Last year, Harry Froling bagged the NBL 2018/19 Rookie of the Year award. He spearheaded what was regarded as one of the deepest classes ever assembled, with the likes of Emmett Naar, Jack McVeigh and Tom Wilson in the race.
This year? The NBL has never seen an international assembly of rookies like this. The Next Stars program has allowed NBA lottery talents like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton to display their talents against grown men.
NBA scouts went all the way across to Australia just to get a sight of what they had to display at the NBL Blitz in Tasmania.
There has been one name which has been talked about so highly:
Kouat Noi – Cairns Taipans
After seeing Noi put on a tremendous performance against the Sydney Kings, there will be plenty for Australians to support the Taipan’s young gun.
The forward was lively and dazzled on Friday night, and ended with a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) in a competitive fixture that eventually saw the Kings with the W.
Noi is undoubtedly coming in on a mission. He spoke with the NBL earlier this season, sharing his thoughts on clinching the Rookie of the Year award.
“I really think I’m the best rookie ever since Joe Ingles made his debut,” Noi stated.
Just before his signing in the NBL, the 6’7 former TCU small forward revealed his decision to turn pro in April. After scoring an average of 13.7 PPG, Noi opted for the NBA draft. Later on, he would withdraw after working out for various teams.
Penning his signature for the Taipans gave him the chance to work for a team that was poor under first-year coach Mike Kelly last season, and the NBL Blitz offered Noi the chance to start. Averaging nearly 25 MPG, Noi tipped in 13.5 PPG and brought down 7 RPG across their two outings.