Basketball: Kenny enjoying his time in the sun

By Mike Lacey

Jarrod Kenny playing for the Perth Wildcats. Photo / Getty Images
Jarrod Kenny playing for the Perth Wildcats. Photo / Getty Images

Twelve months ago Jarrod Kenny was trudging through snow and ice to get to training, now he has to ensure his car air conditioning is in good working order. At the time Kenny was playing in the German B League for Licher Baeren and now he is a key figure as the Perth Wildcats chase a record seventh Australian NBL title.

It was an experience the Tall Blacks point guard really enjoyed. "Yeah to think a year ago that I was in a German winter travelling to games and trainings through the snow seems a long time ago. It's completely different to what I'm experiencing now in Perth in the middle of a 40?C heat wave. I met some great people in Germany, it was definitely an experience and one I'm glad I had."

A product of the Westlake Boys High School 'basketball factory', the 30-year-old had been striving to break into the Australian League for a number of years but despite a couple of seasons in the extended Breakers squad an opportunity had not arisen.

An impressive 2015 international campaign with the Tall Blacks, including fine performances against the Australian Boomers, brought Kenny to the attention of Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson who also happened to be an assistant with the Boomers.

His time with the Breakers and Tall Blacks had stood him in good stead.

"I have no real regrets about not getting a contract with the Breakers, obviously I would have liked to have been offered one. I'm just glad to finally get an opportunity in the NBL and prove to myself that I'm good enough to compete in this league", he said.

Kenny is enjoying being part of a Perth team that has just made the NBL play-offs for an amazing 30th consecutive season and will contest a semifinal series with Illawarra Hawks beginning this week.

He is also relishing training alongside Australian international Damien Martin.
"Training with and against Damo is great for my game. To go up against a five time NBL Defensive Player of the Year every day gives you confidence that if you can play your role and be effective at training against him then you can go against anyone in the league."

Playing almost 20 minutes a game Kenny has played a key role for the Wildcats particularly when Martin has been absent injured. Although only averaging 2.3 points and 1.4 assists per game it is his court leadership and game knowledge that has impressed Gleeson.

"He's been magnificent, he's one of the best. I wish I had have known about him last year, as I would have brought him in last year he's been great he's hard working, he's team first mentality" Gleeson enthused following Perth's last visit to Auckland.

Kenny is optimistic his one year contract will be extended. "Hopefully we'll be back here next year. We've loved it over here. The Wildcats are a great organisation and a great bunch of people. Plus the beaches and warm weather aren't too bad either."

If Perth don't require Kenny next season he is certain to be getting offers from other clubs. Things are looking rosy for the late bloomer.

- NZ Herald

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