Sport

A force to be reckoned with

Jaryd Eustace is the latest signing at the Ipswich Force. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Jaryd Eustace is the latest signing at the Ipswich Force. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

HIS father played two seasons with the Brisbane Bullets and his mother was a keen basketballer and member of Ipswich Basketball.

By the time this year is over, Jaryd Eustace hopes to have replicated both his parents' feats.

In a major coup for the Ipswich Force, former US college player and National Basketball League (NBL) prospect Eustace has agreed to join the Force for the 2016 Queensland Basketball League (QBL) season.

The 21-year-old guard spent two seasons playing for NCAA Division One school Miami University, but chose to depart the program after his playing time was cut back from 18 minutes per game as a freshman to just 11.5 minutes as a sophomore.

A native of Brisbane and a product of Brisbane Boys' College, Eustace's decision to return home means Force fans will get to see one of the country's most exciting young talents when he dons the green at Cotton On Foundation Stadium.

"I did what I wanted to do over there and I loved college life, but I had no reason to stay over there anymore," Eustace said.

"I wanted to come home and I believe the Force will provide me with a good opportunity to continue playing and grow my game.

"Shooting the ball consistently will be a big focus for me this season."

Eustace's inclusion on an Ipswich roster boasting the likes of US imports James Legan and Kyle Harvey all but locks in the Force as an early title contender.

Standing 201cm and weighing 90kg, Eustace is a versatile player capable of covering most positions on the court that Force coach Mick Conlon is thrilled to have on board.

He expected Eustace to be able to pass on a wealth of knowledge to the Force's young list. "He obviously comes from good basketball pedigree and has a lot of promise, but his experience in college will be invaluable for the other players," Conlon said.

"A lot of the men he will be training with all aspire to go to college and eventually go on to play in the NBL.

"He will be another voice of reason for these young players and be able to point them in the right direction."

Eustace had an outstanding first year of college basketball with the Miami RedHawks, playing in all 31 games and making two starts, before experiencing a challenging 2014/15 season.

Despite becoming frustrated after expecting to play an important role on the team in his second season, Eustace said the overseas stint showed him what it takes to be one of the better players in the competition.

"Playing in the college system was very intense and very demanding," he said. "There is a lot of expectation on players to perform and comes nowhere near close to what you get exposed to here in Australia.

"I got to play against the best players my age and a bunch of players who are now in the NBA like D'Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers) and Jerian Grant (New York Knicks)."

Keen to improve his game and prove he can perform at the highest level, the University of Queensland commerce student felt the QBL would be the ideal springboard to earning a spot on the revived Bullets' roster, which returns to the NBL next season.

His father Jim played 45 matches for the Bullets in 1983 and 1984, and despite never watching him play, Eustace was keen to follow in his footsteps.

"I always remember watching the Bullets play when I was young," he said.

"Having grown up here (Brisbane), I reckon it would be a neat experience to play for the city I have basically lived in my whole life."

STAR RECRUIT

  • Sporting idol: Adam Scott.
  • Biggest influence: Father (Jim).
  • Pre-match ritual: Listen to music.
  • Best advice: You're going to go through adversity; the people who react to adversity best are the ones who will succeed.
  • Favourite NBA club: Toronto Raptors.
  • Favourite NBA player: Kevin Durant.

Topics:  ipswich basketball ipswich force (basketball) jaryd eustace queensland basketball league



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