The expectation that the Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames men’s team will be among the main contenders for the inaugural NBL1 West title was the driving factor in versatile Queenslander Atem Bior signing with the club for the 2021 season.

The University of Texas at San Antonio alum will arrive in Rockingham on Saturday, March 27 to begin a new chapter in his basketball career and according to the man himself, signing with a genuine title contender fills him with excitement.

“There are pretty high expectations for this team, and I really like that a lot,” Bior said.

“To be at a contender is awesome, it’s why you play. It’s a pretty good team on paper so hopefully it’s as good on the court. You look at the team and there’s firepower everywhere; just really good players. Hopefully I’m able to fit around those pieces and help the team find its balance.”

Bior said his agent being from Perth played as big a part in him signing for the Flames as the conversations he has had with coach Ryan Petrik, as he was able to draw on multiple opinions regarding the club.

“My agent being from Perth knows the teams so was able to make contact, and Rockingham was one of the teams that showed the most interest in me,” he said.

“Coach Ryan also revealed his vision for the team and how he thinks I fit into that, and it was all really positive to me. Having those two perspectives really made it an easy decision to sign.”

A 202cm wing, Bior spent two season in the US college system with the Roadrunners, where he primarily played as the sixth man, averaging 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 19.2 minutes per game across his two seasons and 64 games played.

Whether he continues in a similar role with the Flames, or finds himself in the starting line-up, Bior said he wants to keep improving and build on his 16 points and 8 rebounds per game averages in the 2020 Queensland State League, that state’s West Coast Classic equivalent.

“Starting or coming on to change a game, either way I’m excited,” he said.

“I’ve been improving my game and getting better with the ball and playing more as a guard. Naturally I’m a bigger guy so I’ve played from the post a lot, but I’ve been getting better at effecting the game with my guard skills.

“But it really doesn’t matter what role I play, as long as I find my way to being a good offensive and defensive player. I set my goal for the QSL to average 20 and 10 and I got 16 and 8 and we (Logan Thunder) made the semi finals, so I would call that a successful season and something to build on.

“I think going to a new state and new team will be refreshing, and being able to play with some really experienced and smarter NBL guys will allow me to grow. Everything about this season excites me and I’m keen… super keen to mix it with the younger guys and the more experienced dudes.

“I can’t wait to get there and meet up with the guys and getting down to winning a championship.”

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