Kyle Adnam hoping SEABL success carries into NBL

There is no player more loveable than Kyle Adnam.

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The fanfare surrounding Adnam is indulging. Go to any United home game and you’ll see little kids walking around with ‘8. ADNAM’ uniforms on their back. This has followed to social media channels, with Adnam being dubbed ‘The People’s Champ.’

While he is thankful for the support, Adnam isn’t letting it block his focus.

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing, so thank you for that,” Adnam said of ‘The People’s Champ’ label.

“I’m trying to focus on me and play my game, focus on the team and improve. People getting around me and stuff like that, that’s great too and I appreciate the support.”

His small stature, thin build and slick blonde hair gives the fans someone to relate to. He isn’t the quickest, strongest or most athletic but don’t get it twisted – Adnam plays with a passion and relentlessness like no other. Starved off opportunities in Adelaide and Wollongong, Adnam finally proved himself at Melbourne last season, finishing off with a 16-point effort in United's final regular season game.

After coming off a successful SEABL season with the Kilsyth Cobras, where Adnam averaged 18.6 points, the guard is hoping to use those experiences to enhance his NBL development.

Photo Credit: Ian Knight/Militia Media

“In SEABL, you learn to be a go-to guy and learn to ride and die with your team,” Adnam told The Pick and Roll at United’s season launch.

“Putting that pressure on yourself at a young age is really good if you can handle it. That’s my goal, to be a starter in the NBL, play for the Boomers and go from there.

“You got to dream big, so that’ll definitely help me. Obviously the NBL is a lot quicker, a lot bigger bodies and everything like that, so I got to continue improving that side of my game, but I’m pretty confident.”

With the Cobras, Adnam had a game with 32 points, while scoring 20 points or more in a further five outings. He carried that form into the inaugural Australia Basketball Challenge, averaging 7.6 points and 3.3 assists. However, Adnam wasn’t short of highlights at the preseason tournament. He is looking to use the experiences at the ABC as momentum heading into Friday night’s season opener in New Zealand.

“Just to continue to do the things that I’ve done well,” Adnam said.

“Take things on board from all the older guys and coaches, what they’re trying to teach me. Keep learning, whilst still trying to be me and continue doing the things I do well and I should be ok.

“Most people would argue that game practice is the best practice. It was good to play with all the guys again; we’ve been playing preseason for a couple of months now.

“To have everyone on the court was really good, we were missing a few key guys but they’re both Olympians, so I think they’ll slot right in pretty easily.”

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Adnam couldn’t ask for better players to learn from than Cedric Jackson and Chris Goulding. The dynamic duo make for a backcourt pairing like we have never seen before in the NBL, with Jackson boasting championship and MVP experience, while Goulding was apart of the Boomers’ 2016 Olympic campaign. Adnam has already soaked up all the lessons he can glean from the pair right now, and is planning to do so even more in the future.

“They’ve been unbelievable,” Adnam said of Jackson and Goulding.

“Whether they’re talking to me or not, they help me a lot, whether it’s me playing against Chris or Ced or anything. And the big thing is they just teach you to be yourself.

“Obviously I’m not going to be Chris Goulding, I’m not going to be Cedric Jackson, even though they’re great players, I’m not going to be them. I got to try and pull things away from them, the good things, whilst still trying to be me and make my own path.”

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With Goulding and Jackson, United’s expectations have been raised. After a semi-final exit a season ago, anything less than a grand final berth would be a disappointment for Melbourne and Adnam is weary of this. He understands defeat can be used as motivation, but Adnam is also entering the season with a clear state of mind.

“You definitely use losses for motivation, you want to learn from every loss and also learn from the good times as well,” Adnam said.

“In saying that, it is a fresh slate, [a] fresh season, anything can happen. We are definitely going in motivated from last year but we are not going to let that define us.

“We have bigger aspirations.”

Things will be tougher for Melbourne this season, though, with the NBL having an infusion of talent unlike no other. The league is filled with players that have NBA and Olympic experience, European champions, or even future NBA draft picks, and Adnam is eager to go against the best.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Adnam said of this year’s league.

“I love a challenge and always usually go in the underdog, so I can’t wait to get going and play against the rest of the league. It’s going to be a pretty exciting year.”

Adnam might not be seeing heavy minutes in Melbourne this season, but if his energetic demeanour is anything to go by, there's no doubt he plans to unleash every ounce of energy and make a difference.

All while doing it for the people.