United import makes immediate NBL impact

Dec 28, 2017 - 6:34 AM Carrick Felix has made an immediate impression during his first training session with Melbourne United as they prepare for their NBL clash with the Sydney Kings.

Signed as an injury replacement for Casey Prather (dislocated elbow), the former NBA player worked out with his new teammates and is expected to make his NBL debut against the Kings in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

Coach Dean Vickerman liked what he saw from the 198cm swingman, who played alongside LeBron James and Aussie star Matthew Dellavedova after being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 33rd overall pick in 2013.

Felix also spent time with the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards before signing with United.

"Our first impressions are everything you would hope for," Vickerman said after Felix's first appearance at the club since arriving in Australia.

"He came in and spoke to the group this morning and talked about his journey in basketball so far and his first impressions of Australia.

"And then we see a guy who was still out there shooting one hour after practice and jumped in on some one-on-ones."

Felix displayed his competitiveness by making a steal on his first defensive possession during the one-on-one drills.

United will practise again on Friday before flying to Sydney as they aim to extend their five-game winning streak.

The depth of talent on Melbourne's roster has kept them in touch with leaders New Zealand and Perth, and Vickerman is full of praise for reserves David Barlow and Craig Moller, who filled in admirably for Prather at small forward during United's recent surge.

Sydney is coming off a morale-boosting win over Brisbane but coach Andrew Gaze knows his side faces a tough task of containing an in-form United squad.

"They've got a lot of tools, they are very deep and it's really going to test us defensively," Gaze told Fox Sports.

Gaze is also wary of the impact a new import can have after facing a similar scenario last season against the Perth Wildcats.

"Bryce Cotton's very first game was on the road to us here and I think he had 27 points so we are hoping it's not a repeat of that," he said.

Kings import Jeremy Tyler hopes to shake off a knee injury in time to face United, while guard Kevin Lisch (calf) is not expected to play.

Source: AAP

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