Full Circle: David Andersen returns to Frankston to play NBL1

The King of Frankston has returned to claim his throne.

Credit: Daniel Spangler/Frankston Basketball

The career of one of Australia’s greatest ever basketball exports has come full circle.

26 years since a tall and lanky 15-year-old David Andersen last suited up for the Frankston Blues in their 1995 CBA season (former SEABL now NBL1), the soon to be 41-year-old veteran will make a long awaited return to where his outstanding career began.

Source: Frankston Basketball

In speaking with The Pick and Roll, Andersen explained that returning to Frankston was important to him and his family.

“It’s like a family affair. I’ve got my nephew on the team (Tom Garrett), and this is where I grew up, played ball here, It’s about giving back to the community. Obviously I’m trying to promote basketball in the Frankston area, and this is one of the ways that I can help influence it.”

As Daniel Lo Surdo reported in an interview with the 6’11 big man in September, Andersen has enjoyed a long and illustrious career that included stops in the NBL, Europe and the NBA. Having represented Australia on the world stage at four Olympic Games and at two FIBA World Cups, it was in Europe where Andersen garnered most of his success and where he became a household name.

Andersen accumulated 23 European titles, including 3 EuroLeague championships and 9 domestic national crowns, with stops in Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey and France. He also collected a swag of individual accolades across that time, earning selection to the 2004/04 EuroLeague First Team, securing two MVP awards in Italy and another in Turkey. His experience extends to two years in the NBA, spending time with the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.

In returning home to Australia, Andersen also found success with Melbourne United, winning the 2018 NBL Championship. While he did not rule out a possible return to the NBL should the call come, he explained that family is now a priority.

“I mean, there’s always that glimmer [of hope], I maybe wanted to get on an injury replacement roster. Things happen, and it is not the be-all or end-all but everything is going in the right direction, I’ve got family to think about now and I have a lot of other things taking my time up. There is nothing too much there to think about and it’s more about plotting out the next steps in life,”

Long associated with winning teams and renown as a consummate professional on and off the court, Frankston Basketball CEO Wayne Holdsworth appreciated just how valuable it would be to have Andersen’s presence at the club.

“It’s great to have David return to his roots at Frankston,” explained Holdsworth in announcing Andersen’s signing.

“He has always great ambassador for Frankston, the basketball community and his country, both on and off the court. We are absolutely delighted to see him return.”

Andersen’s impact with the Blues already runs deeper than his playing legacy. As coach of his son Arlo’s junior representative team, he is already helping nurture and inspire the next generation of Blues juniors and perhaps another future star.

“It’s been good. Me and my biggest brother Brett take turns in coaching on the sidelines. He’s the head coach and I’m just the assistant! I love giving back, and it’s even better when its your own flesh and blood. You know its good to watch him [Arlo] fall in love with the game and enjoy it just like I did, and you never know what might happen.”

Source: Frankston Basketball

While Andersen has been coaching his children, his attention will also now turn to the senior program where he adds much-needed size and class to a roster that has one of the deepest and most talented back courts in the league.

Senior Blues head coach Andrew Harms could not contain his excitement in discussing just how important the addition of Andersen is to a Blues roster that fell one win short of the 2019 NBL1 Championship game.

"We are really excited to have Dave returning to his junior club and continuing to add to his unbelievable basketball legacy,” shared Harms. “His professionalism, approach to his craft and mentoring of our next generation of senior Blues players has and will continue to be invaluable. Furthermore, he really provides us some relief in the 4/5 spot as our current injury profile and player unavailability is all both of those positions.

“Whatever Dave brings will be a huge bonus and his club first attitude has been incredible!"

While fellow NBL1 clubs like Geelong and Knox have loaded up on talent, so too have the Blues. And perhaps unlike their rivals, not only do the Blues have the talent, leadership and professionalism of Andersen, they also have continuity and depth with the core of their 2019 campaign returning. That group includes New Zealand Breakers forward Dan Trist and captain Igor Hadziomerovic, who have also added current Melbourne United player Dillon Stith as a signing for their 2021 campaign.

“I don’t think I would have played for another team in NBL1,” Andersen further explained. “My kids are playing here, Arlo’s been around, I grew up in this system and all my brothers and sister — everyone!

“I love being around the Frankston area, I’m proud about it and hope to create a bit of hype around it.”

The NBL1 South season tips of this weekend, with the Blues hosting reigning NBL1 South Champions Nunawading on Saturday night in a game that promises to be a sellout. While the result remains difficult to predict, its not hard to envision that Andersen’s presence and influence will help ignite the fire of Frankston’s next generation of basketballers.

Frankston Blues vs Nunawading Spectres | Saturday, 17 April @ 7:30pm AEST [Watch Live]