Melbourne United have announced the signing of promising 24-year-old Australian forward Jack Purchase as a development player for their #NBL20 season.
Melbourne-born Purchase spent a season at the University of Auburn in 2014/15, before transferring to the University of Hawaii and playing three years with the Rainbow Warriors from 2016.
In his final year at the University of Hawaii in 2018/19, Purchase averaged 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 minutes per game, while shooting an impressive 38.5% on three-pointers.
During the 2018/19 campaign, Purchase started all 31 games and earned Big West second-team honours. He led the team in blocks and minutes per game, while sharing scoring honours and three-pointers made.
In a late season game against the Cal State Northridge Matadors, Purchase connected on a season-high six triples, showcasing his ability to shoot the lights out.
More recently, Purchase suited up for the Melbourne Tigers in four late-season NBL1 games in which he averaged 11.5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 18 minutes per game.
United Head Coach Dean Vickerman noted that the Club has kept an eye on Purchase for some time.
“He attended our rookie camp in my first year when he was back from college, so we’ve kept an eye on him and obviously he shot the ball really well at Hawaii in his last couple of seasons,” he said.
“Once he joined the NBL1, we got to see him and get some comparisons from college to how he looked at NBL1 level.
“He showed the ability to really stretch the floor as a four-man and still play at the three as well – we’re not comparing him to Dave Barlow, but he does some similar things that Barlow is capable of doing.”
The 206cm forward is the son of Nigel Purchase, who played over 250 games in the NBL, while his mother Simone played for Bulleen in the WNBL.
Vickerman spoke about being impressed as Purchase showcased his wares in talent-filled United workouts.
“In the workouts, we got him to go against Joe Ingles, to go against Jack White, and he was really competitive against those guys – that was kind of the sealing for us to take him on,” he said.
“For NBL level, there’s still some areas of work with his body and I think Nik Popovic (United High Performance Manager) will make some changes to his body throughout the year. He does some things that are NBL level right now and he’s got some areas of work.”
Purchase will give United further depth in a frontcourt that already boasts the likes of Shawn Long, Alex Pledger, Dave Barlow and Tohi Smith-Milner.
Starting your NBL career as a development player has proven to be a hugely successful pathway for United players, with current fully-contracted players Sam McDaniel and Tohi Smith-Milner having started out as development players.
McDaniel and Smith-Milner have both developed greatly over their time with Melbourne and showcase the great opportunity that presents development players at United.