Last season's NBL grand finalists the Sydney Kings feel at home on the Border.
The Kings and Illawarra Hawks both relocated to Albury on Boxing Day in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak on Sydney's Northern Beaches and feel they have a great chance to prepare well for the season opener against reigning champions Perth Wildcats on January 15.
Kings' guard Shaun Bruce believes the transition to a new training environment at The Scots School Albury has been seamless.
"It happened really quickly, but in terms of settling in it's been fine," Bruce said.
"The local community has been great and everywhere we've gone we've been greeted with a smile and felt welcome.
"Although we're not at home, it's been made to feel like home with how good everyone has been.
"We're grateful we're able to train and continue a pretty good routine leading up to our first game."
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Bruce and the Kings experienced empty arenas in the 2020 NBL grand final series, which Perth won two games to one, but believes it will hold the group in good stead with the uncertainty around crowds and venues in the early part of the 2021 season.
"Even in the early couple of pre-season games we've had, there's been no crowds and I guess it wasn't as much of a shock to us because we did have a couple of grand final games without them," he said.
"I guess that's a positive to take away from it for our group, but fingers crossed we'll be able to play a regular season, have fans there and a regular environment to play in.
"We can only focus on what we can do and make the most of what we have. We've got a great facility to train in at Scots and we get to train every day.
"If we stayed in Sydney, there was a lot of uncertainly around that.
"This year is going to have a lot of unknowns and uncertainty and we're obviously dealing with it now, which has been great to do.
"Not much has really changed, we're getting the same sessions in as we would be back in Sydney."
Bruce said the Kings' entire travelling party is on the Border to prepare for round one with the exception of US import Jarell Martin, who still has quarantine to serve before he can join the group.
"In that sense, it's great to be around the guys and develop a chemistry with one another," Bruce said.
"I think guys being able to bond isn't a bad thing and we've got enough room here at the Quest (Hotel) to be able to have our own space.
"At the same time, we spend a lot of time together and that will be good for us as well."
Bruce grew up at Horsham before he started his NBL career, which sits at 187 games, with the Cairns Taipans.
He's no stranger to Albury having played in the Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup and also faced the the Albury-Wodonga Bandits on the Border in his time with NBL1 outfit Ballarat before he moved to Cairns.
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