Dick expects 'angry' Templeogue reaction
Apprentice electrician Paul Dick aims to provide Tralee Warriors with the spark they need to upset Templeogue's Super League bid when the Dubliners roll into town tonight.
The 27-year-old knows that the winners of the Tralee Sports Complex clash will be front-runners for top honours.
Though six points behind table-topping Templeogue, the Kerry side - who are joint second with UCD Marian - can undercut the Dubliners with two more games left than their capital opponents.
However, it will not be an easy task for the southern team, featuring Kieran Donaghy, with Marian expecting victory against basement side Neptune tonight.
"(Templeogue) are going to be coming for our heads. We knocked them out of the cup in the first round so they're going to be angry," Dick said.
The Belfast man has become a fan favourite as one of Tralee's top scorers this season, with last weekend's tally of 26 points against Maree a regular haul.
The attention he has generated in the basketball stronghold has surprised him.
"The Warriors are only three years old and people live and die Warriors down here. My previous teams, Belfast Star and Killester, they're clubs that are around for a long time and they have good support but we have die-hards here," he observed.
Dick, who signed for the club last year before suffering a dislocated ankle, hopes to finish his first season in five years injury-free.
"I broke both my feet when I was younger so that just causes all sorts of problems. It caused me wear and tear issues over the last fecking decade since I left school," he recalled.
The point guard has switched from life as a professional player to his current job as an apprentice electrician in the Kingdom.
After school at St Malachy's in Belfast, he honed his skills in America at Maine's Bridgeton Academy and New Hampshire's Franklin Pierce University before moving to Germany to go pro.
Following a successful season at EVL Limburg there, he moved to Spanish side Fuenlabrada Madrid where he would encounter his old nemesis, injury.
"I kept landing on people's feet and rolling my ankles so eventually I just packed it in, I went looking for work at home," he recalled.
The job hunt led him to Tralee where he has had to learn to juggle sport with work commitments.
"Working on your feet and in construction, it's definitely taxing on your energy levels. The days are a bit longer as well," he said.
"One of the beauties of Tralee is you're only ever 10 minutes away from your house. If you're working, you're not commuting on the M50 for an hour and a half each day."
Though a new arrival in the town, he knows what victory against Templeogue tonight (8.0) would mean.
"You know from talking to people what basketball was like here. There's a rich history that people wouldn't mind seeing repeated."