Jock Landale lured to Europe, signs with Partizan

After weeks of uncertainty surrounding his basketball journey, 23 year old Australian centre Jock Landale has landed a professional contract in Europe in signing with Serbian team Partizan Belgrade.

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Landale said his decision to play in Europe was driven by a desire to improve and gain experience playing professional level basketball.

"A lot of [Australians] go to Europe for three or four years and try to make their mark there, build their confidence, build their bodies and get used to playing against men in elite competitions.”

The chance to potentially play as a starting centre was another huge factor in Landale’s decision. For the Melburnian, the possibility of playing big minutes in Europe was far more appealing that playing limited minutes coming off the bench in the NBA or playing in the G-League.

"[Partizan] told me there was an open spot in my position and I was going to have a really good chance of slotting right in there, and they were going to run things through me and try to use me as a go-to guy," added Landale.

Landale will have plenty of opportunities to hone his craft while with Partizan, who have a long history of boasting successful Australians. Centre Aleks Maric enjoyed a meteroic rise upon arriving at Partizan, while Nathan Jawai and Tom Wilson enjoyed brief stints there more recently. The highly decorated team competes in a number of competitions, including the Adriatic League, EuroCup and the Basketball League of Serbia.

Overlooked in this years NBA draft, the 211 centimetre big man played four seasons at Saint Mary’s College where he developed into one of their top players. By his senior year, Landale had blossomed into an imposing force, averaging 21.1 points on 64% shooting accuracy, 10.2 rebounds and 2 assists.

The WCC Player of the Year linked with the Atlanta Hawks for NBA Summer League. During his nine games for the Hawks, Landale averaged 5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist while playing alongside star rookie Trae Young.

Following the Summer League, Landale was presented with opportunities undertake pre-season training with Utah, Charlotte and Milwaukee; all of whom offered non-guaranteed deals. Instead, he elected to take the same route as Aron Baynes and Ryan Broekhoff before him to play professionally in Europe, before trying to break into the NBA again. Both Baynes and Broekhoff played multiple seasons in Europe, before venturing back to America to reach their goals of playing NBA basketball.

Partizan’s EuroCup campaign is set to begin in October, with Partizan playing Italian team Aquila Trento on October 3, with Landale set to feature as a key part of their plans.