NBL: Three college returnees ready to make an instant impact
With more and more Australians and New Zealanders starring in the NCAA, those returning to the NBL are increasingly ready to contribute.
Every season, the NBL’s rookie classes become more and more impressive. The Next Stars program has drawn high level overseas players into the league, and the growth of the game in Australia and New Zealand has seen more and more homegrown talent move through the local pathways.
Maybe the biggest change, though, has been the influx of players returning from the NCAA. Not only are four-year graduates coming home, more players are opting to end their college careers earlier to start their professional journey. This year’s class of college returnees is as strong as any, with seven locals moving from NCAA programs to NBL clubs.
While all have the upside to have outstanding NBL careers, some are more ready to make an instant impact than others. Part of that is down to the player’s ability, along with their physical profile, and a lot relies on the opportunities they will be given by their new teams. With all of those factors put together, these three rookies could have a big say on their team’s fortunes in NBL24.
An important note: Taran Armstrong is clearly the highest profiled college returnee, and he would be the presumptive favourite to win Rookie of the Year if such an award still existed. He won’t be covered here, though, as everything you need to know about the new Taipans point guard can be found in Jordan McCallum’s excellent deep dive, which is publicly available.
Josh Bannan, Brisbane Bullets
After flying under the radar somewhat during his time in the NCAA, Josh Bannan is quickly becoming a hot name in Australian basketball.
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