The Sky Tower Auckland Huskies are delighted to announce the signing of former Tall Black Brook Ruscoe ahead of the 2021 Sal’s NBL season.
Brook brings a wealth of experience to the Huskies but also a story of agony and ecstasy.
Ten years ago, after a season at college in Missouri, Brook undertook what he thought would be standard surgery to fix a hip injury.
“When I came back from America with hip problems I was originally due to have keyhole surgery and then return to the States for another season.
“During the operation the surgeon left a large drill piece in my hip but no one told me or my mum about it.
“When we eventually saw the surgeons report it was written in a way that might as well have been a foreign language, it was doctor’s speak.
“We had no idea for years this massive piece of drill was in my hip. So all my time with the Tall Blacks, with Cairns in the Australian League, in the NBL, I was playing with excruciating pain.
“We eventually found out in 2018 after my chiropractor told me something was not right and to get a scan to see what was going on. I had had years of physiotherapy and rehabilitation but this was the first time a scan had been suggested.
“I had surgery to remove the drill piece in April 2019 which ruled me out of everything for about five months.
Before his injury problems Brook had been a prodigious schoolboy talent. He scored 35 points in the 2008 Secondary Schools National Championship Grand Final to lead St Pat’s Town to an 83-71 win against Nelson College.
The following year he played for New Zealand at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in Auckland. The team that year included Dion Prewster, Rob Loe and Josh Bloxham who, like Brook, went on to play for the Tall Blacks.
Both those events provide Brook with fond memories but it was his selection for the Tall Blacks in 2013 that represents his proudest moment in the game.
“Playing for the Tall Blacks was always a dream and to achieve that ticked a big box. The other two events were memorable but I’ll lock in the Tall Blacks as my biggest accomplishment.”
The memory of playing all those years in discomfort, he played eight years in the NBL, has slowly faded and Brook, now pain free, is slowly working his way back to game fitness and embark on an NBL season for the first time since 2018.
“It’s a little bit of fool’s gold coming back but I’m pain free which is the main thing. I played at HoopNation last year and that went well, and played second division with Porirua which also went well.
“I enjoyed both and it made me realise how much I loved playing .
“Getting back into the NBL is a little bit different but training is going well. I am still nowhere near where I was but I’m pain free and getting better all the time.
Brook will be combining his Huskies playing obligations with his radio commitments hosting the Mai Home Run, the daily afternoon show on Mai FM.
“Work have been good so the plan at the moment is I won’t miss any games, I’ll give it 100% effort.
Training under the guidance of Head Coach Aaron Young and Director of Basketball Dillon Boucher was a key factor in drawing Brook to the Huskies.
“Having the two of them there was a big part in even me wanting to come back.
“I know my situation is a little bit different to everyone else’s but they completely understand that. It’s a little bit weird but it’s a good weird!”
Aaron Young is delighted to have a player of Brook’s caliber in Huskies colours.
“It’s great to have Brook on-board. He offers so much in terms of his experience, someone that’s dealt with a lot of ups and downs with his basketball journey.
“He’s also had to deal with some pretty nasty injuries so it’s great to see him restored to full health.
“He’s already had a big influence on our group with his leadership.
“I think he can make a big impact with his scoring and with the way he plays in such a composed manner, playing like a young vet.
“He’ll be one of our leaders. He’s already taken that role on without being appointed. He’s a good communicator on and off the court so is a really important voice for our younger guys,” added Young.
Another of those leaders will be Nick Barrow who played with Brook on the Auckland Pirates championship winning team in 2012.
Brook joins Barrow, Chris McIntosh, Sean Murphy, Jackson Smyth, Reuben Fitzgerald, Tom Vodanovich and American guard Armoni Brooks on the Huskies team with more player signings to be announced in the near future.
The Huskies begin their 2021 Sal’s NBL campaign with a trip down the southern motorway on Sunday April 25th to take on the Franklin Bulls.
The Huskies first home game will be on Friday April 30th against the Manawatu Jets at Eventfinda Stadium. You can purchase your Season Membership to see Brook and the rest of the Sky Tower Auckland Huskies in action by clicking here.