Cavs’ guard Sexton looking to take further flight in the NBA

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton seeks to build on a solid rookie year in the National Basketball Association. -- ALVIN S. GO

ONE of the rookies who performed better in the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season, Collin Sexton of the Cleveland Cavaliers said he was proud of what he was able to accomplish in his first year and is looking to build on it and take further flight in The Association.

Currently in the country, along with WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro, to lend support in the culminating activities of the 2019 Jr. NBA Philippines program, Mr. Sexton, 20, shared that while it was a rough year for them in the ongoing NBA season, still there were positives to draw from it both from a player standpoint as well as team-wise.

“It was a rough season for us. We had different coaches and we had to train so many different players but we fought till the end and never gave up. And next season we are looking at making it to the playoffs. That’s the goal,” said Mr. Sexton in a session with local media on Wednesday at Hotel Raffles Makati.

The eighth pick by the Cavaliers in the 2018 rookie draft out of Alabama, Mr. Sexton tallied averages of 16.6 points, three rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 78 matches he played for Cleveland, which had a record of 19-63.

He was of the one of the stalwarts for a Cavaliers squad which played their first year this season in the post-LeBron James championship run era.

Mr. Sexton joined forces with Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson, forward Cedi Osman and in limited time Kevin Love to get the rebuilding process for Cleveland going.

Moving ahead, Mr. Sexton said he is bullish of their prospects with a new coach in John Beilein and a lottery pick in the coming draft.

“He is a great guy. I got a chance to talk to him a bit about the team and his goals for us. I think he’ll be good for us and I can’t wait to meet him face to face,” said Mr. Sexton of Mr. Beilein, who recently signed a five-year contract to coach the Cavaliers after spending time at the University of Michigan as the Wolverines’ head coach.

“I think the draft lottery ended good for us. We ended at fifth spot and we can pick a good player for us and add to the puzzle. I have no preference on which players to pick but I know our GM and management will pick the right player,” he added.

As part of the Jr. NBA Philippines this year, the Cavaliers said it is a wonderful feeling as he sees it as a good opportunity to share what he knows and make a difference in other people’s lives.

“Programs like this are very important. This can make a big difference in someone’s life. For me to come here and the NBA to have this is great. We believe this could go a long way in teaching not only the fundamentals of the sport but also values that they can use outside of playing,” said Mr. Sexton, who was part of the United States youth squad that won the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Cup in 2016. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo