Newcomers the Tasmania JackJumpers have vowed not to back down from an aggressive playing style ahead of their NBL debut.
The league's 10th franchise will host the Brisbane Bullets in Hobart on Friday night in front of what is expected to be a 5000-strong sold-out crowd at MyState Bank Arena.
It has been 25 years since the island state had a team in the national basketball competition, following the demise of the Hobart Devils in 1996.
The two most-recent NBL expansion sides, the Bullets in 2016/17 and the Phoenix in 2019/20, finished last and second-last respectively in their first season.
Coach Scott Roth said the JackJumpers had shelved talk of wins and losses.
His team showed some flashes of brilliance in the pre-season NBL Blitz but ended the tournament 1-3, including a 10-point loss to the Bullets.
"One thing I really like about this group is that they're very feisty and they've shown that at various times during the pre-season Blitz," Roth said.
"We want to make sure we're aggressive. I don't want the referee to dictate how we play."
Tasmania are sweating on the availability of inaugural captain and forward Clint Steindl, who will need to get through a final hit-out on Friday morning on the comeback from a dislocated finger.
The 32-year-old two-time premiership winner with the Perth Wildcats sat out several sessions this week but trained strongly on Thursday.
"It's just catch and shoot for me and keep it out of the way," Steindl said at the JackJumpers blazer presentation ceremony.
"We're pretty much creating history here. We want to do everything the right way from the start.
"Everything down to the blazers, it's creating a culture. It may be a small thing but all those small things build up."
The JackJumpers' Russian 'Next Star' signing Nikita Mikhailovskii has been ruled out of the Bullets clash with a foot injury.
US imports Josh Adams (18 points) and Josh Magette (12) both showed solid signs in the Blitz loss to Brisbane, who only dropped one game in the tournament.
"I'm just proud of the fact these guys have bonded very quickly. This is like building a house, we're trying to put in the foundations first," Roth said.
Australian Associated Press
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