Canberra Capitals' Nicole Hunt is up there with the best point guards, Lauren Jackson says. Photo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Jackson has played with some of the game's great point guards, but she believes Canberra Capitals star Nicole Hunt deserves to be mentioned with the best of them.
The biggest name in Australian basketball heaped praise yesterday on the diminutive Hunt, who has enjoyed a sizzling start to the season.
At 167 centimetres, Hunt is the smallest player on Canberra's squad, but Jackson has been impressed by her ability to stand tall in her absence.
The 24-year-old has scored 36 points in her past two games, helping the Capitals to nail-biting home wins over Bulleen and Logan.
Jackson has suited up with the likes of Sue Bird, Kristi Harrower and Erin Phillips, but she insists Hunt is capable of eventually joining the top echelon of point guards.
''Flea's playing amazing basketball at the moment. She's been a great surprise, I did not realise she was that good,'' Jackson said. ''For someone her size, and Jess [Bibby] is the same, they're quite little guards and their ability to score is beyond what I've seen from people their size.
''I think Flea's up there with some of the best point guards I've played with.''
Harrower, 37, was Australia's starting point guard at the London Olympics, and Jackson said it was imperative young players including Hunt took the next step.
She insisted Hunt wouldn't look out of place in the green and gold, but faced stiff competition from Kathleen MacLeod, Samantha Richards and Phillips, who recently won a WNBA championship with Indiana.
''We need some point guards coming through, and she'd definitely be on the list,'' Jackson said.
High praise indeed, but Hunt insists she has some way to go before she earns elite status.
''I think I'm building, I don't know if you'd put me up there yet,'' she said.
''Every week is a challenge for me. Most of the other [WNBL] point guards have made Olympic teams, world championship teams or are in [Opals] squads. Graffy [Capitals coach Carrie Graf] has been on me to be more aggressive and look for scoring options when I can, so it's good to have it open up a bit and hit a few shots.'' Jon Tuxworth