The Property Brokers Manawatu Jets are excited to announce the signing of Ashton 'Lightning' McQueen for the 2021 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL).
The 25-year-old guard went from strength to strength at last year’s Sal's NBL Showdown and became a regular starter in what was a historic season for the Palmerston North-based franchise.
Jets Head Coach Tim McTamney said McQueen has steadily improved over the last two years and believes he is ready to contribute on a much larger scale this season. He anticipates an expanded role for McQueen in the 2021 version of the Manawatu Jets.
“Ash was our best perimeter defender at the Showdown,” McTamney said, “and as the tournament progressed he became a very consistent perimeter scorer.
“He’s also popular with his teammates and coaches as he provides positivity, toughness and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team succeed. Ash will undoubtedly be a very important member of this year’s team – I am really pleased he is back with us and excited about what he has to offer.”
McQueen displayed emphatically at the Showdown he is ready to make an impact in the Sal's NBL in 2021. He became a well-known figure at the Auckland event, with SKY commentators dubbing him “Lightning McQueen” after the cartoon car of the same name.
While McQueen will be in green and white this season rather than racing red, he has taken #95 as his playing number in a nod to the quirky Disney character.
McTamney said the “Lightning McQueen” references, the “ka-chows!” and McQueen’s unusual sockwear selections wore thin at times last season but adds that there is no denying his contribution to the success of the 2020 Manawatu Jets. He is also convinced there is a great deal more improvement yet to come from McQueen.
“His ability to hit the three-point shot consistently and defend the best opposition guard makes him a very valuable member of this year’s team.”
McQueen is excited and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Manawatu Jets in 2021.
"The Showdown was a great experience and I enjoyed it immensely,” he said. “I need to thank Coach for putting his trust in me and believing I could get the job done on court. His support, and that of Jase (Assistant Coach, Jason Pearn), has really helped me improve as a player and also helped in my approach on and off the court. I am ready to repay the faith they have placed in me by doing whatever the team needs – I have never been more ready.”
The Manawatu Jets are intent on building on the success of the 2020 Sal's NBL Showdown and would love to go one better than their 77-79 loss in the 2020 Grand Final. The signing of Ashton McQueen will provide improved depth, perimeter shooting and outstanding perimeter defence, all key ingredients in building a playoff-calibre team.