Springwood basketball player Louis Brandt’s career is on the rise after being selected as a development player with the Sydney Kings NBL franchise.
Brandt suited up for the Kings in a exhibition game against the University of New Mexico last night (Tuesday) at the Bankstown Basketball Stadium, and will back up against Butler University on Thursday night at Newington College.
The 20-year-old was at his job in TV production in Sydney a fortnight ago when he got the phone call from Kings head coach Shane Heal to say he was in the development squad after taking part in a three-day trial camp in June.
“The boys there [at work] were pretty stoked. We had a couple of beers to celebrate,” he said.
Brandt was quick to share the news with his older brother Angus, who plays basketball for Oregon State University in the United States.
“He was over the moon, he was rapt,” he said.
Brandt recently graduated with a Certificate IV in Film and Television, but the Penrith Panthers power forward will now spend most of his time with the Kings squad, working on personal development and team scrimmages. While securing one of only two development squad spots is no guarantee of a position in the permanent team, Brandt is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
“Seeing how hard they train and work . . . it definitely makes me really hungry,” he said.
Brandt was on court for the the Penrith Panthers senior men’s basketball team on Sunday when they edged one step closer to the upcoming playoff series with an 81-57 win over the Central Coast Crusaders at the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre, Cambridge Park.
Life had not seemed so rosy just fourteen hours earlier however, after the Panthers had fallen 70-59 to the Sydney City Comets on Saturday night at the Alexandria Sports Stadium. Round Nineteen of the Waratah Championship League (WCL) competition had also not been kind to the Penrith women, who fell 59-47 to the Comets in the opening game of the night.
The Penrith women had two bad quarters and that was all the playoff-bound Comets needed to secure a vital win, leaving the Panthers to rue yet another game which got away from them in a matter of minutes.
Penrith struggled for shooting touch against the Comets in the men’s game but kept in touch throughout the first three quarters, only to fall behind in the final term.
Sunday’s clash with the Crusaders therefore took on extra significance, with the Panthers needing a win to separate themselves from a circling pack of teams, all chasing a scant two spots in the playoff series.
Brandt had been the star performer for the Panthers against the Comets but Ben Ellsworth struck form against the Crusaders, pacing the Panthers all game as the two teams staged an enthralling arm wrestle in the first two quarters.
Ben Kearins joined in the point-scoring exploits in the third term, as the Panthers edged ahead 54-43 to set up the eventual 24-point win.
The Panthers head north to Maitland on Saturday and will be looking for wins in both the men’s and women’s divisions.