End's in sight for veteran Rychart
DUSTY Rychart has always been a no-fuss kind of guy, and he says it will remain that way in what could be the final month of a 304-game, 11-year NBL career.
His return from a leg fracture derailed last week, the forward is expected to suit up for the Taipans (9-14) tonight in New Zealand (21-3).
Injuries have plagued American-born Rychart recently and season averages of 3.8 points and 1.8 rebounds a game are an unfair reflection of his contribution in Cairns and in teams such as the championship-winning Brisbane Bullets of 2006-07.
While still fit and possessing the respect of his teammates, he knows those figures aren't enough for to secure a contract worth signing next season.
"My production won't command a decent contract and there's no reason to hold on, it's not who I am," Rychart, now a naturalised Australian, said.
"If there is a decent-sized contract from Cairns or another club, I wouldn't turn it down. But until that time comes I'm preparing for life outside of basketball."
Don't expect the 35-year-old to go searching for triple-doublesin an effort to salvage something, though.
"I just want to stay injury free and be a piece of the puzzle. If I play five, 10 minutes consistently I can give them that little boost and maybe we can make the play-offs."
Wins against New Zealand and Adelaide on the road in this round would certainly help and Rychart is not understating the importance of fronting up well against the Breakers tonight.
"That's huge. When you say you've got a mathematical chance it usually means you're out of it, but there are a number of teams in our position now. Getting both these wins really opens the door for us," he said.
New Zealand haven't lost a game at home this season, though, and you have to go back to November 2008 to find a Taipans victory across the ditch.
"I'm not really intimidated by too many places. You can't go in psyching yourself out," Rychart said.
"I just go slow and steady and NZ is no different, except they've got a few (championship) banners hanging from the roof now."
Clint Steindl will also return from injury, but Kerry Williams (ankle) has not travelled with the team.
Tip-off is 4.30pm Cairns time. Watch on NBL.TV or follow @cairnssports or facebook.com/cairnssports
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Moving on: Dusty Rychart is back for what could be the final month of his 11-year career.