Future bright for Knight

Boom forward Matt Knight will be without an NBL club when the Sydney Spirit close their 2008-09 campaign, but the future looks bright for the 23-year-old.

sportal.co.nz, Friday, 6 February 2009 5:00 p.m.

Photo: Getty

Boom forward Matt Knight will be without an NBL club when the Sydney Spirit close their 2008-09 campaign, but the future looks bright for the 23-year-old.

Knight has led from the front in what has been a tumultuous season for the Spirit, averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game in just his second year as a professional.

And while the Spirit's future beyond this season is uncertain to say the least, coach Rob Beveridge is convinced his young star will continue to shine in the coming years.

"Right now to me he is the premier four-man in the competition, he is the best big in the competition right now," Beveridge said.

"There are some really good players out there but just to see the way he's battled and improved as a 23-year-old, I'm just unbelievably humbled and proud to call him one of my players."

"Every training and every day is about trying to make 'Matty' better. We've worked on his perimeter, we've worked on his lateral movement, we've worked on his body and it's all made him a better player."

"He's put so much work into it that he's setting himself up for a bright future."
Cairns Taipans veteran Martin Cattalini, who admitted struggling to contain Knight in the low-post in his side's mid-week win over the Spirit, agrees Knight is among the NBL's brightest stars.

"If I was a coach he'd be just about No.1 on my list next year," Cattalini said of Knight.

"I think he's got some talent with his size, his quickness and his jump-shot. He could work on a few other parts of his game but those parts are pretty solid."

The man himself remains unsure of his future beyond this season and admits he is still coming to terms with the likely collapse of the Spirit.

"I'm very disappointed, when I signed I signed a three-year deal and as 'Bevo' has talked about we had a four-year plan. Now it no longer exists and it's tough to swallow," Knight said.

Knight will head to Los Angeles for a three-week break at the end of the season before heading to New Zealand to play for the Hawks Bay Hawks in the New Zealand NBL under current Spirit assistant coach Shawn Dennis.

But despite his disappointment, Knight is determined to end the season on a winning note.

"I'm confident we can go 2-0 in the next two games - hopefully," he said with a smile.

Sydney will meet the Wildcats in Perth on Saturday before hosting the Breakers at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on February 14.