WITH the NBL season only a couple of months away, the Brisbane Bullets have made waves across the league, signing a pair of impressive international players, including one NBA hopeful. Spanish guard Tom Digbeu has joined the side as a part of the NBL’s Next Stars program, a pathway that has potential to lead to the NBA. Brisbane has also announced the addition China’s Chuanxing Liu, as the league’s relationship with FIBA’s Asian region grows. Liu will also be the tallest player in league history at 225cm (7 ft 5 in).
Digbeau joins the league from BC Prienai in the Lithuanian Basketball League, which is held in high regard. He had a strong junior career through FC Barcelona’s basketball academy, before moving to BC Preinai. His father, Alain, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1997 NBA draft. Digbeu hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps, eligible for the 2023 NBA draft.
The NBL has seen multiple NBA draftees opt for the league over the USA’s collegiate system, such as LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton and Josh Giddey. With international stars emerging across the NBA, particularly Luka Doncic, the gates are opening for international talents around the world to make the world’s biggest league, a goal firmly in Digbeu’s sights.
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger says the league is thrilled to host NBA hopefuls, with Digbeu a welcome addition.
“The NBL has never been stronger and its status in world basketball has never been more prominent. The league has proven itself as a legitimate and consistent pathway to the NBA and it is now a prime destination for top young players from all around the world.
“Digbeu has strong basketball pedigree and possesses all the tools to be an NBA player. We look forward to watching his development at Brisbane this season as he joins a new and exciting group of Bullets.”
With the NBL 2021-22 season just over two months away, Digbeu told of his eagerness to join the Bullets for the upcoming campaign.
“The Bullets will give me a real chance to develop as a player and as a young man.
“The NBL is very well known around the world for its competitiveness, and I know that I will have to play at my maximum level of effort to deserve playing time. This is what I promise to my new club and to the fans, that I will work at my top level every single day.”
Liu should also give both Bullets and NBL fans cause for excitement, with the rebounding machine coming off a career-best season for the Qingdao Eagles, averaging 9.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while participating as a part of China’s Olympic qualifier team.