Taranaki local Dane Brooks cannot wait to get be back playing serious basketball after having last year cut short due to illness.
The 23-year-old only played nine games in 2019 before falling ill and suffering from chronic fatigue. Doctors diagnosed him postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS sickness).
Brooks says it was scary at how quickly his condition changed within a matter of weeks.
“It was really weird because I was playing basketball without any hassle one day and then after a few days with a slight cold I was getting really tired just walking around the house.
“When I went to get checked out, initially they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me which you can imagine isn’t great to hear.
“I also got pretty down because I felt I was in a good place on the court and then out of nowhere it gets taken away from me.”
Despite playing less than half the season, he was still nominated for both the Most Improved and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
His strong performances were also evident in his numbers, where he averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds per game.
Those numbers and his form had him thinking beyond the domestic season and onwards to that of an ANBL contract.
“It’s funny because I wasn’t taking basketball all that serious up until the end of 2018,” Brooks says.
“From there I started to take my training more seriously and hopefully with a bit of hard work I can achieve some of my goals.
Brooks was fortunate to have access to a hoop during the lockdown and was working on his skills. However, he does admit that nothing compares to a proper scrimmage.
“I was doing some things here and there, but you aren’t really testing yourself when you’re alone.
“Having the NBL back this year is a bit of a lifesaver for me because I didn’t have much else planned outside of working on basketball.
“I know it’s not going to be the same as previous years, but it’s still going to be competitive and a chance to get better.”
For many fans around the Sal's NBL, the sight of Dane Brooks back on court will be something to savour when the competition tips off on Tuesday 23 June.
Want to register for the draft? Registrations for the Player Draft open on Monday 25 May.
Want to know how the Sal's NBL Draft will work? Click HERE.