We are drawn like moths to the flame by any sports story that involves code hopping, especially if it is real hopping and not just a rugger switching from league to union.
Tom Fullarton is the latest to land on our screens, as he has informed the Brisbane Bullets of the NBL that after three years, he is abandoning the hardwood for the turf as a Category B rookie for the Brisbane Lions.
The timing is surprising.
Fullarton was elevated to the senior list by the Bullets for the 2018 – 2019 NBL season and it would be reasonable to assume that he would want to enjoy the sensation of having arrived in the top ranks of Australian professional basketball.
As a Category B contracted AFL player, Fullarton will be able to join the Lions immediately and circumvent the draft process and he will report to the Gabba on June 1.
He has substantial Aussie Rules experience from his youth days and the Lions have been keeping tabs on him for some time.
Fullarton reports that informing the bullets of his decision was difficult.
“That was probably the hardest thing, to tell Andrej and Richard (Clarke, Bullets General Manager) because of the respect I have for them and the club,’’ Fullarton said. “I’m so grateful that they gave me the opportunity to get my foot into the NBL and start my professional career straight out of high school. Not many kids get that opportunity.”
Fullarton’s hop is along the lines of that made by the Collingwood Magpies Mason Cox, who abandoned American basketball to try his hand at AFL football, so it is not as though Fullarton is entering completely uncharted territory, as the skills of a basketball player can translate of those of footy with apparent ease.
Fullarton, however, has much the edge over Cox, as his junior footy experience means that he is not coming into a game about which he has barely heard.