Conrad Etchi departs for the United States this week and while it is uncertain if he will return, the American star feels basketball in Dubbo has gone to another level in 2017.
There was a huge amount of hype when Etchi arrived earlier this year and he delivered on all that, helping the Dubbo Rams to one of their best Waratah State League seasons in some time while his athleticism on the court brought crowds through the doors.
But he also achieved much more than that as he spent a vast amount of time helping coach juniors of all ages, helping promote the sport to a bigger audience.
“I feel the attitude towards basketball has changed for a lot of them and now it’s not just coming out to play basketball, it’s coming out to win a game, and it’s coming out to get better and that’s not just from the State League,” he said after his final game for the Rams in 2017.
“That’s from the juniors as well. Seeing the way they attack the game now as well is definitely mind-boggling and it’s a good feeling so I know that once I hop on that plane and head back that basketball will be left in good hands here.”
I know that once I hop on that plane and head back that basketball will be left in good hands here.Conrad Etchi
Etchi was disappointed his side couldn’t finish the season with victory on Saturday, the Rams went down 72-58 to the Canberra Gunners.
But despite the defeat and the fact the Rams will finish the season in the bottom half of the ladder, Etchi has loved his time at Dubbo and in a huge boost for local fans he is keen to return.
There is much needed to happen between now and next season for that to happen but both Dubbo Basketball Association and Etchi, who stated he is looking forward to some time at home, are both already working on a return.
“It’s been amazing and it’s a new experience,” he said of his time at Dubbo.
“There’s been times when I’ve just been sitting and relaxing and I think how I’m completely away from home and this is something new and something a couple of months ago I knew nothing about. But to go back home with these new experiences is amazing.”
The former Salem International University star said it was impossible to thank just one person for helping him enjoy his time and feel so settled in regional Australia.
The slam dunk expert said he was thankful to all those people in town who had cheered him on or just greeted him in the street.
“There was only a couple of moment I really felt homesick and that was because everyone embraced me,” he said.
Etchi returns to the United States on Saturday.