Yesterday it was ‘return of the Mak’. Today we’re thrilled to share the ‘return of the Zac’.
After spending time with the Adelaide 36ers in 2019, athletic big man Zac Gattorna was a key of our team in the early weeks of the 2020 West Coast Classic season before his commitments with the 36ers took him back to Adelaide.
He’ll be back in Redbacks colours in 2021, however, and his eyes are fixed firmly on two prizes: an NBL1 Championship and a shot at realising his NBL dream.
Coach CJ Jackson is excited to have him back:
“With him being in the line-up he adds so much to us. He has developed physically working with the 36ers and is able to score with the best of them in the league. He brings significant offensive firepower to our team.”
On training with the 36ers Zac says:
“It was really good to be in a professional environment with no other focus but basketball. I had all the tools that I needed to succeed and I just tried to take advantage of it all between personal training at the gym, hitting the court and training with Joey Wright as much as I possibly could. I had as many individual sessions with him as I could as well as Kevin Brooks and other experienced guys on the team. It was massive for me.”
Joey Wright in particular was a huge influence:
“He is a great coach, a great mentor and he really helped me with my development in trying to reach that next level. He showed me what I needed to and where I needed to be – the tricks of the trade I guess you could say. He was the guy for me.”
With the ultimate prize being a shot at an NBL roster spot, Zac’s thrilled the SBL competition has joined the NBL1 family:
“The exposure for me to be seen by more people wasn’t there when it was SBL. Now that it is NBL1 and given that all the games will be shown live with a lot more media behind it, it’s a massive incentive for me to stay in WA.
I’m looking forward to working on my body until January, and then getting into pre-season training on the court every day. It’s really exciting because I know I’m capable and it’s definitely on me about how much effort I put in and manage my time.”
Despite the NBL focus, success closer to home is definitely on his mind:
“There have been a lot of discussions at training already. With most of the roster already locked away, we feel we have a team that’s definitely going to be able to get to that final four and be up there in contention for the Grand Final as long as we make sure we gel well, run our plays and communicate well. If we do that, we’ll be good to go.”
We love the sound of that and we’re looking forward to seeing what Zac’s singular focus on basketball over coming months will bring to the team. NBL1 Director Nathan Barns is already sounding the warning for opposition teams:
“Watch out for Zac in 2021. I have never seen him so determined. It is such a pleasure to have him in our program with the NBL experience he provides. After a shortened West Coast Classic campaign I’m looking forward to what Zac can achieve over a full season.”