Melbourne's Cedric Jackson goes up for a shot against Cairns in round four.
Melbourne's Cedric Jackson goes up for a shot against Cairns in round four. BRIAN CASSEY

Jackson sacking 'more or less a perfect storm'

BASKETBALL: Melbourne United is looking to replace axed import Cedric Jackson after the American didn't perform up to expectations.

A "perfect storm” of injuries - to starters Chris Goulding and Todd Blanchfield - forced coach Dean Demopoulos to sack the 2012-13 MVP.

Since moving from the New Zealand Breakers, Jackson's stats have been down, averaging less than 10 points and five assists in nine games, and there were signs he failed to gel with his new teammates on the court.

Demopoulos said the club had searched far and wide, including in the NBA, where he was an assistant coach for several years.

"It was more or less a perfect storm,” Demopoulos told reporters.

"We had so many things happen to this ball club the last few weeks with injuries and we just felt that it was time to change and we needed a different type of player to overcome the odds.

"The decision was painstaking and gut-wrenching. The respect that my coaches, players and this entire organisation have for what Cedric has done made it extremely difficult.”

Melbourne will head into tonight's game against the talent-stacked Sydney without star three-point shooter Blanchfield, who has an injured groin.

Goulding, who played for the Boomers at the Rio Olympics, is also likely to miss as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Breakers general manager Dillon Boucher said he would not be going after Jackson, the star of the side's successful NBL championship run when they won three titles in his four seasons with them.

"I was very surprised to hear that he was released by Melbourne,” Boucher said. "Often when a team isn't performing, the first place they look at is the imports.

"We're all very surprised about this but we haven't reached out to Cedric at all (with an offer).”

The Breakers had been keen to retain Jackson but couldn't compete with Melbourne's offer. Boucher hinted the Breakers' budget would not allow them to pursue Jackson.



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