NBA draft pick wants game time with Tigers
After getting less court time in the NBA than the cheerleaders, former top 10 draft pick Jonny Flynn's move to the Melbourne Tigers is all about getting back to playing.
The 23-year-old point guard has joined the Tigers in the NBL to jump-start a career that once promised basketball super-stardom.
Flynn was the No.6 pick in the 2009 NBA draft after setting records in college basketball with Syracuse University.
As a point of reference, Melbourne Tigers and Boomers favourite Patty Mills was picked at No.55 in the same draft.
But a hip injury that required surgery after his rookie year with Minnesota left him sidelined and he was then bounced through three other NBA clubs.
Flynn, who will suit up against Adelaide at Hisense Arena on Friday night, is desperate for some consistent court time in the NBL.
"The cheerleaders got on the court more than me," said Flynn when asked about his recent NBA experience.
"I was on the sideline for a long time."
He didn't want to expand on why his career stalled only to say that the NBA was a "big business" and things happened that were out of his control.
Turning his back on bigger offers in China and Europe, Flynn said money never entered the equation.
"I came to a point where I just wanted to play," he said.
"You can't get better if you're not playing basketball.
"I just want to get back to playing basketball and (Tigers' coach) Chris (Anstey) has given me a great opportunity to go out and get back to doing the things I'm used to doing."
Anstey admitted he was initially cautious when contacted by Flynn's manager Leon Rose but had been impressed by his humility since arriving in Melbourne at the weekend.
"We learnt a lot from the A-League that it can be a really important thing for the sport to have someone of such high calibre join one of the teams," Anstey said.
"It doesn't guarantee success because, at the end of the day, we're a 1-4 basketball team really wanting to climb that ladder as quickly as possible.
"Jonny represents part of an opportunity to do that."
The inclusion of Flynn meant the Tigers had to cut another import, Kevin Braswell, whose impact had been hampered by knee trouble.
Flynn said he wanted to put on a show for NBL fans and "mess with everybody".
He was happy to have a target on his back.
"You're a competitor - you're prepared for anything," he said.
"Definitely guys are going to look at me like that but I'm going to still go out there and compete like anybody else so they've got to be ready themselves."