“When you’ve got the MVP trusting an 18-year-old kid ... that’s when you know something good is happening as a coach."

25 Jun

Bryce Cotton has always been the man to take the big shot. The player you can rely on in the clutch.

But in Round 2 against Adelaide, Cotton’s teammate Alex Sarr made an almighty statement ... he can be that player too.

With the Wildcats’ hopes in the balance, the four-time MVP showed incredible faith in the then 18-year-old Next Star. He handed him the ball in the clutch. Sarr delivered.

Getty Images 1720492821Sarr celebrates after scoring a three-point shot against Adelaide in Round 2 of NBL24.

“When you’ve got the MVP of the League trusting an 18-year-old kid in a big moment of the game, that’s when you know something good is happening as a coach, when the best player trusts that guy in the moment,” Perth Wildcats coach John Rillie said on the Alex Sarr 'Forever A Wildcat’ documentary.

“The thing that is really etched in my mind is our first game against Adelaide where he made back-to-back threes to really open up the game.

“He did his job in the fact that he stepped up and made the shots in a big moment, but it was Bryce Cotton that made those passes to Alex.”

Now, preparing for his next shot at the big time, with the NBA Draft just around the corner, Sarr says he’ll continue to back himself in.

“I feel like the confidence is taking them. I happened to make them. It gives me more confidence now going on, because you’re in those situations and know you can make those shots. It’s good to know,” Sarr said.

The French star took all before him in NBL24, becoming a major cog in Rillie's playing rotation.

He boasted averages of 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a game, and showed maturity beyond his years, both on and off the court.

It’s little wonder he’s so highly rated by NBA scouts.

“What I would say is that it didn’t matter who was in the gym or who wasn’t in the gym, because we had a lot of NBA people come through this year, his (Sarr's) demeanour and his approach did not change,” Rillie said.

With just days until the Draft, Sarr is still very much in the mix to be the first overall pick.

His ability to stretch the floor, protect the rim and defend, at 7’1, makes him a unique prospect for NBA teams.

Where he lands remains to be seen, but Sarr’s experience in the NBL and the Next Stars program can only hold him in good stead.

The NBA Draft will get underway at 10am AEST on Thursday morning, Australian time.

The Alex Sarr ‘Forever a Wildcat’ premiere will be shown at the Sporting Globe Belmont on Tuesday, June 25 from 7pm AWST.

Read the full story here >> The game Rillie knew Sarr was a special player

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