Basketball Ballarat’s Kasey Cornwall caught up with new American import Greogory Thondique at training on Friday night before his first game for the GMHBA Ballarat Miners. Read all about Gregg and his basketball so far below.
When Gregg Thondique arrived at training Friday night, not even 12 hours since placing his feet on Australian soil, he was excited to begin his SEABL career and it is evident he will be a great fit into the Ballarat Miners squad.
Thondique has been playing basketball since he was in grade 3, he was drawn to the sport originally because his friends were playing it and it was a way to keep off the streets and keep his Mum happy. It has always been a dream to play basketball competitively, and once in high school Thondique thought, “I can probably make a living out of this”
When discussing his extensive career, he remembers the best piece of advice he received was at collegiate level, “you better dunk everything now, while you can, because when you get older you’re not going to be able to” this is definitely something he has taken with him throughout his playing career.
Thondique’s collegiate basketball career was successful, with him securing a starting five spot and constantly gaining high averages, but it’s a passion to win that he really took from his college career. “Doing whatever it takes to win, always finding a way” is what he believes is important in basketball. Thondique’s mindset of rebounding and working hard on defence even if the offences are not working is testament to his hard work ethic.
His career has spanned over 6 countries, and he has worked out that all countries have their own style of basketball. He is used to adjusting to different game styles, but at the end of the day, says Thondique, “its just basketball, its not that hard.”
Gregg has just finished another season abroad, but his desire to taste success is high, “its always the best if you are on top, but every season is a new chase”, every season Thondique likes to improve an element of his game and admits that there is always something he will be working on.
Thondique’s stats show he plays well in the paint, but is also very impressive mid-range. He started his career in the paint and wasn’t sure of it to begin with. His college coach pointed to the rim and that’s where Thondique has learnt, the best way to get the ball, is to get the rebound.
Offensively, Thondique plays really well in a structured offense, believing it comes down to the chemistry on court, the more you play together and the better you complement each other the better you will work together. It was evident that Gregg likes to be able to play this way, and understand his teammates game well enough to predict it.
The Ballarat Miners play a fast paced, athletic game and that is the style of play Thondique plays, he loves to “get up and down the court, quick shots and fast paced”, he is very excited to play the game at this pace.
Gregg and Roy Booker have played together in Israel and Gregg thinks that Roy’s game style really complements his, they gelled really quickly and play well together. He thinks the style of play is something that he is very familiar with.
The Miners are going to get intensity, competitiveness and the will to win by including Thondique in the team. He prides himself in playing for the team and hopes his new teammates can feed off him in that respect.
Gregg is excited to hit the road for game one, the crowd’s reaction and hostility is something he feeds off when playing. The forward is excited for the rivalry game and is certain he is going to limit his first game jitters and play well.
One of the great stories of the Miners new signing is Greg’s connection to Victoria. Having family in Melbourne means that his family can come and watch him play. Something that hasn’t really happened for Greg for about 4 years, he can’t wait for the rush “just to have somebody that you know is watching you”.
The Ballarat Miners hit the road this weekend to take on the Bendigo Braves on Saturday 13 June. Games tip off at 6:00pm with the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush, followed by the Miners at 8:00pm.
The Miners and Rush return home to take on BA CoE and Mt Gambier the Minerdome on Sunday 21 June.