Kiwi Gardner has big dreams down under
The veteran point guard is tearing up the NBL1 competition, and he's got his sights set on the NBL this coming season.
Credit: Basketball Illawarra / Daniel Bennett
Pound for pound, Kiwi Gardner might be one of the best basketball players in the world. That may sound like hyperbole, but when you consider his 5’7 stature, you’d be hard-pressed to find many other players plying their trade professionally across the globe.
Not only is Gardner plying his trade, but he’s displaying an excellence in his craft unmatched by his peers. It cannot be understated just how dominant Gardner has been in the NBL1 competition since coming to Illawarra. Averaging 30.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.8 steals per game on 46.9% from the field, the pint-sized point guard has been arguably the best NBL1 player across all divisions of the competition this season, having an instrumental impact on his team’s third place standing on the NBL1 East ladder so far.
Gardner enters the league after a wide-spanning professional career thus far. Those who recognise the name would likely associate him to his viral videos as a high school player, where his high flying dunks, exhilarating handles and showmanship made him a household name amongst the mixtape generation.
“To be honest, at the time I didn’t really realize what was going on,” Gardner shared recently in an interview with The Pick and Roll. “I always try to be in the moment, so I didn’t really look at it from an outside perspective, but in retrospect, it was pretty cool, I was kind of one of the first guys to create a wave through social media and the internet, being like that YouTube sensation. As far as people knowing you and idolising you, appreciating your craft and being known around the country and even the world was really cool. It helped me prepare for my future because being on those different types of platforms helped generate buzz in different countries, which down the line kind of helped me get to some places.”
Whilst overwhelmingly appreciative for the support following the coverage, Gardner also noted that the exposure had its drawbacks in the way that he was perceived.
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