Casey Prather’s confidence infectious in Melbourne United’s return

‘‘I had five points, I wanted to make it seven. I was glad they fouled me as I knew I would go to the line and knock them down.’’

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman admits he short-changed Prather a couple of minutes but he was beaming to see his star forward back in the side.

For now Prather will come off the bench but eventually he will likely move back to being a starter. What stood out most to Vickerman was the boost in confidence across the team. ‘‘We just felt on the whole road trip that having him back around the group, he is one of the most confident guys I’ve ever met,’’ Vickerman said. ‘‘He shares that confidence with everyone else and has that great belief in what we can do and he can do on the floor.’’

While sidelined Prather has been a vocal presence around the team and helped younger imports Melo Trimble and Shawn Long find their roles. Both were prominent in the team’s past three wins.
Prather’s seven points will sit very low on his list of NBL scoring tallies but the impact of his return could be significant in a title race that gets closer and closer.

■ Ben Simmons is set to miss Philadelphia’s next three NBA games after new tests confirmed the extent of his shoulder injury. Simmons suffered a grade-one AC joint sprain in his right shoulder in Wednesday’s 106-104 loss to Utah Jazz.


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