JackJumpers duo Will Magnay, Josh Magette ready to ignite 'buzzing' Tassie

The wait is finally over.

After giving local fans a taste of what could be to come during the NBL Blitz, the Tasmania JackJumpers are finally ready to open their inaugural season on Friday night against the Brisbane Bullets.

While roster turnover is a major part of every NBL season, the start-up franchise faces the challenge of putting together a competitive product with a roster pieced together from scratch.

Arguably the two most important pieces are projected to start at the one and five, with Josh Magette and Will Magnay the bookends that appear likely to play a major role.

Still just 23 years old, Magnay first caught head coach Scott Roth's attention during his breakout season with the Brisbane Bullets in NBL 20.

"The sky is the limit for him. He's still young, he's a tremendous athlete for his size, we're expecting big things from him," Roth said.

"His biggest asset is his motor and his competitiveness. His ability to get up and down the floor is what attracted me to him when I saw him in Brisbane. He'll be a huge focal point for us."

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Joining the Perth Wildcats midway through NBL 21, a banged-up Magnay battled injury concerns, before undergoing ankle surgery in the weeks after the Grand Final loss to Melbourne United.

Spending much of the offseason working his way back to full health, the talented big man is rejuvenated by the challenge of some new scenery in Tasmania.

"It's been an adjustment. It's pretty fresh, the water's cold," Magnay says with a laugh.

"Tassie is a bit slower than I'm used to, but it's helped me settle down and appreciate the little things in life. The people are welcoming, the food is amazing, and my teammates are great, so it's been good."

After spending time with the New Orleans Pelicans organisation last NBA season, Magnay is accustomed to being asked about his desire to return to the league, but for now at least, he is focused on getting healthy and leaning into his role as one of the leaders in the squad.

"I've been in talks with coaches and listening to podcasts, I really got on the coaches to help me with it," Magnay says of his leadership skills. "I'm just trying to take little steps; I think some people see me as a bit of a leader, so I need to be a good one."

"My motivation has always been to be the best player I can be and that will take me where it will. Obviously, I would love to be in the NBA for the rest of my career, but right now it's just getting healthy and playing well for Tassie this season."

While the on-court chemistry continues to build with Magette, Magnay believes the American import can help form a damaging pick-and-roll partnership as the season rolls on.

"Magette's really smart, he sees little nuances in the game to help you get better. If there's half a chance the ball can get there, he's going to pass it. It's nice to know as a big man if you roll hard the ball is going to be there. I help him out a little bit defensively and he can throw me the ball on offence."

It should be no surprise the JackJumpers targeted a point guard like Magette, with the 32-year-old boasting a wealth of experience across the world since going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Highly regarded as a true professional, Magette took part in Team USA's training camp prior to the Tokyo Olympics, before travelling with the team to the games.

"I followed him for his entire career," Roth said. "If you wrap your head around the fact that a few months ago he was passing the ball to Kevin Durant and then flew to Tokyo as a potential sub.

"For me, I was just trying to find the point guard that would lessen the burden for everybody and for me to just sit down and enjoy the game and not coach and let him do it," he said with a wry smile.

With professional stops in the Netherlands, Turkey, Spain and Greece in addition to multiple G League stints and 26 NBA games, Magette points to the growing stock of the Australian league and the challenge of establishing a culture in Tasmania as the key attractions to signing with the club.

"To be a part of an expansion franchise and establish our own culture, set expectations and establish who we are. We can make it exactly what we want it and that's appealing to me," he said.

While the on-court product may be a work in progress for the league's newest team, Magette and Magnay can't wait to get to work in front of enthusiastic home fans.

"(Tasmania) is buzzing to say the least. Any time I go out and have JackJumpers gear on I have someone stop me and say how excited they are," Magette said.

"You walk around, and people might not know you yet, but they ask if you're a JackJumper. You realise how small Tassie is, you see the same people around in the shops and around the city. It's been exciting to see how excited everyone is," he added.

The excitement in the local community will last, but Roth isn't in town to mess around.

From the opening day of training camp, a hardnosed approach of accountability began at the top with the standards set by the head coach.

"I've promised no one here, one through 15 any time, any minutes, anything," Roth said. "They'll earn their way through this whole year through me. That's how I was brought up as a player and coached. Nothing is given, especially when you're trying to build a foundational culture, a way of doing things."

Now it's time to get to work.