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The Rise and Rise of Nathan Sobey

A powerful dunk may be worth no more than a delicate finger roll, but athletic Adelaide 36ers guard Nathan Sobey doesn’t see it that way. “It is the same amount of points but it can do different things for your team,” Sobey said, a week after melting the internet with his disallowed throw-down over Townsville. “When you need some spark from something a dunk sort of sparks you up and gets the crowd involved a lot more.” sb1 Sobey is in the midst of his first full-time season in the NBL, averaging ten minutes per game off the bench for the 36ers. A development player under Aaron Fearne last year in Cairns, Sobey signed a three-year deal with Adelaide ahead of this season. His new head coach, Joey Wright, was determined to lock him up on a long-term contract, believing Sobey has what it takes to become a headline act. “He’s definitely a future star in this league,” Wright said. “His work ethic is off the charts and that’s why I put him in the category of a young Chris Goulding … Goulding’s work ethic was a star type work ethic and Sobey has the same thing.” Wright believes Sobey’s floor is pretty high. “You know with his work ethic and his abilities that there’s no chance he can’t be good. He’s so young as a player that he doesn’t know that now but coaches would know that if you check four or five different boxes, you can’t help but be good.” Sobey believes the move from Cairns to Adelaide was a smart one, but says he learnt a lot from his season under Fearne. “He was great in teaching how to be a professional day in day out, on and off the floor and just having a basketball IQ,” Sobey reflected. Under Wright, he’s learning how to read the game and find that balance between scoring, creating and running a team. “Joey has a great development skill set with players and I think my game’s gotten a lot better since I've been here and continues to get better,” Sobey said. He’s also receiving a fast-tracked education in the specifics of guard play from some of the best in the business. “Guarding (Jerome) Randle every day is enjoyable for me. He is very talented and I pick up lots of things from what he's doing,” Sobey said. “Gibbo’s (Adam Gibson) the same, he has a really high basketball IQ and has played under Joey a lot and knows everything that's expected. He helps out a lot and mentors us younger guys.” Wright views it as the perfect environment for Sobey’s talent to develop. “Adam Gibson learnt from Derek Rucker and Stephen Black, Chris Goulding learnt from C.J. Bruton, Ebi Ere and Gibson and now it’s time for Sobey to learn from Jerome Randle, Gibson and Brendan Teys,” said Wright. One thing Sobey doesn’t need much advice on, though, is the art of throwing down. It’s an aspect of his game that took off during his sophomore year at the University of Wyoming thanks partly to explosive strength and conditioning work in the gym. His tragically disallowed dunk in Round 10 put Townsville’s Mitch Young on a poster and had basketball fans across the country buzzing with excitement. Sobey hails from Warrnambool, a town of about 30,000 people located on the south-western coast of Victoria. Wind your way down the Great Ocean Road for long enough and you’ll eventually get there. “I love where I'm from,” Sobey said when asked about his regional roots. In fact, Sobey plans to head back this offseason and play for his hometown Seahawks in the Victorian State League. “I'm going to go back home which is exciting to just get back into the involvement of Warrnambool basketball. Hopefully I can represent where I'm from for a long time at the highest level possible.” As for the immediate future, his eyes are fixed firmly on the ultimate team goal. “I want to win a championship here in Adelaide,” Sobey said. “Right now, I just want to win that Championship.”
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