The former Australian Boomer has played around the world, but one thing he still fails – the NBL Championship.
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Two years ago he got close to the Sydney Kings, but it was marred by the dark cloud of the Covid crisis, which at the time we were still learning about.
Moving forward and now he is playing a small but significant role in a team that is currently sitting at the top of the NBL ladder and intends to win titles ahead.
He may be one of the league’s oldest players, but his rejuvenation dates back to signing a contract with United and intensive quarantine and then pre-season treatment with former club manager Nick Popovich.
“I mostly used the lock in Sydney to train personally with (Nick) to be ready to come and play well for these guys,” Newley said after his best performance in a United shirt – 15 points in a dominant win over Adelaide.
The task from (coach) Dean (Wickerman) was: “Can you guard the deuce (operational guard)?” Can you guard the trio (small forward)? ‘ I had to be prepared for that.
“It meant losing some weight and regaining my speed, and that’s probably what kept me in the game, the opportunity to defend (and) … just take care of my body.”
Newley has a rich basketball history with a number of United crews, including Captain Chris Goulding, Matthew Delovedov and David Barlow, and it helped light the fire under the 1992 Commonwealth Gold medalist.
“Just being around the guys I know and (of whom) grew up playing basketball is fun, and it’s almost like you play with your mates, not necessarily just with the guys who are here to do the job,” he said. .
“I’m going to meet some other guys – I like to hear their stories and where they came from – (and) just immerse myself in Melbourne’s team and culture.”
Newley made a name for himself as an explosive swingman with hops and arrogance in the NBL and on basketball trips to Greece, Turkey, Lithuania and Spain.
He had no illusions about what his role would be in the talent-laden United.
“I kind of knew what I was waiting for: it’s somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, it could be anything,” he said.
“I guess my role is to bring as much energy into the defense and try to turn it into an offensive on the other side.
“I don’t feel a lot of pressure to do things out of this world that I could have done 10 years ago, but from time to time I have moments that happen and they’re pretty cool.”
He had one of those cool moments against the Sixers when, along with Caleb Agada in the Covid minutes, he led United, scoring 15 points – including three from the depths – in a 27-point victory.
Expect it to be ready when the Illawarra Hawks arrive in town on Sunday.