NBL Next Gen Camp a confidence booster for North West Thunder’s Mason Bragg

BRAD COLE  (@BJCole10)   THE ADVOCATE   Mason Bragg says his time at this week’s NBL Next Gen Camp was a confidence-boosting experience as he looks to get himself back on a NBL roster.

But with the reality of there only being a handful of spots available on NBL lists, Bragg said he knew it wouldn’t be easy to restart his career at that level after spending the past two seasons at the Perth Wildcats. 

“It was really good to have the opportunity to have all eight NBL coaches in the one room watching me play, as it is definitely something you don’t get everyday, so it was good to have that exposure,’’ said Bragg, who was part of the Wildcats’ championship winning team in 2017.

“I think I did really well there and was able to show that I am one of the best guards outside of the NBL at the moment, and I do feel like I have done the best I can to put myself on a NBL roster.

“To be honest, there are probably only a few spots left, so then you have to take into account that some clubs are probably looking for more ‘bigs’ than guards, you probably only have maybe two or three, or even less than that, realistically, for a guard, especially an Aussie guard instead of an import guard.

“So it is a tough gig at the moment, but all I can do is the best that I can to put myself in contention and try to control the controllables out there.  It is disappointing there aren’t more spots available, but to be honest, I’ve just got to play as hard as a I can to give myself a chance.

“Even if they don’t sign me, for them to have my name on their list is still a pretty big thing.” 

With no official signing period as such in the NBL, Bragg said now it was just a case of “waiting by the phone” for any potential offers.

If he does not get on a list initially other options including being an injury replacement, which was how he originally found himself at the Wildcats, or being a training player with a club next season. 

It is disappointing there aren’t more spots available, but to be honest, I’ve just got to play as hard as I can to give myself a chance.

Mason Bragg

“There’s a few different options, even though I am too old to be a development player, there are two or three other options available apart from being on a NBL list which will allow me to be involved with a club next season.” 

In the meantime though Bragg said he would continue to “stress less about the little things” and will turn his focus towards continuing his strong from in the SEABL for the North-West Tall Timbers Thunder.

Bragg is having a fine season for the 5-4 Thunder, who sit in ninth place on the SEABL ladder, and was named in the SEABL team of the week this week.

He is averaging 20.1 pointers per game and 6.4 rebounds per game, and can see one clear area of improvement in his game since returning this season to the competition.

“’I’ve been pretty happy with how I have been playing in the SEABL,’’ Bragg said.

“That’s not just down to myself, but Sam (coach Sam Armstrong) as well to let me run the show a bit more and the big thing for me is that I have learned to become more of a strong offensive player, be more offensive on the offensive end and shoot the ball more as I’ve worked on my shooting a fair bit.

“I know that NBL clubs are looking not just for someone who can go out and shoot 30 points every night, but can lead the team even if they are not scoring.  I think my defence is another thing that I like to show coaches that I can do that and I have been doing that at the SEABL level and have been able to play defence end to end.”

The Thunder will return to the court at Ulverstone Sports and Recreation Centre on Saturday at 7.30pm when they host Ballarat, who sit in third spot with a 6-1 record.

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