Dech has new focus after World Cup success
Adelaide 36ers guard Sunday Dech is back and ready to go after a successful 2023 FIBA World Cup campaign with South Sudan.
The Bright Stars qualified for next year’s Paris Olympic Games as the highest ranked African nation, a 17th place finish at the World Cup.
“It’s the first time South Sudan has been on the world stage for basketball, we are the newest country in the world, we are only 12 years old. To be able to do something of this magnitude so early is phenomenal,” Dech told media on Thursday.
“We had a lot of support, we had fans fly in. I’d like to say we had the second biggest fan base outside the Philippines, there was so much song, dance and support form the fans in the stands.”
Playing on the world stage has meant Dech has missed a majority of the NBL24 pre-season, but he said the Bright Stars campaign has kept him in great shape.
“I’m pretty fortunate, I’ve got 12 to 13 games under my belt, so we can hit the ground running,” Dech said.
“I want to take that momentum into the NBL season with the Blitz starting this weekend, I’m really looking forward to that.
“We have a new group, we have an exciting group, and guys this week have been getting after it this week on the practice court.”
The 195cm guard said he is still finding his way back into the new roster and the NBL Blitz campaign will all be about getting everything ready for the opening game of the regular season on September 29.
“We want to go to the Blitz, put our processes in place and play the right way and gear up for the start of the season,” Dech said. “I came back earlier this week, and I’ve done all my testings and the staff are very happy where I’m at.
Dech said he is keen to play his role in the NBL24 roster, wherever head coach CJ Bruton wants him to perform, and he knows his role may change on any different night.
“I sat down with CJ (Bruton, head coach) before I left to see where I fit in coming back,” Dech said.
“For me, it doesn’t change really, I’ll come in and help the team anyway I can.
“We have a good team this year and one where I got to keep working my way into the line-up.
“On Tuesday I was with the starters group, today I was with the bench group, so the coaches are just finding out about different looks and line-ups ahead of the weekend.”
Adelaide will play New Zealand Breakers in their NBL Blitz opener on Sunday at 12pm at Gold Coast Convention Centre.