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NBL22: An update on Bryce Cotton’s citizenship software, hopes of playing for the Boomers

Bryce Cotton says his hopes of becoming an Australian citizen and qualifying to play for the Boomers are in the lap of the bureaucratic gods.

Cotton — whose credentials as the best player ever to set foot in the NBL are growing by the day — has spent more than two years fighting to secure citizenship.

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The 29-year-old triple-NBL MVP has jumped through a number of hoops — gaining a distinguished talent visa this year, amid Covid issues — but says there is now no more he can do.

“I wish I could tell you,” Cotton said when asked where his citizenship application was at.

“I don’t think there’s anything left for me to do or any paperwork for me to fill out.

“Anything that happens at this point is beyond my control.

“It’s just a big waiting game, but I don’t even think about it any more at this point.”

Cotton hoped to be naturalised ahead of the Boomers’ bronze-medal run in Tokyo and he is on the record saying he’d love to add Olympian to his resume.

But he would have struggled to be fit for Tokyo after he suffered a quad injury that ruined last NBL season.

And, given FIBA only allows one naturalised player to be on the roster of a national team, it’s unlikely he will ever be a Boomer. Cotton is 29, while Philadelphia 76er Matisse Thybulle played a key role in the Aussies’ charge to bronze and is five years his junior.

National team head coach Brian Goorjian is also on the record saying he would choose Thybulle over the Wildcats’ star, but it would give him pause to reconsider the scoring weapon, were he to secure citizenship.

At the very least, it would have ramifications across the NBL as it would allow Perth to sign another import, making the perennial title-contending Wildcats even more dangerous.

The Arizona native is having another MVP-worthy season, leading the league in scoring, top-five in steals and top-10 in assists, but the individual accolades are not a priority.

“I don’t dwell on it too much, I just try to focus on being the best player I can be, night in, night out,” he said.

“I guess some of the accomplishments and success have just been bonuses, but it’s not something that’s at the forefront of my mind.”

Cotton’s team has not played in Perth since the beginning of the season and fell to South East Melbourne 86-80 on Saturday night. But, with the WA border ban set to fall, the Wildcats will enjoy a marathon home stand of up to nine games in the run to the NBL playoffs.

“We’re definitely excited, I feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“But we’ve still got a few more games on the road so if we can take care of business there, I think we can put ourselves in a good position having that home stretch back in Perth.”

NBL Zhou Qi and Bryce Cotton
Camera IconCotton with Phoenix giant Zhou Qi in Melbourne in February. Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

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