Bendigo's Jontee Brown earns overseas basketball contract

Jontee Brown will play wheelchair basketball professionally in Germany later this year. Picture: KIERAN ILES
Jontee Brown will play wheelchair basketball professionally in Germany later this year. Picture: KIERAN ILES

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JONTEE Brown’s dream of playing basketball overseas is about to take flight.

The 20-year-old from Bendigo will play his first professional wheelchair basketball season with German team RBC Koln 99ers.

Brown will join the Cologne-based team in September at the end of his National Wheelchair Basketball League season with Kilsyth Cobras.

Brown, who is averaging nearly 15 points and 17 rebounds this national season, said it had always been a dream of his to play overseas.

“Whether it was the States or Europe, I was keen to go somewhere overseas,” he said.

“I got a few different offers from clubs, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when we played a national league game in Perth, one of my team-mates, who played over in Germany, and I got chatting about it.

“I was keen to make myself better and improve my game, especially with Tokyo 2020 not too far around corner, and see this as a way to get more games under my belt and do that.

“It will be very exciting and a very different experience to playing in Bendigo and Melbourne and living in Australia.”

I look forward to the challenge of getting out of my comfort zone and travelling.”

The German season starts in September, with Brown expected to make the move in late August.

It’s the latest accolade for the affable sportsman, who has previously represented the Australian Spinners Under-23 team at the world championships in Canada last year.

Asked to rate his knowledge of the German language, Brown laughed before he suggested it was “terrible”.

“It’s not good at all; I’ve started to try and learn a little bit of German. It’s a hard slog, but we’ll get there,” he said.

“I’ve learned a few words here and there, but it could be a struggle.

“There will be a few other Australians over there playing, so things won’t be too bad.”

Brown, who has reactive arthritis in his left leg, is not confined to a wheelchair, but combines its use with crutches.

The humble youngster, who trains most days at the Bendigo West stadium, said he was grateful for the support he continues to receive from Bendigo Stadium Limited and the Braves in pursuing his career.

“The support I receive from the BSL is tremendous,” he said.

“BSL’s world-class facilities are something that athletes in our community are every lucky to have,”

Brown averaged 9.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in a win and a loss for Kilsyth in Brisbane on the weekend.

The Cobras are currently third on the ladder with 17 points and trail only Wollongong RollerHawks and their opponents from the weekend, Queensland Spinning Bullets.