Question: What’s a Sharks Fan’s favourite day of the week?
Illawarra Hawks’ guard Sunday Dech today confirmed his signing for the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks for the 2020 Sal’s New Zealand NBL.
Dech will arrive in Invercargill next month, coming off an outstanding Australian NBL season which saw him earn nominations for both the League’s Most Improved Player and Defensive Player of the Year. He also was named the Hawks’ Members’ Favourite Player at its end of season awards this week and has earned a call-up to the Australian Boomers national squad for this week’s internationals against the Tall Blacks and Hong Kong, capping a break-out season for the 26 year old Australian.
“It’s been awesome. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity I did and when it came I grabbed it and ran and never looked back. I think I improved on offence and defence and to get those nominations was a humbling experience to be recognised by the league and I’m super excited to keep developing this season with the Sharks and come back strong.”
“Basketball is a funny game. You never know when your opportunity will come and the window is small so you’ve got to be ready when it does,” Dech said.
Dech was part of last season’s Sal’s NBL-winning Wellington Saints squad, a campaign he credits for his improvement this Australian NBL season. It also gave him a window into the Sharks set-up.
“Last season when we (Saints) came down, I saw how awesome the basketball community is in Southland and the awesome support around the club. The guys spoke so highly of the environment and that resonated with me. Hyrum (Harris, a team mate at Illawarra) did a lot of recruiting this season and once Bevo signed on as coach I was super keen to come on board,” he said.
Dech is also thankful for the role new Sharks’ Head Coach Rob “Bevo” Beveridge played over recent months.
“With Bevo living in Wollongong, throughout the season he’s mentored me and to be able to talk to him about games, plays and how to get better, really helped me on the court and showed he was really invested in my development. That’s something I want to continue, because it really helped me this past year,” Dech said.
The respect is mutual, with Beveridge delighted to add the personable Aussie to his roster for 2020.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be able to have Sunday join the Sharks. He is one of the hardest workers I have come across in my time as a coach and his work ethic and attitude to being the best he can be has a huge influence on his team mates,” Beveridge said.
“Sunday is an elite defender and a very good offensive player where he can shoot the three and get to the rim. He is going to be a perfect fit for our style of game.”
Dech joins fellow Australian Jarrad Weeks along with Kiwi talent Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Dom Kelman-Poto and new recruits Alonzo Burton and Dane Brooks as confirmed Sharks for 2020 and his aims for his time in the south are pretty straight-forward.
“I want to keep it rolling and bring a championship back to Invercargill. I was fortunate to be a part of one last year with the Saints and with the team we have on paper, the coaching staff and the community, I think we can definitely do that.”
The 2020 Sal’s NBL tips off on Thursday 9 April with the Sharks starting on the road against the League’s newest addition, the Franklin Bulls on Friday 10 April. ILT Stadium Southland will host the Sharks home opener against the Manawatu Jets on Friday 24 April.
Season passes to watch all nine of the Sharks’ home games are on sale now at ILT Stadium Southland. For details visit sharksbasketball.co.nz/tickets.