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Russia: Return To Oz On Cards For Anstey

12 March 2005

Veteran Boomer Chris Anstey is planning to quit Russia and return to Australia's National Basketball League later this year.

The Melbourne Tigers, inspired for more than three decades by the father and son combination of Lindsay and Andrew Gaze, see Melbourne-born Anstey as the player to take them to the next level.

Anstey was a FIBA Europe League champion with Kazan in 2004
And the Tigers are even prepared to offer him "out" clauses when he brings his family back to the city.

Anstey was non-committal on Friday, telling the Melbourne Age newspaper: "I am definitely considering coming home, but definitely nothing (has been) agreed to or signed yet.

"Obviously the family wants to be in Melbourne and I have had a couple of chats to Seamus (McPeake, the Tigers' main owner)."

Negotiations are believed to be more advanced than that and a deal will include the usual NBA out-clause and one for a "high-paying, nice European city".

Anstey is contracted for the rest of this European season with reigning FIBA Europe League champions UNICS Kazan, who are third in the Russian Superleague.

They are also in the final eight of the FIBA Europe League, where they meet Russian rivals BC Khimki in the first leg on Tuesday.

The 2.13m forward is averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in European competition but has made it known he can't stand the bitterly cold winters that envelop Tartarstan, of which Kazan is the capital.

Anstey first came to the attention of worldwide basketball fans in 1997, when he won the FIBA World Championship for Under-22 Men with the Boomers and was also named MVP.

That led him to the NBA, where he played a total of 155 games in three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls.

He has also represented the senior national team at FIBA World Championships 1998 in Athens and the Sydney Olympics two years later.

Anstey was forced to withdraw from the Athens squad last year with a back injury.

The factor that should seal a return after that for a September NBL start is that the season finishes in February - before the Commonwealth Games.

"One positive is that the season finishes so early next season, so I would still be able to spend three months in Europe at the end," Anstey said.

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