With Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter looking to be limited or downright missing in action at the start of the 2015-16 season, Dell Demps remains on the prowl for viable talent. This time, he is going to have a look at a candidate from half-way around the world. Corey Webster, who plays professionally for the New Zealand Breakers as well as that country's national team, is expected to fly to New Orleans within the next 24 hours.
Webster is a 6'1'' guard who is an accomplished 26-year old basketball player. He helped the Breakers of the NBL (the National Basketball League in Australia/New Zealand) to win the league's 2014-15 championship, averaging a team high 15.3 points a game. He led the league with 71 made three-pointers and finished fourth in both total points and three-point percentage.
In addition to his professional team exploits, Webster was a standout on New Zealand's national team, the Tall Blacks. He was their leading scoring during the 2015 International schedule and poured in 22 points and then 16 points in a two-game competition against Australia for the rights to automatically qualify for the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Although New Zealand lost both games, scouts were said to be impressed by the play of Webster.
"My agent has been communicating with them (New Orleans) and says it is based on my form over the past couple of months since coming back from Europe, in particular up against NBA caliber players such as Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. I guess they were watching and I have done enough for this invite, I have to work hard and show them I am worthy of the next step and get an invite to stay for longer" Webster explained.
"I think those games against Aussie were huge for me, those guys have proved themselves in the NBA and I competed well against them. It was a little bit of a tryout going against those guys, with scouts, agents and NBA teams watching you have to perform in those moments. That is the way I was looking at it too, knowing if I could perform someone was going to see it, they are established and have played in finals, Patty has won a championship, so that was huge for me.
Webster is known for his shooting ability, operating best in pick and roll situations. His coach, Dean Vickerman, gave a pretty good run down of Webster in a recent interview.
"He’s a great pick and roll player," Vickerman said. "He’s really developing his passing ability but if there’s any space and time he has the ability just to pull up in that pocket or pull behind a screen and make shots. You have to be pretty aggressive in the way you defend him."
Vickerman also spoke of Corey’s ability at the other end of the floor and that is certainly something that the Pelicans will be exploring closely as he works out for them.
"He’s more than capable defensively. He chooses when he really turns it up and I think, you look at the 6’1" guys in the league and the Patty Mills types and the way they’re consistently after it the whole time defensively and so he’s got the speed and the agility," Vickerman told Downtown.
However, he smartly knows this tryout represents nothing more but a chance to participate in the Pelicans training camp coming up at the end of September.
"This sprung up pretty quick, the coaching staff at New Orleans have invited me to do some workouts for a couple of days or maybe a week. This is a chance to impress in that time and chase an invite to join the Pelicans training camp in October.
"Nothing has been achieved yet though, this is just a chance to show the coaches what I can do, it is up to me now to put my head down and make the most of the opportunity.
Good luck to you Corey!