Jawai in December 2014
|No. 15 – Cairns Taipans|
|Position||Power forward / Centre|
10 October 1986 |
Sydney, New South Wales
|Listed height||209 cm (6 ft 10 in)|
|Listed weight||140 kg (309 lb)|
|High school||St Augustine's College
|College||Midland College (2006–2007)|
|NBA draft||2008 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41st overall|
|Selected by the Indiana Pacers|
|2010||→Sioux Falls Skyforce|
|2013–2014||Galatasaray Liv Hospital|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Nathan Leon Jawai (born 10 October 1986), an Indigenous Australian of Torres Strait Islander descent, is a professional basketball player for the Cairns Taipans of the National Basketball League (NBL). Standing at 209 cm, he plays at the power forward and center positions.
Born at the Royal Hospital for Women in the Sydney suburb of Paddington on 10 October 1986, Jawai lived in Sydney for a year before his parents, Lynette and Ron, moved back to Bamaga, a small town of about 1000 people, located north of the Jardine River and only 40 km from the tip of Cape York Peninsula. Like most children on Cape York, he played rugby league throughout primary school and early high school. However, living in a remote indigenous community meant Jawai was subject to a lot of bad influences and was often getting in trouble due to the stain of drug and alcohol abuse. Strong parental guidance and the decision to send Jawai to high school at St Augustine's College in Cairns ensured he stayed away from bad influences. At the age of 15, Jawai began playing basketball, and it only took him two years until he began playing competitively for the Cairns Marlins of the Queensland Basketball League in 2004. He then spent two years at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra before venturing to the United States in 2006 to play college basketball for Midland College. However, after just one season with Midland, Jawai returned to Australia and had surgery to remove the meniscus in his right knee. With his moved back home, he had hopes of joining an NBL club. He subsequently re-joined the Cairns Marlins and helped guide them to a national title in 2007 while earning ACC All-Star Five honours.
Jawai's play with the Cairns Taipans' feeder team, the Cairns Marlins, earned him a spot on the Taipans roster for the 2007–08 NBL season. In 31 games for the Taipans, Jawai averaged 17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. His season highs for points and rebounds was 28 and 18 respectively.
Jawai was drafted 41st overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers; however, his rights were traded to the Toronto Raptors in a deal that also brought Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto in exchange for T. J. Ford, Rasho Nesterović, Maceo Baston, and the draft rights to Roy Hibbert. On 11 July 2008, he signed a two-year deal with the Raptors, and the nicknames soon rolled in with "Aussie Shaq", "Outback Shaq" and "Baby Shaq", due to his resemblance to Shaquille O'Neal. He was also nicknamed "Big Nate" by Toronto commentators.
On 17 December 2008, Jawai was cleared to resume training after enduring a worrisome period in which he was not allowed to undergo physical activity. Jawai was required to 'rest', due to a routine pre-season test which revealed a cardiac abnormality. On 21 January 2009, Jawai made his NBA debut against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills, becoming the first indigenous Australian to play in the NBA.
On 26 February 2009, Jawai was assigned by the Raptors to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League. In his first start (his second game), he registered 12 points, 5 rebounds and a team-high 3 blocks in Idaho's 104–96 win over the Utah Flash. Jawai was recalled from the D-League on 23 March 2009.
On 9 July 2009, Jawai was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as a part of the four-team trade that also involved the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies. Later that year, on 20 October 2009, Jawai was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
On 8 November 2009, Jawai played arguably the best game of his NBA career, scoring a team-high 16 points and grabbing six rebounds in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
In July 2013, Jawai signed with the Turkish team Galatasaray Liv Hospital. In October 2013, he sustained a traumatic neck injury while playing for Galatasaray. He had long-lasting effects because of the incident and temporarily couldn't see from one eye. He subsequently managed just four total games for Galatasaray in 2013–14. Despite the circumstances, Jawai re-signed with the club in September 2014. In December 2014, he left Galatasaray and signed with MoraBanc Andorra for the rest of the season.
On 28 August 2015, Jawai signed with the Perth Wildcats for the 2015–16 NBL season. On 10 October 2015, Jawai made his debut for the Wildcats in the team's season opener. He made a big impact in his first game, forcing the Adelaide 36ers defenders to put a lot of attention into double teaming him down in the low post. Jawai was locked in early, scoring the Wildcats' first five points with a dunk and an 'and-one' following a classy spin move in the post. He finished the game with 11 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes of action, as he and teammate Jermaine Beal helped the Wildcats defeat the 36ers 79–66.
On 22 November 2015, Jawai scored a season-high 20 points in a 91–90 win over his former team, the Cairns Taipans. On 21 January 2016, he had his best game in two months, scoring 18 points against the Illawarra Hawks. Jawai was phenomenal inside, throwing down several emphatic dunks on his way to 18 points, five rebounds and one block, helping the Wildcats defeat the Hawks 95–72. The Wildcats finished the regular season in second place with an 18–10 win/loss record, qualifying for their 30th straight post-season. Jawai helped the Wildcats defeat the third-seeded Illawarra Hawks 2–1 in the semi-finals, which moved them on to the Grand Final series where they faced the New Zealand Breakers. With home court advantage in the series, the Wildcats defeated the Breakers 2–1 to claim their seventh NBL championship. Jawai appeared in 32 of the team's 34 games in 2015–16, averaging 10.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
Return to Cairns
On 3 June 2016, Jawai signed a three-year deal with the Cairns Taipans, returning to the club he began his career with in 2007. A major factor in his return to Cairns was his long-time mentor and Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne. On 3 August 2016, he was ruled out for the entire NBL pre-season following finger surgery. He made his season debut for the Taipans on 15 October 2016 in their second game of the 2016–17 season, recording five points and four rebounds in just under 17 minutes off the bench in a 92–78 loss to the Sydney Kings. On 30 October 2016, he had a then season-best game with 14 points, six rebounds, one assist and three blocks in a 98–83 win over the Illawarra Hawks. On 7 November 2016, he scored a game-high 19 points in a 79–77 loss to the Sydney Kings. On 5 February 2017, he scored a season-high 22 points in an 85–77 win over the Perth Wildcats.
On 10 October 2017, Jawai was ruled out for 12 weeks after suffering a partial tear of a ligament in his left foot in the Taipans' 2017–18 season opener four days earlier. Jawai was instrumental in the Taipans’ first game, coming off the bench to register 12 points and four rebounds before hurting his foot late in the second quarter.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
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- Indigenous basketballer Nathan Jawai shoots for top
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- Wildcats’ wild ride to the top
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