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Draft day looms for Australian NBA 2K pioneers
The NBA 2K League draft is only days away, and Australians Meason Camille and Brad Shortland are two of three Australians (Kyle Lepua being the other) nervously waiting to hear their name called. On March 6 (March 5 over in the US) the second ever NBA 2K League draft will be held at the Barclay Centre in Brooklyn, and the direction of these young Australian’s lives could change forever.
For Camille, it’s has been the wait since receiving his conditional offer for draft eligibility in early February that has been hardest to bear. As time slowly passes, the tension of anticipation gradually builds. Now, with the moment of truth only days away, the exhilaration of new possibilities is becoming more difficult to contain.
“This week it’s only just kicking in," said Camille. "It didn’t feel real for a couple of weeks when I got the email. Now just days away [from the draft] it’s kicking in, the nerves are happening and I’m just excited.”
Their rivals/contemporaries in the draft pool are numerous and highly skilled, but both Shortland and Camille are quietly confident that their recent play will hold them in good stead, especially in the wake of their performances at the APAC tournament in Hong Kong last month.
Yet, until they hear their name called uncertainty rules.
“It’s tough to tell [where you stand]. You never really know what teams are looking for exactly. I feel like I’d be a good fit for most teams,” Shortland said.
“My name has been tossed around in the American pro scene even before the APAC tournament. So a few of the American scouts sort of knew my name before coming into [APAC], which I feel definitely helped,” Camille added.
“[However] lots of other people are getting interviews and are doing great as well, so you really don’t know what’s happening on their side of things. So you’ve got to stay positive but you never know at the end of the day."
If a NBA 2K League team does pick up the young Australians on March 5, there will be little opportunity to savor the moment before the demands of being a pro 2K player beckon them to the USA.
“The first competition starts April 2, so just a month after the draft. So you need to be over their practicing with your team for a week. So the flights are booked and you’re off. It’s pretty surreal,” further explained Camille.
Although the draft is a big obstacle that is yet to be navigated, both of the young Australian 2K studs have some personal goals in mind, if they make it to The League. Near the top of their list of priorities is to play well enough for their teams to retain them for the 2020 season, and avoid the stress of going through the drafting process again next year.
Both Camille and Shortland know that there is constant pressure to stay on top. With a steady stream of new talent exploding onto the 2K scene all the time that pressure is rising, so a good season could give them a useful buffer between them and the rest of the hungry pack. Because now more than ever before that pressure is emerging from the Australian 2K community.
“I think there are a bunch of Australians really starting to get noticed, and there are lot more that haven’t been discovered either. With more time they will be found, and things will rise to the level of Australians in the NBA,” said Shortland.
According to Camille, the scope for Australian participation in the professional NBA 2K arena is only going to grow, with more avenues emerging for them to shine.
“[2K] Had one competition for America and one for Europe and there wasn’t really a competitive scene unlike games like Call of Duty. But now since the League has come on board it has become global. They want teams from different places over the world. So potentially Australia could be competing in a tournament in years to come.”
In a new and expanding Basketball frontier we will be watching with excitement to see how our Australian pioneers fare.