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From Unlikely Offer to School Records: Naar’s Saint Mary’s Journey

Illawarra Hawks youngster Emmett Naar has revealed Saint Mary’s was the only college to offer him a scholarship.

Coming out of the AIS Centre of Excellence program in Canberra, Naar’s college prospects were looking slim until a final late offer from Saint Mary’s saved him and sent him packing to one of the best schools for breeding professional Australian basketball players. 

“I had always known about Saint Mary’s as I’m sure most Australians growing up had,” Naar told the Gibbo Goes One-On-One podcast.

“I thought that would be my priority but honestly, when I got to the stage of wanting to go to college, they were my only offer at the time, which was really lucky.

“They came in real late. It was in July I think, and I don’t know massive amounts about the recruiting process, but I think at that stage most teams have got all their scholarships sorted.

“They happened to have a free one, so I ended up getting the offer pretty late and had no other options, so I wasn’t going to say no to it.

“I’m glad it worked out at Saint Mary’s, obviously I had no other options. I got to go to a great school and it worked out pretty well.”

Naar would go on to have a remarkable career with the Gaels, setting the school record for most assists, handing out 816 dimes across his four-year career. He also holds the record for most assists in a single season with 284 in 2017/18.

Fellow Aussie Matthew Dellavedova was the previous holder of the assists title and Naar says it is still surreal to see his name in the Saint Mary’s history books.

“It was pretty unimaginable when I first got to Saint Mary’s that I would have even had the chance to do that,” Naar said.

“I didn’t even really know if I would play when I went over there. I did the math after my first season and thought if I get to play enough, this could be pretty reachable.

“To be able to get up with Delly’s record is a bit surreal and something I never thought would happen.”

Naar is a free agent ahead of the 2020/21 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season but is willing to wait and see what happens with the Illawarra ownership situation before making a definitive decision on his future.

“It has been a little difficult with the whole Hawks situation, not having an owner right now, but I’m trying to keep my options open and hopefully the team gets brought soon so there’s something more concrete to go off,” he said.

“I am talking to teams now and waiting for free agency to start. I’m open to playing anywhere.

“I’ve loved my last two years in the NBL and want to keep playing in Australia so we will see what happens.”

Listen to the Gibbo Goes One-On-One podcast driven by MG every Wednesday night at 6:30pm AEST, as Adam Gibson is joined by a special guest each week. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.

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