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Back to the future for Cadee's 36ers return

13 Sep
7 mins read

Written By

Dale Fletcher

Off-season recruit Jason Cadee is back 'home' after nearly a decade away from Adelaide.

When Jason Cadee runs out onto Nissan Arena to face his old side Brisbane Bullets on September 29, it would have been 3,456 days since his last official NBL match as an Adelaide 36ers player.

The 186cm guard is back in Adelaide after eight seasons and said it feels like he has never left.

“A lot is different, but a lot is the same, walking up and down those stairs at the Arena,” Cadee said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s a big change for me now with a family, but in many ways it’s so nice and to slot back into Adelaide life.

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“You know where everything is and I know my way around the city, and the great people at the club has made it so easy.”

April 13, 2014, was the last time Cadee wore an Adelaide jersey, the game three grand final loss to the Wildcats in Perth, but the point guard has already got use to his ‘new’ colours.

“It was different, the main thing was I looked down and the number was different,” Cadee said.

“So, coming in playing South East Melbourne in that first game was a bit weird, but I think that it will hit home that first regular season game.”

Cadee will wear the no.7 this season after no.4, his previous number as a 36er, has since been retired to honour the ‘Iceman’ Darryl Pearce.

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Cadee faced his former side Brisbane in only his second pre-season game back as a 36er and said the experience felt ‘weird’.

The Bullets took the victory at The Lights Community Centre, but for Cadee, the loss wasn’t really against his old side.

“To be honest, it didn’t feel like I was playing against Brisbane,” Cadee said.

“The coach is different, most of the players have changed, it’s only really Sobes (Nathan Sobey), Baynesy (Aron Baynes) and DJ (Mitchell) who made it familiar,

“It was disappointing to lose, but we are working towards bigger and better things this season.”

Cadee and the 36ers will get their chance at redemption quickly, with the two sides to do battle in the opening round in Brisbane on September 29.

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The move to Adelaide just seemed to ‘make sense’ for Cadee, and the 32-year-old always wanted to reunite with 36ers head coach CJ Bruton.

“My relationship with CJ has always been really strong, and we have kept in touch even when we have been with other teams,” Cadee said.

“To be back playing under him has made life a lot easier, I know a lot of what he is trying to achieve with the team.

“Honestly, the past two seasons in the NBL was really tough for me, not really about basketball, but a lot of other stuff which was going on and it made my life harder,

“I left Brisbane with a lot of great relationships with a lot of great people, but it was time for a fresh start.”

The new surroundings at the ‘old’ Arena have given Cadee a new outlook on life as a professional basketballer.

“Now, I’m enjoying just putting my shoes on and worrying about getting better as a player and being the best for my teammates,” Cadee said.

“I feel really good, I feel like I’m in a really good place and you start to understand what you can a can’t do.

“It’s all about working smarter and not harder.”

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Cadee has joined the group and has become a natural leader so far during pre-season, and this is a role he says comes ‘natural’ to him.

“I’m a talker, but as I’ve got older and been around the NBL and been around other teams and programs I feel like I’ve seen teammates look to me for advice on things,” Cadee said.

“When you see people doing that naturally, I feel like I need to answer, or I need to come up with something that makes someone else feel better.

“Being able to help others I think is something I’ve been very good at and something I know I’ll help this group with.”

Even though leadership is in his veins, Cadee says being captain is not in his goals for the NBL24 season.

“Being captain is a privilege and I think for this club Mitch McCarron has been that for a number of years and he is really good in that role,” Cadee said.

“This year I think I can really help Macca in a way where he can concentrate on his basketball a bit more and I can be that talker which can assist the group and take on a role when needed.”

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For several seasons now, Cadee has been prepared to come off the bench for his side and it looks like NBL24 he will be that spark.

With NBL Next Star Trentyn Flowers given the starting point guard role by Bruton this season, Cadee looms as the perfect piece to fill the role he has been earmarked to do.

 “It’s perfectly fine with me, I was supposed to come off the bench for the past four years,” Cadee said.

“For a whole heap of different reasons that hasn’t happened, but for me I haven’t really cared about starting.

“It’s more about playing time for me and I know I can do my role whether I start or not.”

When it comes to starting, Cadee knows that only means you get an asterisk next to your name on the box score.

“And as my dad has always said ‘it’s not about who starts, it’s about who finishes the game’ which has really stuck with me,” Cadee said.

“That tells you who is playing the best basketball and I look forward to embracing that role and finally this year, I can see it happening that way.”

Meeting Flowers was a full circle moment for Cadee, who began his NBL journey as a teenager at the Gold Coast Blaze.

“It’s funny how quickly you become the older guy,” Cadee said.

“I still feel very young, but then I’m around guys like Trentyn, who is 18.

“Just the other day I was talking to him and said, ‘I started at the exact same time as you’.”

Cadee chose the same path to begin his professional career, bypassing the US College route to play at the Blaze and he’s the perfect role model for the 204cm NBA Draft prospect.

“You need the younger guys to be able to seek the information as well,” Cadee said.

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“He (Flowers) has asked a lot of questions, but so too have the other guys like Nick Marshall and Kyrin Galloway.

“He is a very outgoing kid; he’s going to have his learnings this year.”

The first real taste of pressure came in the opening minutes of last Saturday’s loss to the Bullets, when Flowers was hassled in the backcourt by Brisbane’s import point guard Shannon Scott.

“He got a real eye opener against Brisbane, but it’s how you adapt and learn, and I think Trentyn has all the tools to do that and become a better player,” Cadee said.

“Plus, he makes me feel so young.”


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