Kilsyth junior Joel Naburgs has returned to the Cobras for the 2021 NBL1 season.
The former SEABL superstar returns to his home club following four years away from the sport as he took on the challenge of pursuing a football career. From 2013 to 2016, Naburgs was a standout for the Cobras in the SEABL, boasting averages of 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. His best season came in 2014, when led the Cobras to the SEABL conference championship game and was named to the All-SEABL team (19.0ppg/6.5rpg/3.0apg). Over the next two seasons Naburgs continued to rank amongst the league leaders in scoring and three point makes, while establishing himself as an elite rebounder and defender on the perimeter.
In 2017 Naburgs stepped away from basketball in his prime to test himself in football, and after satisfying his itch on the footy field, the 6’3 guard is thrilled to be back home at Kilsyth.
“The years I spent playing footy was incredible; it was a game that I always wanted to give a crack and loved every second of it,” Naburgs said.
“But being able to step back onto the court rekindle my love for the game of basketball again – I’m happy to be back. Kilsyth is my home; I could never imagine representing any other club.”
Cobras head coach Pete Godfrey made signing with the former Stetson University standout a priority, having actively recruiting Naburgs since late 2019. And with the slashing guard finding his legs in preseason, Godfrey believes Naburgs will prove to be a fan-favourite once again, while his experience and leadership is set to give a youthful guard rotation a big boost.
“Joel is still a savvy baller, and literally session by session we are witnessing his game return,” Godfrey said.
“His former college and SEABL experience will be an invaluable asset on game day, and his quiet words of wisdom to our younger guard brigade is already paying dividends on the practice floor. I am looking forward to working with Joel again as we retool the roster for the future, and I am certain that simply having him on the roster will bring the Kilsyth faithful out on a Saturday night.”
With Godfrey assembling a team featuring predominantly Cobra junior players, Naburgs pointed to the team’s chemistry as a strength as they approach the tip-off of the 2021 season. The former Eastern Eagles domestic star reunites with veteran centre Tim Lang, with the pair forming a formidable inside-out combo from 2013 to 2016. While Naburgs and Lang were dominating the SEABL, current teammates Ben Ursich, Jorden Adnam, Adi Tomada were getting it done at the VYC level, winning a state championship in 2015 with Godfrey at the helm.
“The chemistry with this squad is amazing,” Naburgs remarked.
“It’s great mix of guys. I am reuniting with some old teammates I used to play with, and also finally getting to play with some of the young fellas that I never got to play with before.”
Naburgs and the Cobras tip-off their 2021 NBL1 regular season at home on Saturday April 17, when they play host to the Waverley Falcons.
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