This year has given Jock Landale a taste of what he has been missing out on.
The rising Australian Boomers big man spent the past European season in Serbia closing out his first professional season with Partizan Belgrade, where his strong form earned him a national team debut against Kazakhstan and a stint with Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Summer League.
With both the Boomers and Bucks, Landale showed he was ready to play at those higher levels, and the prospect of playing again in those sides makes the Victorian product desperate to continue impressing.
Eyes on the prize: Australian Boomer Jock Landale with the FIBA World Cup trophy in Melbourne on Wednesday.Credit:AAP
When it comes to the Boomers, the 211-centimetre centre will have every chance to press his claims to make the side for the FIBA World Cup in China and the lead-up games against USA and Canada next month.
He faces stiff competition to make the final roster but will embrace the challenge.
"There are a few nerves going into camp and after playing in Kazakhstan with a few of those guys … I didn't realise how important it was to me until I played with the green and gold on," Landale said.
"It's something I have to go in there with a degree of confidence, find out where I can help the team and learn as much as I can."
The Bucks were very impressed with Landale as he scored in double-figures in all four games during Summer League, including a 25-point, 10-rebound performance against Philadelphia.
Multiple NBA clubs have expressed interest in Landale, but the NBA may have to wait another year as he had already signed on with Lithuanian power Zalgiris Kaunas.
If there is a way for Landale to chase his NBA dream this year, he will take it with both hands – but if it proves too difficult, he will grit his teeth and battle through another "10-month grind" in Europe.
Boomer Jock Landale dunks against Kazakhstan in February.
"The Summer League was a big confidence boost for me," Landale said.
"I'd heard Luka Doncic say Europe was a lot tougher [to get open] than the NBA and I didn’t believe that until I got to the Summer League and everything opened up for me.
"I was kind of hesitant with my shot in that first game. One of the coaches with the Bucks told me he wanted 15 three-point attempts from me each game, but I was nowhere close to that.
"It was weird to be that open but it put me in the spotlight and a few teams were talking about giving me offers."
Landale couldn't bring himself to rest too much after Summer League.
"Being out there amongst that system and seeing I could play at that level was a massive boost, it made me want to be over there doing this," Landale said.
"There is a lot of factors in me wanting to be in America playing in the NBA. It's the best league in the world.
"I should have been there this year but unfortunately it couldn't. I'm excited to make that happen in the next two years and I believe it will."
The FIBA World Cup trophy made a visit to Melbourne on Wednesday with the tournament just over a month from its opening games on August 31.
For Landale, he is just focused on doing his best in Boomers training camp early next month and enjoying his longest stint at home in Australia since his teenage years.
"I used to be out at Andrew Bogut's basketball academy out near Frankston, so to now be putting on a jersey alongside him and getting to learn from those NBA guys – that's one of the things I'm really exciting about," Landale said.
"I want to learn as much as I can from those guys, as that's how we grow as basketballers – we teach each other little things in the game and we'll see what happens."
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