As one door closes in life, another opens.
This was exactly how Bendigo's "Jumping" Joe Hurst found himself making the move from his native East Saint Louis in Illinois to Hobart in the late 1980s to play in the NBL.
Hurst was in his final year of university at Northwest Missouri State when he suffered an ankle injury, right as he was on the verge of being drafted to the Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento).
He was now on the sidelines but was determined to remain involved with the game in anyway he could, so Hurst accepted a job as a university recruiter, which came with plenty of perks such as a car and apartment.
"I was pretty settled with what I was doing and was very happy," Hurst said.
"But then about a year later my coach came and told me that Kansas City wanted me to come down and trial for their lower league team."
Hurst, and a teammate set out for Quad Cities, arriving at one of the biggest stadiums the pair had ever seen.
"When we got there they put us all in different teams and after about 15 minutes I was pulled off the court," he said.
"I thought I had already been cut as they told me to go, but it was the opposite they were so happy with how I was playing," Hurst laughed.
He was now on the team and after a month or so as a regular starter, some of the NBA's biggest stars were relegated down to the squad.
"I went from a starter to the bench after the addition of some strong players," he said
"The writing was on the wall that I probably wouldn't see much court time in the US."
However, Hurst had the attention of David Adkins, who at the time was head coach of the NBL Hobart Devils.
The next thing he knew he was on a flight to Melbourne, Australia.
After a flight across the Pacific Ocean and then another down to the Apple Isle, he found himself in Hobart.
There were the usual differences between countries such as driving on the opposite side of the road, but there was one drastic contrast which gave him a real shock.
"Some teammates picked me up from the airport and on the drive I spotted some lit up courts," he said.
"I saw some basketball rings, but they had no backboards.
"My teammates told me that in Australia they played basketball with no backboards.
"I thought to myself, wow, this is going to be interesting. But obviously not, that's when I first learnt about netball," he laughed.
In 1988 "Jumping Joe" made a name for himself down under with the Devils and was subsequently named as the season's MVP.
He played with the Devils in the 1989 and 92 seasons where he truly mastered his craft.
However, the part of the game he has cherished more than anything, especially in Australia, are the valuable friendships.
"This was how I learned to drive myself as a player. Once I was able to develop strong relationships I started playing not just for myself, but for each other," Hurst said.
"This drove me to be my best on and off the court, it always helped me find that little bit of extra effort."
In between seasons Hurst would fly home to the US, but before too long he made the decision that Australia was where he wanted to be.
More than 30 years later, that's exactly where he is.
"I acclimatised to the open arms of the Australian people," Hurst said.
"Every time I would go home I found the pace of American life was just too quick.
"No one had time for a proper conversation, it was competitive and where I was from in East Saint Louis crime was at its worst."
During the first year in Australia he met his partner Tania and the two have been together since and currently live happily in Bendigo, where he is now in his dream job as the Bendigo Basketball director of coaching.
Before the move to Bendigo, Hurst worked in Youth Justice in Mildura.
His daughter Ahlise played junior basketball in Mildura, but it wasn't long before she developed into a skillful player and wanted to follow in her father's footsteps.
To help with the development of her career, Hurst took long-service leave to allow ample time to be able to take Ahlise to high-performance training sessions around Victoria.
In 2016 the family moved to Bendigo, with Hurst taking up a job in corrections, and then in 2017 Ahlise signed as a development player with the Spirit.
After a stint with the Spirit Ahlise was offered a scholarship to the University of New Mexico to play college basketball with the Lobos.
After decades on the court, Hurst's goal is to give back the community in any way possible.
"Whether through my work in youth justice or coaching in Bendigo, I love being able to give something back," Hurst said.
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