Dickel to coach in the Philippines

Mark Dickel.
Mark Dickel.
Leaving home is never easy, but it is the right time for Mark Dickel.

The 41-year-old has secured a coaching role with Filipino professional basketball team Talk and Text Manila.

After announcing the move on Wednesday night, the Otago product was already in Manila before his new team's game this weekend.

It was "always hard to leave" New Zealand, but he felt the time was right.

"The main attraction of the job in the Philippines was a new challenge, to push myself to continue to grow," Dickel told the Otago Daily Times from Manila.

"I believe in myself, so I have no fear of failing. Also the team TNT is a traditional basketball powerhouse in a basketball-mad country.

"To be in an organisation with extensive resources and an exciting vision for the future."

The former Tall Black returned to New Zealand eight years ago after a successful playing career in the United States and Europe.

Arguably the country's best ever point guard, he returned to play for the Southland Sharks in 2011, then spent the next three years with the Otago Nuggets.

While in Dunedin he took on the role of director of development at Basketball Otago and player-coached the Nuggets in 2014.

When the team folded at the conclusion of that season he moved to Christchurch. There he coached the Canterbury Rams for four seasons and was influential in the Mainland Eagles development academy.

He said the move was one his family had supported, which made it easier. However, it was hard leaving behind the players he coached.

He felt he had matured a lot during his time at home and was ready for a new challenge.

"The last eight years I have found my own identity outside of being a basketball player.

"To come home to Dunedin and have my family live there for four years was awesome. They were able to see where I am from.

"And to give back to a whole new generation of kids my love for the game of basketball is my proudest achievement."

He felt New Zealand basketball was in a strong place and more high-level talent could be on the way.

"Young people are now identifying with true world sports like basketball and soccer.

"Having a great NBA player like Steve Adams helps, and it is only a matter of a couple of years and we will have more players in the NBA."


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