Mason Bragg says he is not completely surprised by the events of last week which at present sees him without a basketball home for next season following Southern Huskies' withdrawal from the NZNBL.
The 25-year-old from Burnie, who was part of the Huskies' 18-games in the New Zealand competition, admitted on Monday there had sensed that things were not all well ahead of Friday's shock announcement of the club's decision to leave the state, which also saw the Hobart Huskies exit the NBL1.
The Huskies cited an "untenable" relationship with Basketball Tasmania that has deteriorated over the last month as the reason for their decision, with Basketball Tasmania's response on Saturday, via chief executive Chris McCoy, saying the club's level of debt had played a significant role.
The Huskies debts were rumoured to be somewhere around $750,000, which included footing the bill for New Zealand clubs to travel to Tasmanian home games at a believed cost of $20,000 per visit.
"I was sort of surprised, but not completely, as at the same time we had heard what was going on behind the scenes with their money problems.Mason Bragg
"I was sort of surprised, but not completely, as at the same time we had heard what was going on behind the scenes with their money problems," said Bragg, who admitted he only found out about the decision via social media.
"I know them putting up the NBL1 team was another big part of their budget, but it was their first go at, so I guess they may not have known what they were really getting into until they were probably halfway through the season.
"It was a bit of a shock to some of us, but at the same time when you first enter into a league in a different country for the first time, you are always going to have your hurdles and bumps, and I think that was just too tough for them to sustain in the long run as if they wanted to do something like this they would have wanted to do it at 100 per cent and not just skim through it every year.
"But to get the opportunity to play in the league, which is probably the highest level other than the NBL, was just great."
While the team, which failed to make the NZNBL finals, did not completely capture the hearts and minds with lower than expected crowd numbers, Bragg was confident if the Huskies had continued their New Zealand venture support would have grown.
"It was always going to take a couple of years of people to really buy into it,'' he said.
"We definitely has some regular people come to each game and some pretty good sponsors, so I do think if they did stay in the league and did improve on the way they were running things, I think more people would have jumped on board."
The fact no discussions had taken place about next season from the players' perspective also softened the blow for Bragg.
Even before that, the point guard said he had an "open mind" when it came to his future, saying a return to the North-West Thunder was something he would now consider.
"It is very early days, and there is a lot that can happen between now and the start of next season, so we will just take it as it comes, but I would be 100 per cent open to coming back and helping out the Thunder,'' he said.
"Especially when you look at the rebranding to NBL1, that looks pretty exciting with the way they are advertising it on social media, it does look like a great league to play in, so if I can play in that it would be great."
That lure of a Tasmanian team also has Bragg hopeful he can add to his 17 appearances at the top level, which came for the Perth Wildcats in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
As part of what was a huge week for Tasmanian basketball last week, NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman all but guaranteed Tasmania would be the league's 10th NBL club, potentially as early as the 2020-21 season.
"It is always in the back of my mind, but you have to look at it realistically with there being only nine teams in the competition at the moment, rosters spots aren't that easy to come by, so all you can do is work as hard as you can possibly can and put everything out on the floor, and if it happens it happens,'' he said.
"But with the Tasmanian team likely coming in I am very excited by that, which will be great for the state, so I will just focus on the next season in the NBL1 or whatever competition and then hopefully things fall in place and I can be a part of it."