09 - 15
June 2024
14/06/2024
Player Story
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Float like a butterfly, sting like Sir'Dom's chase down blocks

DUBAI (UAE) - 4.5 seconds on the clock, Shabab Al Ahli's Sir'Dominic Pointer gathered with his first step. He took the second step and thrust himself off the floor, cocking back his extended right arm ready to attack.

The motion is almost as if he was rising up for an emphatic tomahawk slam, but instead, it was for explosive rejection - one that denied Gorgan their last chance to tie the game.

Monji to Cherry, Cherry to Vahedi, up for the layup. Oh! Blocked by Pointer! Sir'Dominic Pointer with the rejection!

That wasn't the commentary script in this game, but it might as well have been Mike Breen screaming that into the mic toward the end of the classic Basketball Champions League (BCL Asia) 2024 Semi-Finals matchup between Shabab Al Ahli and Shahrdary Gorgan.

 

Considering that the block sealed the win for the host and locked up their spot in the Final, it was that big of a moment.

You could also feel how big of a moment it was in how the Shabab Al Ahli fans reacted. Or how the local players celebrated. But if you looked closely, you'd see one person who barely reacted to the play: Travin Thibodeaux.

"This is my third country playing with Sir'Dom so I know him really well," Thibodeaux said in a matter-of-factly tone as if that's exactly how he had expected that last sequence to unfold.

"He's one of the best shot-blockers in the world.

"NBA included."

While that might be a hyperbole, there's some truth to it. Pointer has been one of the best shot-blockers ever since playing in Asian club competitions from last season with Manama to now with Shabab Al Ahli.

His specialty in particular is the chase down block, which we've even seen more than once here in Dubai.

 

Still, Pointer sheepishly smiles when hearing his long-time teammate's comments.

"I have to be," he replies, about being a defensive-minded player. "I wasn't a great offensive player."

Of course, Pointer is being incredibly modest in saying so.

He's been eerily consistent since last year, hovering around 16-17 points per game.

Year League Club GP PPG
2024 Basketball Champions League Asia Shabab Al Ahli 4 16.5
2024 FIBA West Asia Super League - Final 8 Manama 3 16.7
2024 WASL - Gulf League Manama 11 16.5
2023 2023 FIBA Intercontinental Cup Singapore Al Manama 3 17.7
2023 West Asia Super League - Final 8 Al Manama 4 16.5
2018 FIBA Europe Cup Alba Fehervar 4 12
Total average     16.3

But Pointer knew that he might not be able to be an elite scorer all the time, so early on in his career, he had to find another way to stay on the court.

"Because I just wanted to play, man."

So he put his head down and went to work on defense. And he worked hard.

The accolades speak for themselves. Pointer was a Big East Most Improved Player in 2015 playing for the St. John's Red Storm and also later went on to be named to the G-League All-Defensive Team in 2020.

He credits his defense, especially his shot-blocking , to a unique part of his development.

"I guess I have good footwork," said Pointer, explaining how he's able to effectively chase down layup attempts. "It all comes from when I was boxing when I was young."

"My whole family were professional boxers." He recalled.

"My brother was. And like six of my cousins. It was a bunch of them. Just professional."

"So I did that at first and then switched over to basketball because like my family was much older than me.

"I didn't play organized ball until I was probably, 10, 11, or 12 somewhere around that age. After I stopped boxing," he recalled. "So that's when I started playing [basketball]."

"My dad kind of pushed me away [from boxing] because my brother's like maybe 15 years older than me and it was kind of fading out and [the other health concerns] were coming out so he didn't want [me to box] anymore."

In the end, that was definitely the right decision. Sir'Dom has worked his way up the basketball ranks and is now a step away from being a champion of champions in Asia with Shabab Al Ahli.

"We got a good team here, so I feel like we got a chance," Pointer said way back even before playing the first game, now looking like a prophet.

"We got a chance as long as we go out there and play hard."

So play hard they did.

And here they are.

BCL Asia 2024 Finalists.

FIBA