Sports

Landale out to help United to NBL title

Jock Landale has put the blinkers on to focus on helping Melbourne United get off to a winning NBL start, even though he may not be around to help them lift the trophy.

The Boomers big man isn’t hiding from the fact that he wants to play in the NBA and has an out clause in his one-year United contract should a guaranteed offer arise.

But until that happens Landale, 25, has told his agent to keep him out of it.

“If an NBA team comes calling any time before 75 per cent of the season is up, then I can go over there for a really small buy-out,” Landale told AAP of his contract.

“The last I heard from my agent was when I locked in with Melbourne and I said to him, for my own mental health, can you now leave me out of this process and don’t tell me anything unless there’s something that’s there to sign.

“I was getting so wrapped up in it about who was interested and what could happen that I couldn’t focus with a whole bunch of maybes thrown at me.

“I’m just trying to live in the moment and enjoying being back home with my family.”

Landale moved straight from high school in Victoria to a US college scholarship and then Europe, with stints in the NBA Summer League, so has never played in the NBL.

He has at this stage ruled out a return to Europe, where he starred with Lithuanian outfit Zalgiris last season.

Local fans got a taste of his ability with a break-out performance in Australia’s two-game series against the US in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup, where he helped the Boomers to a fourth-placed finish.

The 211cm Landale said he can’t see Melbourne, who won the 2018 NBL title, being beaten with the season getting under way January 10.

On hearing of his signing to join a squad that includes Chris Goulding, Mitch McCarron and Scotty Hopson, retired superstar Andrew Bogut anointed them title favourites.

“It’s a monster of a line-up and I have monstrous expectations for this team,” Landale said.

“Having seen how good we can be when we’re on I think we have the potential to go undefeated.

“It will be so hard for teams to beat us… there’s really no weak spots.”

United open the season against South East Melbourne Phoenix in Bendigo.

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