The taste of a Tokyo Olympics bronze medal has Boomers guard Nathan Sobey hungry for further success with the Brisbane Bullets this season.
Sobey has returned from Tokyo, where the Boomers’ ended their Olympic medal drought, with renewed confidence and determination to turn the Bullets into a genuine NBL title contender.
“We’ve definitely got a great group of guys and we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong,” said 31-year-old Sobey, who joined the Bullets in 2019 from the Adelaide 36ers.
“We haven’t played in the playoffs since I’ve been here in Brisbane and I haven’t played (in the playoffs) since my second last year in Adelaide either, so I’m pretty hungry to get back there and see what we can do.”
Sobey’s self-belief isn’t a secret.
Having originally missed Australia’s Olympics squad, he forced his way into the Tokyo travelling party with superb form for the Bullets last season.
While his heroics weren’t enough to lift Brisbane into the playoffs, it earned him selection in the All-NBL First Team and forced the hand of Boomers coach Brian Goorjian.
“It wasn’t the easiest way to go about it, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how you get there,” Sobey said.
“I was able to get there in the end … so it definitely means a lot for me to be part of that (Boomers squad), especially after initially being told that I wasn’t going to be part of it.
“It’s obviously still special but moving forward, we’ve got a big job to do here and get ready for the upcoming season and hopefully reach our goals that we want to get to, and we’re just really building for that.”
Sobey has yet to join in fully with his teammates and new Bullets coach James Duncan at training after having hand surgery on his return from Tokyo.
“I won’t go into the details of all the stuff that went on,” he said.
“I just had it fixed up and I’m about two weeks away from being back to full contact. It’s right around the corner, so I’m slowly building and getting there.
“I’m still learning what we’re doing but right now (Duncan’s) main focus is on the defensive end. We need to get a lot better at that.”
The Bullets start their NBL season on December 3 against the Wildcats in Perth, followed by a game two days later against Sobey’s former team, the 36ers, in Adelaide.
Brisbane’s first home match of the new campaign is against competition newcomers the Tasmania JackJumpers on December 19.