Broekhoff could face United in NBL debut
Boomers NBA swingman Ryan Broekhoff could fittingly make his NBL debut for the South East Melbourne Phoenix in the Throwdown against cross-town rivals Melbourne United on March 10.
Broekhoff will be out of quarantine in Sydney on Sunday, March 7, leaving him two- and a-bit days to prepare for the United clash on the Wednesday.
The former Dallas and Philadelphia guard remains hopeful of playing against United, pending his second COVID test and how he is physically feeling heading into the clash.
“It looks around those dates that I’ll be cleared from quarantine, barring any setbacks,” Broekhoff told TAB Radio.
“As to when first game will be, that will be a discussion between myself, coach Simon Mitchell and the organisation just to make sure that I’m ready physically and comfortable to get back on the court.
“Then on the other side to make sure that I don’t interfere with any build-up or chemistry.
“I’ll get a couple of practices under my belt, and we will see how I go.”
Preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was a major reason why Ryan Broekhoff decided to sign with the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the rest of the NBL season. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Broekhoff has been busy keeping fit and studying video of how the Phoenix play while in quarantine in Sydney.
He knows there are high expectations to perform in the NBL, but he concedes he won’t be at his best straight away.
“It will take a few games to get comfortable and back to the level I want to be playing at,” he said.
“It is going to take a little bit of time to build a chemistry with my teammates and learn a whole new system.
“Once I get on the floor, it will be having a leadership role and being really vocal.
“The shooting and everything else will come after that.”
Broekhoff revealed he had been thinking about coming home since early January when multiple NBA opportunities didn’t eventuate.
“But things just kept getting dragged on and it got to a point where I had to put it into perspective what my goals are going forward,” he said.
“Playing in the (this year’s) Olympics is the biggest goal in my mind right now that I want to prepare for.
Broekhoff guarding one of the world’s best players, Team USA star Kevin Durant during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Picture: Mark RalstonSource:AFP
“So, sitting around not playing wasn’t the ideal preparation. We also turned down an opportunity to go to Europe, and with COVID complicating things, Australia is seen as leading the way with limited cases and being smart.
“It made sense to come back home, play with a great club and prepare for the Olympics.”
Broekhoff is looking forward to extended game time in the NBL after only receiving limited chances in the NBA.
“It was extremely tough,” he said about his time in the world’s best league.
“When I did get opportunity and minutes, I thought I was able to make an impact and produce.
“But those were few and far between and it made it hard to stay up and ready for games and opportunities because you just didn’t know when they could come.
“I just put my head down for that period of time and put in all the work, so when I got more opportunities, I’d be ready.
“Unfortunately, that just didn’t work out that way, and it was a tough period mentally just to keep grinding every day with not a lot of reward.”
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