NCAA Aussie Player Focus – Alex Ducas
WITH the year progressing, the National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) basketball tournaments for men and women are just over a month away.
Plenty of players will be looking to make their mark, with the league well-known as one of the biggest platforms for showcasing talent in the world. Typically, the league is made up of players who have been born and bred in the system and in the United States, but there are some international imports who have impressed scouts enough to make the move overseas.
With the Australian basketball system as strong as ever, the number of Aussies in the NCAA program is growing on a yearly basis. The teams in the collegiate system are now extending their offers to international talents such as Alex Ducas to receive greater opportunities throughout their basketball journeys.
Ducas was born and bred in Geraldton in Western Australia, which is four and a half hours north of the state’s capital, Perth. From a young age he was recognised as an impressive basketball talent, participating in Geraldton’s team, and quickly making a name for himself as one of the state’s biggest young guns.
He began to make national headlines with a fantastic campaign with the Centre of Excellence in the NBL1, where he found his name in plenty of articles around the country. He was able to utilise his biggest strength in his shooting, with his smooth action resulting in high shooting percentages. Ducas was impressing fans and scouts alike with his ability to knock down long range shots both from off the dribble and from the catch.
Ducas then received offers from 11 NCAA division one schools, eventually settling on St. Mary’s which is the very same school that hosted fellow Australian basketball stars Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. Ducas’ decision continues the rich connection the school has with Australia.
His first season saw some adjusting to the NCAA level of play, which occurs for most Aussies who head overseas to join. Playing just 15 minutes a game, Ducas was given limited opportunities, but was still able to use this time to develop other parts of his game, and impress coaches when he hit the court.
He was given more responsibility in his second season of action, delivering more than double the amount of points per game than in his first season, jumping to 7.9 points per game in only 22 minutes per game. He also doubled his rebounding tally to 4.4 per game, taking advantage of his height to crash the boards for his side.
At 6ft 6in, Ducas plays the forward position, and has adapted with the modern game to develop impressive ball-handling skill and the ability to play in the half-court. There are more than a few players who find their knack such as efficient shooting and simply stick to it, but Ducas has adapted his game to add more than a few strings to his bow. His footwork is something to be amazed by, constantly fooling defenders and making his own space.
His strong three-point shooting often sees defences collapse on him when given the ball, but he has developed the ability to blow by his opponent and attack the hoop when the defenders are on the back foot. He has also shown the precise decision making mid-play to understand whether he wants to attack with pace or let it fly from range, given he has shown he is more than capable of both.
Entering his third season at St. Mary’s, Ducas will be hoping for more opportunity on the court. If he is given this, expect the 21-year-old to showcase his talent to those watching around the world.
Picture credit: Richard Carlson/Inertia