Vickerman says Wildcats fans should not boo Prather
MELBOURNE United coach Dean Vickerman has warned Perth Wildcats fans against booing Casey Prather in Friday's NBL blockbuster at Perth Arena.
Prather, a two-time Wildcats champion and most valuable player, will step out for the first time against his former club after signing with United late in the off-season.
"I don't know (what sort of reception he gets)," Vickerman said.
"He's a guy that's won two championships, hopefully they appreciate the talents and what he brought to the cub and they acknowledge that.
"I'm sure in a different colour (singlet) on that they'll get after him a little bit."
But Prather (knee), a game-time decision, is nonplussed about the reception.
The guard left Perth at the end of the season hopeful of earning an NBA lifeline, potentially at Cleveland Cavaliers, but returned to the NBL last month.
"I'm not sure if they're going to boo me or give me an ovation," Prather said.
"I have nothing but respect for the Red Army and gratitude for what they've done for me."
United will draw on its experiences against OKC Thunder and Adelaide 36ers to turn the tables on the Wildcats after dropping all four games against them last season.
Vickerman said United had to be proactive, strike early and take the crowd out of the contest.
"They really try and get after you with all their energy and pressure in the first five minutes and see if you crack," Vickerman said.
"They drive you under the basket and they do it mostly legally, but you got to make the first hit against them, you can't be the group that is responsive."