‘We’re watching an NBA player being created’
South East Melbourne Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell reckons the bittersweet pain of watching Will Magnay bury his NBL team will be shortlived.
In his mind, the Brisbane Bullet's shot-blocking ferocity will be temporary and it should be enjoyed by basketball fans before the 21-year-old is lost to the NBA.
"From a basketball purist standpoint, it's beautiful to watch his growth," Mitchell said after Magnay's seven blocked shots helped the Bullets to a 108-101 win at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.
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"His impact on games continues on a weekly basis. We're watching an NBA player being created.
"He's one of the most promising young Australian players I've seen."
Mitchell joined a line of NBL historians to liken Magnay to the league's all-time leading shot blocker Simon Dwight.
His seven blocks against the Phoenix - four of which landed in the face of Mitch Creek - made it the first time a Brisbane player has notched six or more in consecutive games.
Magnay's 19 points, six rebounds and a clever assist to Jason Cadee in the last quarter were further evidence of the power forward's exciting quality.
"But I think he's just scratching the surface in the levels he's going to go to," Mitchell said.
All the fuss and speculation about whether he will continue in the NBL next season is yet to affect the Nudgee College old boy.
He said the licence given to him by coaches and teammates to make errors had helped his confidence NBA scouts are monitoring the former University of Tulsa player, and Bullets owner Kevin Martin has said the club would not stand in the way of his ambition to return to the US.
Bullets teammate Lamar Patterson played 44 games for the Atlanta Hawks and insists Magnay has the maturity prioritise team success over personal ambition.
"He's a beast," Patterson said.
"I don't think it stresses him out worrying about next year.
"There's no reason to stress about the future. I tell him he's got the talent but right now it's about trying to win. He's definitely on board with that."
Brisbane's 12th win of the season lifted the side into the top four, a position they aim to defend starting on Saturday in Adelaide.