He stepped into a bigger role for the Perth Redbacks during the 2020 West Coast Classic and was frequently called into the paint to play on bigger, more experienced bodies. He stepped up to that challenge with aplomb while also consistently splashing threes to stretch the floor and create sweet lines to the basket for Marshall Nelson and Tevin Jackson to create havoc.
So it’s safe to say, it’s not just because of his famous name that we’re thrilled to have 20-year-old Ethan Vlahov back on board for NBL1 2021.
As coach CJ Jackson notes:
“He came into his own during the West Coast Classic. We had to play him out of position at times, and he was forced to play against some big units. But he held his own and would do all those little one-percenters to help us be a better team. Like his father, he is committed to doing things like diving on loose balls and fighting for rebounds and those are things that helped us win games during the West Coast Classic. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do as we move on and he should be another guy that becomes a 250-game player at this club.”
NBL1 Director Nathan Barns agrees:
“What a year Ethan had, the highlight for him probably being when he won the Hiddlestone Memorial Trophy. His growth ultimately saw him make the starting five in one or two games and we are so excited that he is back on board. I look forward to the continuing development of his inside game as well as the trusty three-point shot we saw throughout 2020.”
As for Ethan, he’s excited to have re-signed:
“It was super easy to decide to come back. I love the group that played in the West Coast Classic. We had so much fun and it was a no-brainer for me to recommit.
It was such a fun team, in fact, that I even enjoyed being able to sit back while I was on the bench and be a spectator watching those guys. They play some wicked basketball. Especially with Wags leading the team and running things out there, he’s just incredible.
The role I played at the West Coast Classic was obviously a big step up in terms of minutes compared to previous SBL seasons and that has just helped me develop that bit quicker. I’m looking to step it up again and keep it going until I can find a solid role.
We were a bit unlucky with some of the results in the WCC and I thought we had a really good chance at it. I think we do have the stuff to beat any team we come up against in NBL1 so I’m excited to compete as one of those top teams. And for us to be one of the teams that when people see they are playing us on – they want to try and take our scalp.”
When it comes to continuing the strong connection the Vlahov family with the Perth Redbacks, Ethan says:
“It’s awesome continuing that family tradition. Obviously, with the first game being named after my grandad, that means a lot. And it’s special to be able to continue that family legacy that was built up by my dad and grandad. I’m proud to continue that and with my re-signing that’s another reason why it’s a no-brainer. Redbacks is the club I want to be at and am proud to be at.”
“That’d be ideal if I can make it to the NBL one day, but I don’t try to look too far ahead and set huge long-distance goals. I try to keep it more short term. Coming off last season my goals are to keep those minutes or increase them. And then having goals within the game of playing my role and not trying to go out and score a million points. I just want to do what I can to help the team win because in the end that’s when you have the most fun. Getting the win and going back to the locker room and celebrating with the boys is 10 times more fun than getting 20 or 30 points and having a loss.”
What about having long time family friend (and former teammate of his father Andrew) CJ Jackson as his coach?
“It’s really good playing for CJ. He coached me in juniors for a couple of years while I was at the Hawks, and he also coached alongside my dad when I was about 15. I’ve known him for ages and he is another huge mentor for me. He always keeps in touch when I’ve been away and he has always been there for me anytime I want to work out. He is a ripper coach, everyone loves him and everyone knows his experience and how good he is. Everyone stands up and listens to him, and loves playing for him.”