NBL21: Mitch Creek on Phoenix teammate Reuben Te Rangi and his excitement at teaming up with Ryan Broekhoff

South East Melbourne Phoenix star Mitch Creek has lauded Throwdown hero Reuben Te Rangi as he eagerly awaits taking the floor with ex-NBA sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff.

Te Rangi — who has been the target of criticism for a lack of box score production since his switch from Brisbane in the off-season — was massive down the stretch in Monday night’s thrilling 97-92 overtime win over cross-town rival Melbourne United.

The Kiwi international scored six straight points in OT and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in one of his most influential games for his new club.

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Mitch Creek has lauded teammate Reuben Te Rangi. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Creek said the 26-year-old would be an “absolute animal” once he “understands how good he can be”.

“I’ve said this to a lot of people … but Reuben is one of the toughest covers that I have to play against (in practice),” Creek, who had a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds, said.

“We trust him to make big plays. I keep telling him to shoot the ball, to be more aggressive, because, 1: I love the guy and I love who he is as a person, but 2: I love him as a basketballer and a teammate.

“He does so many things that go unnoticed that sometimes when people go ‘he’s not scoring’ … they don’t know basketball. You don’t see the box outs, the communication, staying disciplined on defence, the little things that go astray for a lot of people.

“I’m sick of people commenting on guys … he’s fantastic for our team, I’m so proud of him for this game and for many others that people throw sh*t at him for, excuse my French.”

Missing several key injured players, Creek said the Throwdown victory was an “example” of what his side was capable of.

Creek put in one of his best performances for the Phoenix. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Walking out to the tip, we all looked at each other in a little huddle and I said, ‘What more do you want in life and in sport as a professional athlete when everything’s stacked against you to come out and silence all the critics or all the people who say you should lose this one because you’ve got a lot of guys out’,” he said.

“We’re good enough so we just have to do it more often now and bring that kind of urgency and fight and grit.”

Phoenix erred on the side of caution with Broekhoff, but his debut could happen any day now.

“He brings a professionalism and a work ethic not many people have,” Creek said of the former Dallas Maverick.

“I think he’s obviously got so may great traits and skillsets … but his leadership on court is something else.

“I’m really excited to play with him.”

Originally published as‘I love him’: Creek lauds Phoenix Throwdown hero

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