WARRNAMBOOL Seahawks import Sai’Quon Stone will make his highly-anticipated Big V debut this weekend following an enforced layoff.
The American guard spoke to The Standard shortly after receiving the all clear from the immigration department yesterday afternoon.
Stone, 26, will suit up against Geelong Supercats at the Arc on Saturday night, having missed the opening three games of the division one season.
The University of Southern Mississippi graduate said he was relieved and excited.
“I feel great. I got the message when I was doing laundry so it made my day so much better,” Stone said.
“I have been waiting for this for a long time and am happy.
“I am emotional right now and overwhelmed with how happy I am to finally be playing basketball, which is what I came here to do.
“Hopefully I can show up and live up to all the hype.”
Stone said watching his new teammates play had been tough, particularly given he was fit to play and had trained strongly.
He supported the Seahawks from the bench as they started their campaign with two wins and a loss. “It has been very painful because I have worked so hard with these guys and they are expecting me out there fighting with them and I couldn’t because my hands were tied,” Stone said.
“The guys know I am supporting them and they are supportive of me.
“They felt for me and felt bad for me.
“I tried to be not too emotional out there. I tried to be positive.”
The New York native, who prides himself on his defensive mindset, said the Seahawks’ depth gave them every chance of pushing for playoffs this season.
“We could have been 3-0 but I think the team showed how deep we are without me, how good we are,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter who we have on the court, we still have a chance to win.”
Stone took positives out of his enforced layoff and now had a greater understanding of how his new teammates played and how coach Bobby Cunningham and assistant coach Craig McLeod operated.
“I learned how good a coaching staff we have,” he said.
“I think the hardest part was game day. Every day was cool until game.”
The 196-centimetre Stone will add height to the Seahawks’ roster against Geelong and will call on his NCAA division one experience.
“I am a playmaker. We have great players around me and whoever has the hot hands we will feed off that,” he said.
“We understand we are going to have to defend and rebound.”
Stone encouraged Seahawks fans to support the team at its home games this year, labelling them their “sixth man”.
Warrnambool hosts Geelong at 7pm at the Arc on Saturday night.