Alex Toohey has cited the opportunity to work with a pair of NBA legends as a key reason behind his decision to sign with the Kings

27 Jun
By Dan Woods

The world of basketball is changing, and the NBL Next Stars program is proof of that.

Sydney has secured its NBL24 Next Star in the form of highly rated local talent Alex Toohey, making the young forward has become the third player to decommit from college basketball to ply their trade in the NBL next season – along with fellow Next Stars Bobi Klintman and AJ Johnson.

Toohey has long been a star of the emerging Australian basketball scene, and has previously been described as “one of the most promising international prospects” heading into next season by ESPN.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Another One ?<br><br>The <a href="">@SydneyKings</a> have secured the signature of top Aussie prospect Alex Toohey as a Next Star for <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBL24</a>?<br><br>Read more: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NBL (@NBL) <a href="">June 23, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The 19-year-old forward says it was the people in place at the Kings who helped sway his decision to the NBL.

“I reflected and just thought the Next Stars program and being a part of the Sydney Kings would be best for my development,” Toohey said.

“Having players in the team who have been to where I’m trying to get [to], and having staff and administration like Luc Longley and Andrew Bogut who can mentor me and help me get to where I’m trying to go.

“College is a great path, but it’s each individual to their own,” Kings CEO Chris Pongrass added. “Alex has made a choice of what’s best for his long-term career and we feel it’s best for us.

“To be the next Australian Next Star to follow on from Josh Giddey – look at where he is now … if we can put Alex on a similar pathway and journey to that, that’s the success story you want to live by.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Mark 11am Friday, July 7, in your calendars Kings fans, as that&#39;s when you&#39;ll be able to purchase your tickets to the club&#39;s exciting Christmas night fixture ?<br><br>Read how to secure your ticket to the Kings&#39; game with the <a href="">@illawarrahawks</a> here: <a href=""></a><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WeTheKings</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Sydney Kings (@SydneyKings) <a href="">June 28, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Sydney’s recruitment of Toohey came seemingly out of the blue for NBL fans, but Pongrass maintains the side had been in contact with the Centre of Excellence star for the past few months.

Toohey has already represented Australia at senior level, having played for the Boomers in World Cup qualifying, and has played five times against international opposition.

The Kings’ signing of the 19-year-old means they have secured two high profile Boomers in recent weeks, Toohey, and former Philadelphia 76er Jonah Bolden.

“While it happened quickly it’s something we never stopped considering or thinking about,” Pongrass said of Toohey’s signing.

“It’s sliding doors and timing is everything.

“We announced a coach, and for Mahmoud to express how he likes to play and how it could work with Alex and his skillset and ambitions, and Mahmoud’s connections to the NBA, it just made sense.

“Timing is everything and it worked in our favour.”

“Mahmoud is a very energetic guy which I’m sure everyone is going to realise,” Toohey added. “I’ve been able to talk to him about how I like to play, how he likes to play, and how we’re going to go out there and play our own styles, but bring it together for Sydney and try and win as many games as we can.”

Sydney’s first game of NBL24 is set to come against local rivals Illawarra on Saturday, September 30.

1920x250 (2)

For early access and updates, stay up to date with the hottest young basketball talent in the world. Sign up below and never miss a play or the next big moment.

By signing up you agree to the NBL Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.