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Jordan McRae Off To A Good Start In Australia

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He may be halfway around the world, but we'll still keep an eye on him.

Streeter Lecka

The Sixers are representing far and wide this year, with multiple prospects spanning three different continents. 2014 second round pick Jordan McRae is playing in the land down under, joining the Melbourne Tigers of the NBL for their 2014-15 campaign. According to the team's website, he seems to be doing some damage in the team's preseason games.

In his Melbourne debut, McRae had 13 points (5-13 FG) and 5 rebounds. Courtesy of Melbourne's website:

For a guy who arrived in the country on Tuesday and played his first game on Saturday, Jordan McRae is certainly going to be a player to watch.

Although his numbers were not flattering, McRae showed during CTI Melbourne United’s win over Dongguan Leopards he will make an impact during the 2014-15 NBL season.

Melbourne United was hardly troubled in the 88-56 preseason win over the Leopards, the Chinese Basketball Association team coached by Brian Goorjian.

That allowed for a relatively smooth introduction to Australian basketball for McRae (13 points, 5-13 FG, five rebounds) as he embarks on his pro career after four years at the University of Tennessee.

Drafted by the San Antonio Spurs and traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, the scoring guard made an early impression with a couple of quick baskets and a drive-and-dunk, setting the tone for Melbourne.

The former Tennessee Volunteer was back in action this past Friday, and went off for 28 points, 23 of which came in the first half. McRae also fouled out with two minutes left. He seemed to struggle when faced with a zone defense, something that will be more rare when he makes the jump to the NBA. More from Melbourne:

NEW CTI Melbourne United import Jordan McRae shone in his first full NBL hit out on Friday night.

The Philadelphia 76ers draft pick scored 23 of his 28 points in a blistering first half but both McRae and CTI Melbourne United were overrun in the second half by Townsville Crocs who won their NBL Blitz preseason game 78-73.

McRae was send to the NBL to bulk up and gain experience before coming to the NBA but he still gave Brisbane fans a taste of his NBA-level skills  throwing down windmill and 360 dunks in warm ups.

McRae turned on his dribble-drive game in the first half repeatedly blowing past Crocs' defenders to score at the basket including an acrobatic contested layup where he went under the basket and finished on the far side of the hoop.

...

CTI Melbourne United coach Chris Anstey said his side had enjoyed its best hitout of the preseason but was disappointed to lose after leading by 20 points.

"It was a game of two halves collectively and for Jordan McRae," Anstey said.

"What we've done and covered in practice he did really well with in the first half but when they came out in a delayed press and then a zone we haven't covered spent a minute working on that [while McRae has been in country]."

"While it wasn't unexpected that we struggled against that - it was still disappointing to lose."

Anstey said his side needed more time playing zone defences and his recruits needed more exposure to NBL games.

He was back in action on Saturday where he put up 28 points in 25 minutes, and apparently continues to wow the crowd with layups. Seriously.

McRae’s hot form was the talk of the tournament and Anstey said the player had made a strong start and would only get better with more time on court with the team.

His dunks and layups in both matches impressed both sellout crowds.

"He is like any player coming into a new situation and a new country," Anstey said.

"He can play and he can score but he still has to learn about how we play and how the game is refereed and played here.

"But we know how exciting he can be and he showed a bit of that this weekend."

It seems like he's adjusting well, and we'll make sure to monitor him as his season progresses. Their regular season begins on October 12th.

(H/T Keith Pompey)