North-West Thunder point guard Lachlan Dent to debut on Saturday night

BRAD COLE   THE ADVOCATE   Back now with his first sporting love, Lachlan Dent is ready to resume his rise up the ranks of Australian basketball.

To assist that pathway Dent has found a new home in Tasmania, signing with the North-West Thunder ahead of the inaugural NBL1 season which tips off on Saturday night.

A promising junior career on the court was put on hold for the last two years as Dent tried his hand at football with the Sydney Swans academy.

But the 19-year-old has decided to return to the hardwood, and is set to play a leading role in the Thunder’s venture into the new league after a training stint with NBL club Illawarra.

“I came back to basketball because I missed it really,” Dent said.

“I like the idea of going away from home consistently and finding new spots.

“There is the opportunity to go everywhere in the world with basketball, whereas with football there isn’t.”

Dent will take up the starting point guard spot in Sam Armstrong’s team for 2019, a position that was vacated by popular local star Mason Bragg.

The four-time New South Wales Country representative said he’s not feeling any added pressure being the player to replace Bragg and is looking forward to getting on the court with his new teammates.

“I’m not really feeling any nerves, but to be honest I haven’t really thought about it,” Dent said.

“I’m just chilling out and having fun – I feel like if I don’t have fun playing, there is no point in playing.

“Most of the time when I have fun I play pretty well.

“Mason was a good player but when he left I knew there was a role here for me after the club brought in two imports who weren’t point guards.

“I also know I’m going to play in a system that suits my style really well.

“I’m looking forward to playing with a couple of big guys in Nick (Banyard) and Paul (Campbell) that I can throw it up to consistently and I think we cover most bases in our team.”

To help get himself back into basketball shape, Dent represented New South Wales at the Under 20 National Championships in Canberra last month and has been playing for Penguin in the NWBU competition where he is averaging 16.8 points per game.

“Playing for Penguin has definitely helped – it’s a great family club that enjoys the social side of things as well and that’s what I like,” Dent said.

“Part of the attraction of playing down here was that I could play two or three times every week and get myself match fit for the NBL1 season.”

The Thunder open their NBL1 season against the Southern Sabres at Ulverstone on Saturday night from 7.30pm.