Mitch McCarron was en route to Kazakhstan when news broke that the Adelaide 36ers had parted ways with import guard, Craig Randall II. The move brought a tumultuous two-month stint with the club to a close for the American, with McCarron now expected to resume lead ball handling duties in Adelaide as the team attempts to reverse a slow start to the season.
The club captain confirmed he made contact with Randall while on the road with the Australian national team.
"By the time I got to Kazakhstan my phone was blowing up," McCarron told ESPN. "It was a mutual decision in the end between the club and Craig, I reached out to him and he seemed okay about it and at peace with whatever is going on. I was glad for him that he'll have opportunities in the future to do his thing and hopefully we can move our season ahead and start stringing some wins together.
"I'm not really into just throwing everything onto one guy because I don't think that's always the issue. I know I can play at a high level for this team so I'm not going to sit here and point the finger at Craig and say he was the reason we were losing. We've got to get together and get on the same page about what we look like on both ends of the floor."
McCarron and the Australian national team arrived home on Monday afternoon after making the 12,000 plus kilometre trip to Kazakhstan to secure World Cup qualification ahead of next year's tournament.
Originally scheduled to play a second game in Iran, Basketball Australia opted against travelling to the country for the qualifier, following government travel advisory warnings.
"It was a unique trip flying in and only playing one game. For us, we had to stay locked in even though it was a really different situation. We had some disruption with a couple of guys (pulling out) whether it was injury or other reasons so that gave an opportunity to other people. That's what this campaign is about, we're trying to put together the best team we can.
"You are always trying to do anything you can to win regardless of what it does for you. Take the Asia Cup, it's a standalone tournament and doesn't mean a lot in the scheme of things when it comes to World Championships or the Olympics. You're representing Australia, you want to get the win and a medal. It's the same in these qualifiers, we knew one win would get us in but now it's about trying to be the top team."
Despite the concerns for player safety, FIBA issued the Boomers with a forfeit for the game against Iran, handing the team their first 'loss' of World Cup qualification. Australia remains on top of Group F with a 9-1 record with one window left to play in February.
"We'd been given the heads up a little while ago that there might be some difficulties with that because of the travel bans. We didn't really get confirmation until before the trip, it was being worked out with FIBA and Basketball Australia and we aren't really involved in those conversations.
"(The forfeit) sucks. It goes down as a loss for us and we're doing our best to keep that winning streak alive. In the grand scheme of things, we want to finish number one in Asia and qualify and put the World Cup team in the number one seed for our region. It does suck in that aspect, but it's out of our hands."
As of Tuesday night, McCarron had not had a chance to regroup with the 36ers in person, with the team scheduled for a Thursday night road game against Melbourne United. Currently ranked last in the league for defensive efficiency, the performance on that end of the floor has been problematic through seven regular season games thus far.
"We haven't been at the level, and I think that's evident now. We've just been giving up way too many easy points. We go on runs ourselves, but you just can't try to be the comeback kings every night in this league, it's too hard. It's been up and down; we've been trying to find that consistency of play. We've had these games where we've dropped the ball and got killed so we're just looking for consistency right now.
"I think we've recognised that as a group and we're going to keep chipping away at it and keep defining roles. We've had a roster adjustment and there might be one coming soon so we all have to buy in and do what we can to win now."