AFTER a wretched run of injuries, Austen Flint is ready to make his mark on the United States college basketball scene.
Flint is about to embark on his fourth year at Oregon Tech Hustlin Owls in Portland, but a string of knee problems has hindered his court time.
An off-season trip back to Bendigo to spend time with family and friends has paid dividends.
“I saw a surgeon in Melbourne and he’s done a good job of cleaning my knee out,’’ Flint said yesterday.
“I missed the 2011-12 season because of the knee injury and that was the year we won the national championship.
“Last year I had a few niggles with it and when the surgeon had a look at it he said the cartliage was grinding away.
“The surgeon took out all the bad stuff and he’s confident I won’t have any more troubles with it.
“I’ve had two or three weeks of recovery now and it’s feeling good.”
Flint returns to the US this week, with pre-season training for the Owls to start on September 16 and the NAIA Division II season starts in early November.
The former Bendigo Braves guard still has three years of basketball with the Owls.
Despite his limited playing time last season, Flint’s ability and leadership skills have been recognised by veteran coach Danny Miles.
Flint is the first under classman in four years to be named as a co-captain of the Owls.
“We had a very young side last year, but about eight of those players are returning this season,’’ Flint said.
“Oregon Tech has been a power of the conference for many years... but last year we didn’t win as many games as we would have liked.
“There’s a not a great deal of expectation this year, but I’m confident we can surprise some people and be very competitive.”
Flint made his name as a point guard, but is hoping to play a mixture of roles this year.
“Last year I started in about nine games as point guard, but this year I’m hoping to play in the two or three spot a bit more,’’ he said.
“That gives me more chance to be on the court and the point guard and I seem to play really well together.”
Off the court, Flint is majoring in business management.
“I’m really enjoying my time over there,’’ he said.
“Study is going well and it’s a great basketball program.
“I wouldn’t change anything.”