Brandt Open to NBL Return
Former Perth Wildcats dual championship winner Angus Brandt is open to a return to the NBL next season, having spent the previous Australian season in Italy.
Brandt, who has only just returned to Australia after being in lockdown for the past month and is self-isolating at a hotel in Sydney, told Sports Drive on Monday he is willing to entertain offers from NBL clubs once the threat of COVID-19 passes.
“The NBL is never off the table, if the right offer and situation comes along. It’s not something we (me and my manager) would say no to,” the 30 year old said.
“We have to evaluate what we want to do, what we want to get out of the few years I have left in my career.”
“That was something that we were already thinking about before this started, the COVID-19 situation has thrown a huge wrench in to that.”
“Basically as it sits right now we are just waiting to see how the dust settles.”
Brandt reflected on the difficulties of the past month, which saw the Italian competition, Lega Basket Serie A postponed, Brandt’s side A.S Pistoia Basket and sixteen others immediately forced in to lockdown last month.
“In Italy, it hit there first and I think they were trying to wrap their heads around it and try and figure out what was going on,” he said.
“They were the first Western Country to experience it, so to be over there and living through it was quite interesting,”
“We had one game cancelled just to see what it was and what was going on, with the full intention of resuming the following week. So we kept training and preparing to play the games, my team managed to play the next week,”
“When we were on the bus on the way home from the game that was when they started shutting down the borders in Italy and really clamping down on people’s movements.”
Two days later the entire country was in lockdown, Brandt forced to stay in Italy until late last week, boarding a scheduled plane flight home to Sydney where he is now residing in a hotel self-isolating for 14 days, per Australian government guidelines.
Brandt said his wife had returned to her native USA for the time being, now unable to travel home to Australia due to restrictions.
“At the time I was expecting to fly to America to meet her, but because everything has been so unpredictable and everything has changed so quickly, obviously America has become one of the hotbeds of COVID-19 so instead of going there I’ve come back to Australia.” he said.
Brandt, who began his professional NBL career at the Sydney Kings in 2014 is concerned about what effect the pandemic might have on the competition in 2020-21.
“Australian basketball was in such a strong position, it wasn’t that long ago the competition was on it’s knees,” he said.
“Illawarra’s in some real strife right now, so if they’re in trouble there will be other clubs feeling the pinch as well.”
“I don’t know if this will sidetrack Tasmania and Hobart’s plans to join the league, unfortunately there are only nine teams in the league right now, the NBL have said in the past if they drop to eight the league will cease to exist.”
“Losing two teams isn’t out of the realms of possibility, it’s definitely scary. The NBL certainly isn’t immune, just look at what the AFL and NRL are going through.”
The new season is scheduled to commence in October, with free agency delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IMAGE: Pick and Roll