Jay Cole is primed for a big year with the Maitland Mustangs in what will be the club's inaugural season in the NBL1 East competition.
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The youngster is entering his third campaign with the Mustangs after the past few years were plagued by COVID interruptions and injuries.
Despite this, the Bathurst Goldminers graduate has managed to make a name for himself as one of the rising stars in NSW and has big goals going into 2022.
"Obviously winning our first title in NBL1 East is always on the back of our minds, but just to get out there and have the first season done and dusted and scope where we are in the competition," he said.
"We will be competitive based on the team we've got and the teams in the competition last year, so we just find out where we sit. The title is definitely in the back of the mind."
When asked about Cole committing for the upcoming season, Mustangs coach Luke Boyle praised the forward's previous year where he averaged 10 points and seven rebounds.
"His last three games he averaged a huge 17 and 10 before he dislocated his knee," the coach said.
"Jay is fully recovered and back to his athletic self again. He has come so far as a player here in the last two years, and we expect to see a lot of him again in 2022."
With NBL1 the main feeder competition into Australia's top professional basketball league, Cole is looking to learn all he can.
"The boys who I play with are really good with experience. They boss me around a bit but I'm fine with that," he said.
"They know more than I do about how Maitland plays, so just to feed off how they play and compete with them on the floor is fun.
"I'll hopefully get a few seasons under my belt in NBL1 and then a few new opportunities might arise."
He won't be the only Goldminers product lining up for the Mustangs this season, with Matt Gray signing on after four collegiate years in America.
"I've known Matt for a while and I've played against him, but don't think we've played on the same team together because we were in different age groups," Cole added.
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