WARRNAMBOOL export Nicole Hunt wants to learn from Australian basketball champion and new Canberra Capitals teammate Lauren Jackson this WNBL season.
Hunt, 23, said Jackson would miss the Capitals’ season-opener against Sydney University Flames tomorrow night but was confident the four-time Olympian would be available for round two.
Jackson’s Seattle Storm bowed out of the WNBA play-offs on Wednesday, losing game three of its semi-final series to Minnesota Lynx.
“It will be very exciting (having her) and I am nervous about it,” Hunt said.
“It will be exciting for everyone in the team to have her back.
“There is no doubt she’ll attract people to games.”
Hunt, entering her third season with the Capitals, said she had only played against Jackson once.
“Leadership as a point guard (is important), you are constantly learning,” she said.
“I will learn a lot from Lauren. Even though she doesn’t play my position, she’s played with the best point guards from around the world.
“Last year I worked on my three-point shots and I have a focus on that again.”
Hunt said the standard of the WNBL was reflected in the number of Olympic players signing up, with eight of the Opals’ bronze medal-winning 12-person roster playing this season.
“The European season is gruelling and coming off an Olympic campaign, they’d much rather play a season in the Australian summer than European winter,” she said.
Hunt had six months off the sport, opting not to play SEABL in the WNBL off-season.
“I am refreshed,” she said.
“It was good to have a break. I hadn’t really had one since I went to the AIS in 2006.”
The 2007-08 WNBL rookie of the year said Canberra was desperate to make finals after finishing eighth last season. She said strong starts were important.
Hunt averaged 11 points and 3.8 assists per game last season.
“We’ve had a full-on month of pre-season training and four pre-season games, so that’s more than the past,” she said. “Last year we had one practice game in Sydney and played the boys in Canberra and this year we had a pre-season tournament where all the WNBL teams were.” Hunt, who hopes to visit Warrnambool at Christmas, said she was happy playing at WNBL level for now.
“I aspire in the future to maybe play in Europe, but as a basketballer you don’t really hit your peak for another four years for me,” she said.