‘I know I’m better’: Landale shrugs off snub

Melbourne United star Jock Landale isn’t worried about missing out on an MVP nomination, insisting “I know I’m better than those guys” as the big man focuses on using the NBL playoffs as a platform to the NBA.

Landale was a controversial omission from the MVP race featuring Bryce Cotton (Perth), Tyler Harvey (Illawarra) and Nathan Sobey (Brisbane), but his team-first mentality means he is content to place the championship as a priority.

He also revealed he has received “a lot” of NBA interest this season, so he wants to perform in the finals for United to secure a contract.

Melbourne United big man Jock Landale missed out on an MVP nomination despite a dominant maiden season in the Australian league. Picture: Martin Keep / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The bigger picture of an NBL title and cracking into the NBA is why Landale is prepared to put his MVP disappointment to the side.

“I wasn’t shocked, I wasn’t offended, honestly I know how good I am, and I think most people do, where missing out on the MVP didn’t affect me in the slightest,” said Landale, who also hailed the MVP “more of a scoring award”.

“I looked at this list and hats off to those guys first and foremost, but I looked at it and said, ‘Man, I’m better than these guys. Whatever.

“I’m happy that they got it, but I knew coming into this season that I was going to have to give up that kind of stuff just to focus on a championship with the depth that we have.

“In my mind I can go out there and put up numbers like those guys did, no worries, but that is not what is best for my team.

“If I’m getting double teamed on the post, sure I can turn and shoot a fadeaway, but I wouldn’t feel like there was a need because there is a guy who shoots the piss out of the ball standing on the other side of the court by himself. And being one of the guys that was preaching it, I can’t sit around and cry anymore.”

United’s home semi-final against arch rivals the Phoenix at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Friday will have no crowd, following Melbourne’s Covid-19 outbreak.

Landale concedes it isn’t ideal to play a finals game without fans, but believes the behind closed doors set up will suit his team as it mirrors most of their intense training sessions.

“We are a team that when we practice, it’s behind closed doors, there is no one there and it’s a bloodbath,” he said.

“I mean, we just get after each other so hard, and guys have gone after each other personally.

“Using myself as an example, Chris (Goulding) and I have got into it at times during practices just because we are both competitors and we try and push each to bring the best out in each other.

“I feel as though that is what our training environment does. If you don’t rock up ready to go, someone is going to call your arse out and push you to bring out your best.

“I feel like that is the most intense times that we play, so I feel like no fans suits us because it brings out the best in us and really generates our own energy and atmosphere.”

Melbourne United star Jock Landale places an NBL championship and NBA interest over a league MVP nomination. Picture: Paul Kane / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Landale anticipates the Phoenix to play with a point to prove, given the basketball community has predicted United to dominate in the finals.

“It is going to be huge – the Phoenix always bring their best and step it up a notch when we play, so we are expecting their best hit,” he said.

“But I like this match up for us, even though they have managed to get on top of us twice this season.

“They are a team that we match up really well with and I’m confident with the guys I’m playing with going into this game.

“Down a three-game series, I don’t think their depth is going to hang with ours.”

United takes on the Phoenix in Game 1 of their semi-final series in Sydney from 7.30pm on Friday night.

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