While Alex Toohey was initially viewed as a two-year Next Star prospect, the Sydney star is looming as a genuine 2024 NBA Draft bolter.

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Alex Toohey: From Next Star to 2024 NBA Draft Contender – A Surprising Journey Unfolds

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When Alex Toohey joined the Sydney Kings as part of the Next Stars program, the prevailing belief was that he would be a two-year project for the NBA Draft. However, perceptions have shifted dramatically following his stellar performance in the early stages of the NBL season.

Upon his arrival at the Kings, Sydney CEO Chris Pongrass boldly dubbed the Center of Excellence graduate a potential lottery pick. While this proclamation might have raised eyebrows among many draft experts, Toohey’s on-court excellence for the high-flying Kings has catapulted him up the draft boards, solidifying his status as a genuine draft bolter.

The versatile forward has largely operated under the radar this season, yet he has thrived in his starting role, especially in the absence of star import DJ Hogg. Over six games, he’s maintained an impressive average of more than 11 points and five rebounds per game, showcasing remarkable individual scoring streaks. Notably, Toohey created one of the season’s highlights with a spectacular spin move and dunk over Brisbane’s Chris Smith.

As a member of the Kings, Toohey benefits from the support of Andrew Bogut, a former NBA champion, NBL MVP, and current minority owner of the Sydney Kings. Bogut’s journey from college basketball stardom to being selected with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks positions him as the greatest draft success story in Australian basketball history.

Regarding Toohey’s future, Bogut acknowledges the pivotal decision the young talent faces—whether to declare for the NBA Draft at the conclusion of the current NBL season.

“The draft is a complex process, especially for players like Toohey. It’s difficult to predict where he might land,” Bogut shared with NBL Media. “He’s excelling in the NBL at the moment, but there’s a choice to make. Sometimes, striking while the iron is hot and securing a spot on a draft board is essential. There’s an old adage that the longer a player stays in college or another league, it provides scouts with more time to nitpick and potentially uncover flaws that may not even exist. So, there’s a risk involved.”

Alex Toohey, the rising basketball star from Sydney, is at a crossroads in his young career, with the 2024 NBA Draft on the horizon. The decision-makers, including his family, himself, his agent, and his club, face a crucial decision regarding his future.

While some suggest that a second year in his current development path wouldn’t hurt, others argue that if Toohey is projected to be a top 15 or top 20 pick, he shouldn’t pass up that opportunity. The balance between comfort and potential success is a challenging one, and it’s a decision that Alex and his team need to make carefully.

Notably, the Sydney club isn’t pressuring him to return for a second year at all costs. They acknowledge the nature of the game and understand that if he’s ready to make the leap to the NBA, it’s a path they are willing to support.

Toohey’s status as a top-tier draft prospect is gaining momentum within NBA Draft circles. According to draft expert Richard Stayman, Alex Toohey has the potential to be an impact player right from the start among the current Next Stars. Stayman believes that Toohey’s stock is rising due to his participation in the NBL program, which has yet to receive the recognition it deserves.

NBA Draft analysts Tyler Metcalf and Tyler Rucker also share the enthusiasm for Toohey’s prospects. Metcalf, in a recent episode of the No Ceilings NBA Draft Podcast, expressed his high regard for Toohey, positioning him close to the first round in his draft projections.

Rucker concurred with Metcalf’s assessment, openly declaring his admiration for Alex Toohey’s skills on the court. He emphasized that Toohey is not a prospect for next year but for the current draft class, emphasizing the need for broader recognition of his talents in the basketball world.

As the 2024 NBA Draft approaches, the basketball community eagerly awaits Alex Toohey’s decision and continues to witness his remarkable ascent in the draft rankings.”

Alex Toohey’s NBA Draft prospects are rising thanks to his versatility and ability to adapt to Coach Abdelfattah’s system.

Coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah has entrusted Toohey with diverse roles on the court, encouraging rapid development. He emphasizes quick ball movement and frequently challenges Toohey defensively. The young player has been defending against opponents like Jordon Crawford, though it’s not currently his strong suit. However, this exposure will help him improve his defensive skills against smaller, quicker opponents.

Andrew Bogut, a prominent figure in Australian basketball, believes in Toohey’s potential. He notes that Toohey has had both outstanding and less impressive games this season, which is a natural part of his development. Bogut sees him as a genuine draft prospect if he maintains consistent performances. Toohey’s three-point shooting is improving, and his size and length are assets that can’t be taught.

NBL fans may soon witness Toohey’s transition to a small forward, especially with DJ Hogg’s impending return and Jaylin Galloway’s injury. Toohey has temporarily filled in at power forward for Hogg, who has been sidelined due to a shoulder injury. Hogg’s return could mean Toohey shifts to the small forward position.

Jaylin Galloway’s injury has opened doors for Toohey to gain valuable experience and adapt to higher-level game situations. This exposure has accelerated his development, making him an exciting prospect for the upcoming NBA Draft.

Andrew Bogut expressed his thoughts on the evolving situation within the team, emphasizing the impact of injuries on player roles. He mentioned, “Galloway had earned his spot, and Hogg is one of the best imports in the league, and that’s part of the position Toohey has been playing.”

Bogut continued, “You never want to have a positive outcome from an injury, but if there’s one blessing in disguise out of the Hogg injury and now the Galloway injury, it’s that Toohey has been able to be blooded quicker than we thought.”

The plan for Toohey had originally been to have him coming off the bench for either Galloway or Hogg, with his playing time dependent on his performance. However, due to the injuries, Toohey has had the opportunity to play through games, even when he hasn’t played as well, allowing him to learn from his mistakes.

Bogut noted, “I think it’s been a blessing in disguise for Toohey. Now, it looks like Galloway is going to be out for a while, and we get Hogg back in a limited capacity this week, so Toohey’s probably going to continue to stay on a steady diet of his current minutes for the foreseeable future.”

Sydney’s next game is against Cairns on Saturday, October 28, in its only matchup for Round 5.

Reference:

https://nbl.com.au/news/king-rising-how-toohey-is-staking-nba-claim

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