Basketball: Promising Kiwi talent Jack Salt puts health struggles behind him before Canterbury Rams NBL bow

One of the country's most promising basketballers is about to make a return to the court for the first time in almost two years. 

Jack Salt became basketball royalty when he was the first Kiwi to win a US college title with Virginia in 2019. 

He was then picked up by the Phoenix Suns to play the NBA summer league, but due to a horror run with health he hasn't played since.

But now finally fit, Jack Salt is ready to front for the Canterbury Rams against the Wellington Saints on Friday.

"Most of it's been mental to be honest," Salt tells Newshub.

"It's been a lot of doubting myself, and not sure if I would get back to playing basketball."

Canterbury Rams head coach Mick Downer is relishing seeing Salt back in a singlet.

"He gets a chance to be a basketball player again," he says.

"I'm just really proud of him. He's worked his tail off."

Two years ago, Salt was on top of the world, having won an NCAA title with Virgina.

But Glandular Fever put a halt on the beginning of his professional career. Then he was dealt a second blow sustaining a serious knee injury just a week out from last year's NBL.

"I was already out for a year," Salt continues. 

"I said, 'Okay, this is gonna be another challenge for me and let's see what kind of man I am.'"

That's seen him turn to meditation, with the 25-year-old having to make peace with expectations after two years of setbacks. 

"I think there's a lot of external pressure," adds Downer.

"But the pressure that Jack puts on himself is way greater, so we've gotta try and help him with that."

Salt though is grateful for the Rams' support, and now wants to pay them back in this year's NBL.

"The Rams have done a lot for me. They've really backed me throughout my struggles, so I wanna help them go all the way and win a title."

And after 22 months on the sideline, what a comeback story that would be. 

Watch the full story above.