AFTER a brilliant performance with Ireland across the FIBA European Championships for Small Countries tournament in Tallaght, Jordan Blount has inked a one-year deal with Thor AK Akureyri in Iceland for what will be his second season as a professional.
Blount, 24, was unsurprisingly spoiled for choice with offers from pro teams but felt it was necessary to find the “right fit” in a setup where he could “showcase his talents in the best way possible.”
The move comes on the back of a stellar season in Spain where he got the chance to compete with fellow Cork native, Adrian O’Sullivan, who also featured heavily in Tallaght ahead of his return to Ballincollig BC for their pending Super League season.
A series of stints with Basket Navarra Club, Forca Lleida and CD Carbajosa have allowed him to take a leap to the Icelandic Urvalsdeild Karla League for the upcoming campaign.
“I got to see a lot of Spain playing with different teams in different leagues so I definitely enjoyed that aspect of the year.
The one thing that I will take away from last season is that this game is a business when it comes to being a professional.
“You have to keep your wits about you and mind your Ps and Qs because there’s a lot of stuff going on in backrooms that you just don’t know about and I quickly learned that it is a cut-throat business.”
However, Blount attributes last month’s success with the Ireland setup for the outpour of clubs interested in his services.
An increase in points, rebounds and assists from his performance at his last FIBA tournament in San Marino in 2018 is a testament to the evolution of Blount’s game.
“My performances at the Euros really helped me.
A lot of teams paid attention to it and they got to see a side to my game that they probably weren’t too familiar with when it came to passing the ball, which definitely excited a lot of coaches.”
Blount had an imposing tournament, finishing in the tournament’s top three for efficiency, assists and rebounds.
His last competitive Irish appearance on home soil came at the Mardyke three years ago and the northsider described the feeling of donning the Irish singlet again as “immense”.
“I was very happy and lucky to represent my country on such a big stage where so many people were watching. It’s a time where our basketball community has been torn apart and we haven’t had the chance to be together or feel the atmosphere of a basketball game indoors.
“So, to be able to win on home soil with Ireland across my chest was absolutely huge.”
Blount will join an organisation with decent domestic success and intriguing potential for the year ahead with head coach Bjarki Armann Oddsson at the helm. The Neptune BC underage graduate has had regular dialogue with his future boss and they’ve both set their sights on winning it all.
“We’ve been having a lot of good conversations recently so hopefully that stays the same when I get out there and we can make a run at the championship.”
Blount is settling into the second biggest city in Iceland, behind Reykjavik, before the first game on Sunday.
“We’ve our first game on September 5 in Iceland so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s generally a very cold place but the season doesn’t last as long as other places.
Blount chuckled at the idea of some time off, debating whether it was a positive or negative for him before reassuring himself that regular high-level basketball over the last few months would work in his favour.
“Fortunately, I haven’t had a break. I’m still sharp from playing basketball all through the summer so I’m thankful for that and I’m ready to go.
Courtesy of Evening Echo