Basketball: Boucher to bring up milestone

By Michael Brown

Dillon Boucher of the Breakers. Photo / Getty Images.
Dillon Boucher of the Breakers. Photo / Getty Images.

If basketball players were selected singularly on statistics, Dillon Boucher knows he wouldn't have played very often.

He averages 3.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, but there are other numbers which are more revealing.

Against Cairns tomorrow night, Boucher will play his 200th game for the Breakers - only Paul Henare (250) has played more - and 305th ANBL match overall.

He could also count in the thousands the number of screens he has set for teammates and hundreds the amount of advice he has dished out or basketballs he has dived on a court to retrieve.

Those numbers will soon dry up. The 36-year-old will finally call time at the end of the season on a remarkable career that has tasted both extremes the game can offer, and he's hoping it will end on another high.

With three ANBL and eight New Zealand NBL titles to his name, there are few more decorated basketball players in the country. Those are the things that are important to him, not the number of games he has played.

"It's not really [a big deal]," Boucher said. "I guess my whole career has never been about stats or games played. It's more about results.

"If I was being selected on stats, I probably wouldn't make any team. I have made a career from setting screens and giving guys easy opportunities. That's where I get my satisfaction. I am also able to do things on a court through my intelligence rather than athleticism or skill."

Boucher's 200 games for the Breakers have been achieved in two distinct phases. There was the dreadfully awful period when they languished at the bottom of the competition, went through coaches and players like they were on trial and Boucher was even embroiled in controversy when a text message to friend and former coach Jeff Green about Frank Arsego's coaching style landed him in hot water.

He went off and played a season with Perth (2006) and then secured a title in his two seasons with Brisbane (2007/08) before returning to the Breakers. His second stint has been altogether more successful and a principal reason for his longevity.

"There have been days when it's felt like I have played 300 games but most of the time I feel pretty good," he said. "Towards the end of my career I've been heavily on the winning side of things and it's amazing how much better the body feels after a win rather than a loss. I haven't had to deal with too many losses.

"I know within myself it's getting harder and harder to come to training and kickstart the body. That's when you know your career is coming to a close. Things you used to enjoy are all of a sudden becoming a chore."

There's still enough fire to chase a third consecutive title and a win at Vector Arena over Cairns tomorrow night will help. The Breakers are still equal-top with Perth - the two teams everyone expects to play in the grand final series - but have lost two of their last three, including an abject 75-62 defeat to Sydney last weekend.

The match against Cairns will be their last at home before four away games over the Christmas period when momentum could be gained or lost.

A decision on the health of Will Hudson, who was concussed against Sydney, will be made tomorrow. If he can't play, there's one fairly handy player who doesn't possess the best statistics in the world who could help fill in.

- APNZ

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