Boomers star sees boom time for NBL
AUSTRALIAN Boomers star and recent Melbourne United signing Chris Goulding believes the sport Down Under is ready to reach the same lofty heights of the 1990s.
Goulding has every reason to be optimistic basketball can flourish in this country like it once did, after the striking of a landmark television deal.
Every game of the upcoming NBL season will be shown live on Fox Sports from Wednesdays through Sundays - the best television broadcast deal in the competition's history.
The five-year agreement with Fox begins with the season opener on October 7, when the Adelaide 36ers will host reigning champions the New Zealand Breakers.
The NBL's new executive director Larry Kestelman has made a strong impression already, following a successful $6 million takeover of the struggling competition.
He has assisted Wollongong, Townsville and the 36ers in bouncing back from uncertain futures, and Goulding's return to the NBL is just one of many big contract deals for this season.
A stack of other big names, such as former NBA star Josh Childress, MVPs Brian Conklin, Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney, AJ Ogilvy, Nathan Jawai, Ebi Ere and Julian Khazzouh are all coming back to play Down Under.
This has Goulding - returning after some solid performances in the Spanish ACB league with CAI Zaragoza - believing the NBL can soon return to its heady days.
"With this new TV deal, this is the most buzz I've seen for an upcoming NBL season in a long time," Goulding told APN.
"I think the sport can really take off, and we saw proof of that in Melbourne for the Boomers' recent series against New Zealand, when we played in front of a sellout crowd of 15,000 people.
"The new owners have brought along some key changes which are good, including a shorter season, which means players can go back to Europe or South America afterwards, if they wish."
Goulding was one of the NBL's leading scorers in 2013/14 with the Melbourne Tigers. He also starred in Australia's Oceania Championship-series win over New Zealand, which qualified the Boomers for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He has joined a Melbourne United squad featuring fellow danger men Nate Tomlinson, Daniel Kickert, Todd Blanchfield and David Barlow.
"It's a team loaded with talent and we certainly won't be looking to come fourth or sixth," Goulding said.
"There's been a drought of success in Melbourne for a while now and we want to fill that void."