Unfinished business

Back from serious injury, Arash Dusek determined to help George Brown make some post-season noise

It was a routine practice drill, early in the 2016-2017 season.

Second-year Huskies basketball guard Arash Dusek slipped, twisted his knee and kept going through the practice.

“I felt like nothing was wrong but then the next morning I woke up and I saw that my knee is like three times bigger,” said Dusek.

Doctors diagnosed a torn ACL in his left knee. Surgery was necessary but Dusek would be forced to wait until March to go under the knife. In the meantime, through physical therapy, he was deemed fit enough to play with a special brace, but his effectiveness was limited.

“I tried to play most games as much as I could but, obviously, without an ACL I couldn’t really play as much. I couldn’t play heavy minutes (and) I couldn’t really play in too many hard games.”

Finally in January of last season, Dusek shut it down. He underwent surgery in early March and with that, also missed out on the first trip the Huskies made to the national championship tournament in 40 years.

As the George Brown Huskies men’s basketball regular season moves ahead towards the post-season, the spotlight is more intense and the stakes are higher. But for Dusek, the playoffs represent the next step in his comeback.

Since his 2017-18 season debut on Nov. 4, it’s been all about getting his game up to speed, even in the middle of a tight battle for the East Division title.

Born in Toronto, Dusek spent the majority of his teenage years in Iran, where he played professional ball. He lived in Tehran from the time he was 10 until returning to Canada at 19, except for one year in the Czech Republic. Dusek arrived back looking to explore possible North American basketball options. Through his brother in Toronto, he ended up making a connection with George Brown in 2016.

“I had just moved to Canada around July and I was looking for a place to play basketball and coach (Jonathan) Smith saw me maybe in two practices and then eventually he told me that he’d offer me a scholarship for George Brown,” said Dusek.

Smith has high praise for Dusek, marveling at the 21-year-old’s maturity and the way he carries himself on and off the court. Smith described him as “a pro player playing college basketball.”

“He’s an extremely intelligent basketball player, very high IQ. You tell him something once, he doesn’t forget,” Smith said. “He’s one of the guys that knows every position so we can use him at multiple spots, which is a rarity these days.”

As the team nears the playoffs that begin on March 1, Dusek thinks any post-season success could hinge on something he’s all too familiar with.

“I think we have the right pieces. Now we just have to make sure we’re all healthy. That’s something that we’ve been dealing with this whole season,” Dusek said.

According to statistics from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association, only five Huskies have played in each game of the season. Dusek has played in nine of the past 10 games, including six in a row.

“Hopefully this semester we get all our guys and we’ll be healthy throughout the rest of the semester and we can get to nationals again.”

The Huskies next play on Feb. 4 at home against Canadore.

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Unfinished business