From the Big Dance to the Big Pineapple

Written by Greg Dawkins. Photos by Jeremy Morris

USC Basketball Club add Kyle Zunic for NBL 1 North season

The University of Sunshine Coast Basketball Club have signed Winthrop College graduate Kyle Zunic for the 2021 NBL1 North season.

In his four years in the US collegiate system, Zunic achieved more than he could have imagined at the South Carolina school, and now he's ready to take the next steps of his basketball career at USC Rip City.

Zunic, 22, won two Big South Conference Championships with the Winthrop Eagles and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, commonly known as the Big Dance.

“My college experience was amazing,” the former Australian junior representative said. “To be able to say that I went to college for four years is so awesome and I’m so thankful to Winthrop for giving me an opportunity and to also just look after me so well while I was over there. I had a lot of fun and it was an overall great experience.

“It’s good to be back home and it was awesome to see all of my family when I got back and it feels good to be back in Australia to get my career going over here.”

The Sanctuary Point, NSW product said the opportunity at USC Rip City was a perfect launchpad as he looks to extend his basketball career into the professional ranks.

“I can’t wait to see what happens up here and to get out on the court with all of the boys,” Zunic said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun up here working on my game and getting better.

“For me individually, my goals are to just keep working on my game and getting better every day. The facilities here and everything I have access to will help me so much with my game and it’s super exciting to be here getting myself better as a player.

“As for the team, it’s just to go into every game confident we can win. I’m hoping to come in and help this team win on a nightly basis and as long as we continue to get better as some of the other boys come in then I’m sure each time we play we will have a great chance of winning.”

The 188cm guard arrived on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday to watch his new teammates defeat Rockhampton Rockets 90-73.

“It was such a good team win,” Zunic said. “I thought the boys played awesome and they were so welcoming of me when I was there to sit on the bench with them. I could tell it felt good for them to get a win so hoping we can continue that form when I get out there too.

“It’s a great league this year and there will be a lot of challenges that I can’t wait to face. Wherever we play it’s always going to be tough and it’s great for us to get better as a team each and every week and it’s very exciting to see what we can do.”

USC's NBL1 North season continues with Round 5 versus Brisbane Capitals at USC Sports Stadium on Saturday (12 June). The women’s game will tip off at 6pm, followed by the men’s game at 8pm.

For tickets, go to Rip City and Baker's Delight (Kawana & Maroochydore) half-court shot has jackpotted with $1200 on the line. Both games will be streamed live and free on and the NBL app.

The finals, including a best-of-three game conference championship series, will be played in August-September after a 14-round regular season.

The champions from the four conferences – North, Central, South, and West – will then compete in the inaugural NBL1 Finals Series in Melbourne from September 10-12.

For sponsor information contact USC Basketball President Matt Nason on 0407 708 737.

For media enquiries contact Erin Patton 0418 883 950 or

Zunic basketball career highlights

  • Key member of the U17 Australian National Team that finished seventh at the 2016 FIBA World Championships

  • Participant at the 2016 Australia Prospect Camp

  • Played a key role in the New South Wales run to win the Australian U18 Championships

  • Competed on the U19 Australian National Team that represented the country in the FIBA Oceania qualifiers

  • Two-time Big South Conference Champions

  • appearance in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Tournament

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