Alex Toohey believes the challenges he's faced in NBL24 will help set him up for a long, successful basketball career.

23 Feb
Dan Woods for

It’s do-or-die for the Sydney Kings in Wednesday’s Play-In Qualifier on Wednesday night. A victory means the continuation of a season that has shown intermittent spurts of championship potential, but a loss will leave this talented group of players to lament what might have been.

Alex Toohey has been a near-constant in the Kings’ starting lineup in NBL24, however he was moved to the bench for a stretch in the middle of the season, and again in Round 19.

Toohey’s early-season form led to discussions of his NBA Draft readiness, and although he hasn’t quite reached the lofty heights of the early-season in the Finals run-in, he’s showed flashes of the multi-level offensive weapon and defensive presence that has set tongues wagging.

He says despite enduring a tough stretch in the latter part of NBL24, he’s conscious that rising above his current challenges will only help him in the long run.

“I started well in the season and dropped a little bit but hopefully it’s picking up towards the end,” Toohey told SEN.

“I think getting into that professional environment and going through those struggles in my first season is definitely going to help me, and competing in a league that’s at a higher level than college, even though I might be struggling now, that’s going to prepare me for hopefully a long and successful professional career.

“I think my biggest learning curve would probably be the physicality and the speed of the game, it’s obviously a different level from the juniors and high school games I was used to before, just learning you can’t get away with certain things against these bigger bodies and it’s going to expose some areas of your game you might not have been working on at the lower levels, but now everything’s going to be exposed.

“I think where I’m at now I’m definitely holding my own, but in my future as a professional I definitely want to make sure I’m one of those guys that’s more of a physical force and making other guys have to step up to my level.”

Toohey looms as one of a number of key pieces for the Kings in Wednesday’s clash, alongside the likes of import trio DJ Hogg, Jaylen Adams and Denzel Valentine, and centre Jordan Hunter – who is currently preparing to face Indonesia for the Boomers.

Sydney registered the biggest win in the history of the NBL’s 40-minute era to consolidate their position in the post-season, when they defeated an injury-riddled South East Melbourne by 55 points in Round 20.

However for every big win the club has registered, there have been just as many surprise defeats against competition strugglers.

Toohey says there’s an awareness around the competition that peak Sydney basketball can beat anyone, his team just has to find it.

“I think everyone in the league knows how good we can be if we’re playing at our best, but I think how we’re going to get to our best for 40 minutes is the question we’re trying to figure out. Hopefully we figure it out this week and put together a good game,” he said.

“The season hasn’t gone as pitch perfect as we’d like it but everything restarts now. Every team is win or go home, pretty much, so everyone’s just fighting for their spot so we can be a different team to how we finished the season, or we could be the same team. We’re going to have to find out on Wednesday.”

Sydney’s Play-In Qualifier against New Zealand is set to tip off at 7:30pm AEDT, live on ESPN via Kayo.

Nobull 1920x250 (1)

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.