First, let’s drive it hard to the basket – Dusty Rychart is a National Basketball League champion and a four-time Brisbane Capitals Most Valuable Player. He’s played professionally in Europe, Asia and New Zealand. He now combines basketball with his corporate career as a Senior Funds Manager, and being a new Dad.
If you deconstruct the Rychart game play since moving to Australia from Minnesota 16 years ago, you’ll find three things at its core – determination, instinct and consistency.
“I’m just that guy at the end of the game who has points, rebounds, I’m a fly under the radar kind of guy,’’ says Rychart, 39.
“I’m not going to give you: ‘Hey, Dusty’s doing 30 points, dunkin’ on people,’ that’s not me. I hit my jump shots. I’m like that locomotive, I just keep on going.”
Now in his sixth season with the Brisbane Capitals, under head coach Geoff Tarrant, Rychart says all the Queensland Basketball League teams have their sights set on beating the Capitals.
“We’ve been at the top (1 or 2) for my five years here and when you’re at the top everyone’s gunning for you. Geoff and Mick (Tarrant) always push us to make sure we don’t slack off.”
The pressure of a high stakes game is not unfamiliar to Rychart, who played for the Melbourne Giants and Adelaide 36ers before joining the Brisbane Bullets and winning the 2007 NBL season and then going on to the Cairns Taipans.
Rychart retired from professional basketball in 2013 and established himself in the finance sector working for La Trobe Financial, but his basketball journey has not stopped and he joined the Capitals in 2013.
He says playing by instinct rather than position is one of the main strengths of being a Capitals player.
“We hunt in packs. If someone has a ball on the wing, there’s no real plays or sets, it’s about reading the defence. Instinct. You stay close to them. Everyone is in a pack, everybody helps each other. It’s very simple but it demands so much.
“We work hard on defence. It’s definitely the hardest defence I’ve ever played in my life. People ask how can we run so fast.”
At 2.01m, Rychart is a tiny bit taller than legendary basketballer Michael Jordan who was himself considered short for the sport. As a power forward, he is consistent and dependable and led the QBL for rebounds last year. He’s always believed that you can achieve anything with determination and courage, a lesson learnt through his twin brother, Jessy.
“When we were 13, my brother’s immune system attacked his brain,’’ Rychart says.
“He was put in a vegetable state for about two years and then he finally got out and has short term memory loss. He got dealt a bad hand in life, but he’s the most upbeat person now. Someone I look up to and my biggest supporter.”
With Rychart’s brother and parents still living in America, he still has plenty of support in Australia from his family (partner Megan and baby Avery), and the team.
“It’s a great team, there are no selfish players. Geoff is very passionate. We’ve got a lot more younger guys this year, it’s going to bring in a depth that is going to push us harder, make us younger. I’m a bit more sore but that’s good. I’m old school, if a coach isn’t pushing you hard they don’t care.”
The Brisbane Capitals Men’s QBL Team play their last pre-season game at NAB Stadium, Auchenflower on Saturday, April 21st. Admission is free to all.
The QBL season commences Sunday April 29th, with an away game vs Gold Coast. The first QBL season home game is scheduled for May 12th at NAB Stadium vs Ipswich. Tip-off at 7pm. Admission: Adults $10.00, Children under 16 $5.00 and Brisbane Capitals junior representative players are free.