Adrian Fulton has received an early Christmas present with the news that Paul Dick will be back before the end of the season.
Belfast Star pulled off a coup by signing All Ireland Superleague winner Dick in the summer but he didn’t have his first game until last month and four minutes before the end of the game fractured his foot. It was assumed that his season was over but now Star are hopeful he can be back in time for the end-of-season play-offs.
Due to the pandemic, Basketball Ireland changed the Superleague to two conferences with the top four from each going into the play-offs to decide who the champions are. Star have had a roller-coaster start to their campaign, suffering from the absence of Dick as well as Aidan Quinn and Liam Pettigrew.
Fulton said: “It’s great news that Paul has the chance to be back for the play-offs. The doctor believes the healing process can go a bit more quickly and that by the start of January he can start some light jogging. We would then hope that by February he will be able to be back on court – just in time for the play-offs.
“He’s an exceptional talent and it has been a huge blow not to have Paul. Any team in the country would want him in their starting line-up. Now we have this good news, it’s up to the lads to make sure that we are in one of those play-off spots come the end of the regular season.”
Star have another free weekend as the National Cup takes the spotlight and Fulton’s men suffered a first round exit. Back with his men after enjoying his role as assistant Ireland coach during the EuroBasket matches with Cyprus and Austria, Fulton says he is determined to make the most of the extra training sessions.
“We will use this time to make sure we have the right game-plan for Tralee,” added Fulton, who believes his side are finally starting to gel and has been particularly pleased with American Austin Beech.
“Austin has brought a real energy to the squad and the rest of the guys now know what he brings and what to expect from him.”