and try to go about things the right way and trust in that that I’ll see some rewards at the end of it.”

Lure of Delly irresistible for United’s new speed demon

—Michael Randall

Melbourne United has boosted its youth brigade with the addition of teenage guard Joshua Duach.

The lure of honing his craft under Aussie great Matthew Dellavedova was irresistible for the 19-year-old, who has signed a one-year deal as a development player.

United will have the option to upgrade him to a full roster spot in NBL24.

“It’s crazy to think I’m going to be teammates with an NBA champion like Matthew Dellavedova,” Duach said.

“The entire team, I know I’m just going to learn so much from them, guys like Jack White, Chris Goulding, Shea Ili, I couldn’t think of a better place for me to be.”

The 19-year-old Kilsyth junior, who played US college ball at Iona under legendary coach Rick Pitino, impressed United coaches in tryouts at the club’s Hoop City home base.

“My first pro contract and it’s at home where I grew up,” he said.

“Once I got the call that Melbourne United were interested, the decision was a no-brainer for me.

“I’m at Hoop City all the time, and I just can’t wait to join the group and get started.

“I feel comfortable here already.”

Coach Dean Vickerman called the 200cm combo guard “special”.

“To have that year with (Pitino) really gave him a skill package and a mentality to be ready to be a pro,” Vickerman said.

“His speed with the ball as a transition scorer is terrific, His ability to work the pick and roll and his three ball have both improved to a high level, but his elite skill is to be able to be so quick off the bounce, and then go to another level on that second dribble … there’s super speed there.”

Duach played alongside Dyson Daniels — who is tipped to go top-10 in Friday’s NBA Draft — in the silver-medal-winning Victorian side at the Australian U20 Basketball Championships.

JLA says farewell to Melbourne United

—Michael Randall

NBL22 MVP finalist Jo Lual-Acuil Jr is leaving Melbourne United.

The 28-year-old’s exponential improvement over three seasons with the club has put overseas offers on the table simply too good to refuse for the South Sudanese-born star centre.

While his destination remains a closely-guarded secret, Chinese club Nanjing Tongxi Monkey Kings have reportedly been in talks with the 211cm centre.

It leaves United with big holes to fill, with the club having spoken with a number of quality Australian bigs to deploy as help — and alongside — vastly improved German Next Star Ariel Hukporti.

United has inquired with Boomer and Illawarra Hawk Duop Reath, but he projects to the NBA, while the club is understood to have been in contact with forgotten Adelaide 36ers’ big man Isaac Humphries.

Humphries, through injury, missed all but six games last season and, with the Sixers signing big money imports Antonius Cleveland and Robert Franks, the 24-year-old is searching for a new home.

The 211cm Humphries, if his recent social media posts are anything to go by, is looking healthy and fit, with one ridiculous Insta video showing him performing an athletic running backflip — and wondering out loud if it’s a Guinness World Record.

Another forgotten man, former Charlotte Hornet Mangok Mathiang also has close ties to United — he’s practised with the team, plays in weekly scrimmages at Hoops City and has resurrected his career in NBL1 following two years on the sidelined due to a horror leg break.

Despite reports to the contrary, the club has not spoken with former Sacramento King Skal Labissiere

Lual-Acuil Jr is the definition of betting on yourself.

He was the last man added to Melbourne’s roster three years ago, played behind Jock Landale in NBL21 and made the ballsy decision to knock back the security of a long-term contract at United to sign a prove-it deal for NBL22.

“Super proud,” United coach Dean Vickerman said.

“He backed himself last year in just signing a one-year deal and believed that he was going to get to a level that he could be at a different pay scale.

“His goals are still to absolutely be in the NBA and I look forward to, if everything goes right, seeing him play at Summer League and looking at his NBA opportunities.”

Vickerman revealed Lual-Acuil Jr played an instrumental role in recruiting, connecting with United’s newest signing Makuach Maluach.

“I think he’ll still mentor from afar not being here,” Vickerman said.

Lual-Acuil Jr confirmed he would always be drawn to United.

“I’ve loved every minute of my time at Melbourne United,” Lual-Acuil Jr said.

“Hopefully I get the opportunity to run it back here later in my career.

Melbourne United inks viral dunk monster

—Michael Randall

The viral footage of his incredible NBL1 dunk put his name on the map, but it is another video of new Melbourne United signing Makuach Maluach that gives an insight into the quality human he is.

Maluach, last month, set the basketball world alight when he skied for a most-remarkable fast break dunk for the Darwin Salties, underlining why United has had its eye on the 24-year-old since his time at the University of New Mexico.

Maluach’s graduation speech after four years with the Lobos reveals why he was so-coveted by coach Dean Vickerman.

In it, the young man emphasised the values of education, family and time management, revealing he ditched the vice of video games that is a staple for so many NBA players.

“Basketball has been the catalyst for so many opportunities so you may think some of my greatest achievements came on the basketball court, but that’s not the case,” Maluach said in his speech.

“My greatest achievement is telling my mum that I’m a college graduate (business administration).

“As I matured, I learned to spend my time and energy on things that are important instead of things that didn’t add to my growth as a man — like playing video games all night.

“My family’s support has kept me grounded and focused on chasing my dreams and goals.”

Of Sudanese descent, Maluach migrated from Uganda with his mother, brothers and cousins at the age of 10, settling in Sydney.

“The last five years, I’ve probably spent three months with my family,” he said.

“The last two-three years I haven’t really seen them because of Covid and I went straight from America to Europe.

“Being back home is huge, I’ve always wanted to play in the NBL and I will get to see my family more.”

United is getting a 196cm uber athlete and a competitor at the guard position who is a second-year pro after he most recently averaged 13.6 points and 5 rebounds for Kouvot in the Finnish Korisliiga.

“Makuach is someone we certainly looked at last year coming out of college. We thought he handled himself really well last season in Finland for the first year of his pro career and elevated his team to the playoffs,” Vickerman said.

“He’s an amazing athlete, great rebounder, really potent in transition and his three-ball is getting to a really high level so we see him giving us a real scoring punch this season.”

Maluach, who signed a one-year deal with United, believes he can surprise in his first season in the NBL.

“My mindset is no one really knows much about me, I’m just starting from the ground up, my job is just to come in, compete and go from there,” he said.

“I’m just excited to be home and play for a club like Melbourne United.”

About THAT dunk, which was viewed more than 500,000 times on social media — Maluach had no idea how big it would become.

“When I got the ball, I didn’t really think much, I looked up and there was a lot of space and once I crossed half court, I decided to take off,’ he said.

“Once I rewatched it. That’s when I realised. I didn’t think much of it until after the game.”

***Meanwhile, Melbourne United has agreed to terms with veteran Brad Newley. The 37-year-old has signed a one-year deal after United finished on top of the NBL table, but was shocked by the expansion Tasmania JackJumpers in the semi finals. The former Boomer was United’s Mr Fix-It, filling a variety of roles off the bench for Dean Vickerman’s side. He averaged 4 points and 2.65 rebounds.

Originally published as NBL free agency: Melbourne United signs American Jordan Caroline, making it three imports in three days

NBL free agency news: Melbourne United sign three imports in three days, Jordan Caroline, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Rayjon Tucker Source link NBL free agency news: Melbourne United sign three imports in three days, Jordan Caroline, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Rayjon Tucker

Back to top button