How Jock Landale put NBA aspirations on hold to chase NBL championship with Melbourne United

If Jock Landale followed his head this season, he would have left mid-season to take up an NBA offer.

Thankfully for Melbourne United, Landale followed his heart and remained in Australia to claim an NBL championship.

The affable centre has been brilliant in his maiden NBL season following successful stints in Europe.

Landale has been so impressive that he has attracted interest from overseas during the season, including the NBA.

Jock Landale has been brilliant for Melbourne United this season as he closes in on an NBL championship. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Receiving interest from America is particularly tempting, but the talented 25-year-old struggled to part ways with what he was building at a star-studded United side.

On Friday night, Landale’s loyalty will pay off if United beat Perth in Game 3 at John Cain Arena.

“There were things (offers) that came up during the year and there was always a part of me that was like, I don’t know how I’d feel about leaving now,” Landale said.

“So, to be here and finally on the final stage playing in front of our crowd is special.

“As professional basketballers, it is rare to do. There are so many leagues around the world and so many different cities to find yourself in, but to be here in Melbourne in front of my family and friends on my home court is amazing.

“Now it is about putting all that behind you to get the job done.”

Landale has made no secret about his desire to make the NBA.

The Melbourne-born big is certainly capable of joining the world’s best league based on his impressive all-round game.

Landale, though, knows his NBA prospects will only be enhanced with strong performances in the NBL grand final series and for the Boomers at the Olympics.

“I’ve got to go out and try and win a medal with the Olympics first,” he said.

“Whatever happens after this year, I’ll be stoked to be here playing with Melbourne United.

“It (the NBA or Europe) depends on Covid and what offers on the table, there will be a big decision to be made.”

For now, Landale is locked in on helping United beat Perth to claim another championship.

He expects the Wildcats to come out hard with their season on the line trialling 2-0 in the best-of-five grand final series.

“It is so hard to close out a series of basketball because one team comes in feeling like they have a bit of a cushion, and the other team knows that their backs are against the wall,” Landale said.

“For me, my mindset is that I have to take it to another level and make sure that rubs off on the other guys and we all recognise that we all have to step it up another notch.

“We know Perth sure as hell will, so my mindset is all about winning my match up and making sure I do even more than I have done in the first two games of the series.”

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman is urging his charges to put their foot on Perth’s throat and finish the NBL grand final series on Friday. Photo: Will Russell/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

United coach Dean Vickerman also wants his side to put its foot on Perth’s throat and finish off the grand final series in style.

“At times I feel at this club, we’ve had leads and things where we’ve had an advantage and we’ve just taken a little breathe,” Vickerman said.

“I want this to be a change and I want us to be absolutely relentless for every possession and to really take this next step.”

If United happen to close out the grand final series with a win over Perth on Friday night, Landale is anticipating plenty of tears.

“I don’t know how to feel now, but I’m sure the emotions will flood out on the night,” he said.

“(A championship) would mean a lot.

“I came in at the start of the season verbalising very vocally how I felt about the season and the group we’ve put together.

“So, to be in the position we are now with a chance to win a championship is massive for us.”

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