Time spent away from basketball has only made Jade McCowan's heart grow fonder for the game.
McCowan is set to once again be part of the Albury-Wodonga Bandits' women's roster when the season gets under way in April.
The talented guard last played a full fixture for the border outfit in 2018, taking a year away from basketball after playing the first few rounds of the 2019 NBL1 competition.
While she had planned to rejoin the side last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prolonged her time off the court.
"I think having a year away from basketball definitely made me realise that I miss it and I'm not done with playing basketball yet," McCowan said.
"The Bandits will always hold a special place in my heart.
"I played at Ballarat for a year and loved that, but coming home was special.
"Hopefully there's a season this year."
McCowan's looking forward to picking up from where the team left off.
"It's been really good to have Matt (Paps) recommit this year because we only had him for a couple of months before COVID hit," she said.
"He's creating a really good foundation."
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With the prospect of import players still up in the air due to the closure of international borders, McCowan admitted it's now a waiting game.
"They're very handy and it's always great learning from them because every import comes with something different to offer," she said.
"It would allow more opportunity for locals and young players coming through though, which is really good."
In her time away from basketball McCowan joined Tallangatta and District Netball Association club Thurgoona.
The multi-talented athlete also has a love for soccer, playing juniors for Melrose and joining Albury United last year before the cancellation of the Albury-Wodonga Football Association season.
"I do really enjoy playing soccer," McCowan said.
"It's just always been one of those sports that I could never really let go of."
She hopes to continue to take to the netball court for the Bulldogs in the coming months, but admitted it will be a juggling act with basketball commitments at times.
"It's just about trying to find that balance between training," she said.
"It's working at the moment and hopefully our home and away games will kind of match up so I can play a bit of both."
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