Prue eyeing third SBL championship
THE Lakeside Lightning dominated the 2013 men's SBL regular season with Jarrad Prue once again leading the way on the glass but he is fully aware that the Perth Redbacks are going to be no pushovers in the quarter-final series.
Prue has again averaged an incredible 20.4 rebounds a game this season to be the league's leading rebounder for an amazing eighth season, but what his focus is on is trying to get a third SBL championship to go with his successes with Lakeside in 2006 and 2009.
The Lightning have been the dominant team this season finishing five games clear on top of the standings with a 23-3 record and coming into the finals with a seven-game winning streak.
While Prue has been outstanding rebounding and Ben Beran has again led the way averaging 26.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game with Justin Cecil, Brad Jackson and Darrel Morgan scoring well, but Prue believes the key to Lakeside's strong form has been continuity with the playing group.
"What has been lucky for us this season is that we've had a lot of consistency in terms of our line-up," Prue said.
"Other teams have had injuries or imports coming in late or having to leave early for certain reasons, but we've been lucky that we've had consistency and that's helped with where we are standing. It all sort of means nothing now, but we are happy to have finished first."
While it is first against eighth in the quarter-final match-up, Prue knows that the Lightning face a big task against a Perth Redbacks team that includes Michael Vigor, Justin Brown, Joel Wagner, Jarrad Prior and Bennie Lewis who have all played in the NBL.
"They are an extremely tough team," he said.
"A few weeks ago it looked like they could be finishing second or third so they probably wouldn’t be happy with the last couple of weeks, but in reality they could have finished anywhere in the top-eight. They are well-coached and we know it's going to be an extremely tough finals series."
Despite being 31 years of age now, Prue is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down as the league's dominant rebounder and he continues to put his success down to the coaching of Andy Stewart.
"When I came to the club I had spent more time playing cricket as a youngster and that probably still shows in my jump shot. I didn’t really spend many hours as a youngster shooting, but Andy has turned me from an OK Division 1 player to a significant contributor at SBL level. What he's done for me has been huge," he said.
"I think it is simply a desire thing. Obviously I'm a bit undersized compared to a lot of the guys in the league so I know that in order for me to get the ball I am going to have to want it more, and if I want to stay on the court I have to rebound because I don’t do much else. I want to play so I have to get the ball."
Prue is also excited this year by the depth that the Lightning have with the likes of Tom Parkinson and Luke Tidy coming up behind the likes of himself and Beran.
"Tom Parkinson is training exceptionally well, has been playing well at Division 1 and when he's got a chance in the SBL he has been doing well," Prue said.
"Luke Tidy and Josh Newman are training with us and you can see the steady improvement in them as well over the last two years.
"Unfortunately for them there hasn’t been a huge amount of opportunities at SBL level I guess with myself and Ben playing significant minutes, but there's definitely that depth coming through with the young guys coming up through the club."
Article by Chris Pike