Melbourne United’s highly-touted import DJ Kennedy is looking at the NBL Blitz in Ballarat as his first opportunity to settle in with the reigning champions as they work towards back-to-back titles.
He will be one of many basketball stars taking part in pre-season practice matches at the Minerdome on Saturday and Sunday.
As a versatile swingman, Kennedy has spent time in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers and competed in top European leagues including as the leading scorer of the German Bundesliga.
Having only spent two weeks in Australia with Melbourne United, Kennedy said he was looking forward to playing live games and building chemistry with his new teammates during the Blitz.
“We haven’t really had too many practices together,” he said. “I think (the focus) is just to continue to get better with my team and continue to get familiar and build chemistry, play hard.
“I mean it’s pre-season, of course you want to win, but you want to be able to get better as a group each game and just continue to build up to the start of the season.”
Kennedy described the Ballarat games as a good opportunity to get a feel for the NBL and opposition teams.
“This is my first time really seeing the Australian league and seeing the players, so I definitely think it will be good for me to see who I will be going up against and seeing the competition and how competitive the league is,” he said.
“It will be exciting... to see the fans and at least give them a show.”
The former Cavalier will return to the United States with his new teammates shortly after the Blitz for the NBL X NBA tour.
“It’s not too often you get a situation like this where you get to play against NBA teams and be able to go back,” Kennedy said.
Eight games featuring all eight teams twice across the weekend will treat Ballarat fans to the likes of NBA champion Andrew Bogut (Sydney Kings) and Australian Boomers such as Chris Goulding (Melbourne United) and former Miner Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers).