It has been a tough three-month stretch for Bahamian professional basketball player Dwight Coleby in Sassari, Italy, but now, he is home and is working out, trying to stay active. He is scheduled to head back to Europe in mid-August.
Coleby was on the repatriation flight that brought Bahamians back home in early June from the United Kingdom. He said he is happy to be back among familiar faces.
“Feels great to see my family again. It was about three to four months being in Italy without being able to come to my home country. I’m just happy to be around them,” Coleby said.
Not being able to be around family and friends during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic was hard at first for him, said Coleby. He noted that while in Italy, he was not in any danger of being exposed to the virus.
When Coleby’s season ended in March, he was playing for Dinamo Sassari in the Basketball Championship League in Sassari. The league followed the stance of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States of America (USA), which suspended its season in March.
“Knowing I had time to develop more chemistry with the team, I didn’t want to force anything at that moment, but, knowing what I know now, things would’ve been a lot different for sure. I’m just glad to be home,” Coleby said.
In five Basketball Champions League games, Coleby averaged 4.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He also played three games in Serie A, where he had just 1.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Since returning home, Coleby said he has returned to the court after his quarantine period and started to get his on-court workouts done, before he makes his way back to Europe to play.
“Workouts have been getting better every day,” Coleby said. “I’m just trying to make up for all the lost time. I stayed active while in quarantine, so it wasn’t as bad starting back up, but I am still getting in better shape now – working my way up with more workload every week.”
The 26-year-old will not be returning to Italy when basketball resumes in Europe, as he signed a contract in late-June to play for Denizli Basket in the Turkish Basketball League in Denizli, Turkey. During his last stint in Turkey, he played for Sigotam.net ITU Basket Istanbul in the Basketball Super League (BSL), where he averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 15 games.
The big man said for next season, he is looking to expand his game, looking to assist his team in winning a championship – something that he said is crucial to him. Coleby said he has been working on that since he has returned to the court, working on his shot-making ability and ball handling skills.
The senior men’s national basketball team player is looking forward to suiting up for The Bahamas again.
Collegiately, Coleby started out with the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels, averaging just 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game during his freshman season. His numbers increased to 5.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in his sophomore year at Ole Miss, but he sat out the following year with a knee injury after transferring to Lawrence, Kansas, to play for the highly ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Coleby suited up for the Jayhawks for the 2016-2017 season, and in just 5.6 minutes per contest, he dropped in 1.7 points per game and added 1.8 rebounds per game, but helped lead the Jayhawks to the Elite Eight in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament that year. In a second round upset win over Michigan State, Coleby stepped in for Landen Lucas, who was in foul trouble, and played well, and was mobbed by teammates afterward.
As a fifth-year senior for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Coleby’s numbers skyrocketed to 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
The 6’9”, 240-pound forward’s return to Turkey will depend on how the pandemic is affecting The Bahamas and the rest of the world. Up to press time, Turkey had 218,717 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,914 deaths. Here, in The Bahamas, the numbers have skyrocketed lately, with 49 confirmed cases since July 8. There are now 153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 11 deaths.