A host of Australian big men this week confirmed as returning to Europe for the 2019/20 season, including the Milwaukee Bucks' NBA Summer League star Jock Landale.
Fellow big men Mangok Mathiang and Keanu Pinder have inked new news, joining another Australian forward in Brock Motum who will once again play in Europe this coming season. Eastern Eashington star forward Jesse Hunt will also join them, signing his first professional deal.
According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas, the window of opportunity for Jock Landale to take advantage of his NBA-opt out clause with new club Zalgiris Kaunas closed on 15 July 2019. So despite delivering an outstanding 18.3 points, 7 rebounds and 1.3 assists average across four games in Las Vegas, Landale's NBA aspirations must wait for another year.
Playing for Serbian side Partizan Belgrade last season, Landale averaged 11.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in the EuroCup and 12 points and 3.2 rebounds in the ABA Liga. He was signed by Brock Motum’s former EuroLeague Lithuanian outfit Žalgiris Kaunas on a “1+1” deal.
After a standout season with Vanoli Cremona in the Italian Serie A, Mathiang has signed a new deal with Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul and will play in Turkey in 2019/20.
Mathiang helped guide his team to a deserving win in the Italian Cup back in February, and has been one of the best centres across the league. He finished the regular season averaging a double double of 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, the latter mark being the third best in the league. He would go on to complete the season shooting 61.3% from the field which had him placed 4th in the competition.
Bahcesehir just missed the Turkish Super League playoffs last season, and along with the addition of Mathiang, are re-tooling for a chance to make the next step.
24-year old forward Keanu Pinder is set to return to Legia Warszawa in Poland as his team looks to make a playoff run next season.
Across 30 games last season, the forward provided 7.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, overcoming a rib injury sustained early in the season to finish off strongly.
Motum had previously signed a new deal with Spanish club Valencia on a 2 year deal.
Motum averaged 6.5 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 53.8% from inside the arc and 44% beyond as Anadolu Efes Istanbul finished second in the EuroLeague. Back in Turkey, Motum’s side also finished runners-up, posting an impressive 17.6 points and 5.47 rebounds per game, shooting at better than 60% from inside the arc and 43.14% beyond it despite limited opportunities.
Eastern Washington graduate Jesse Hunt has signed his first professional contract, making the transition to Turkey to play in the second division with Manisa Büyükşehir Belediyesi.
The 6'8 forward enjoyed a stellar senior year with the Eagles, posting career best numbers of 14.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He would go on to earn second team All-Big Sky honors for the Eagles and will be an asset on his new team.