For someone who has just turned 31, Luke Schenscher has been involved in a lot of the NBL’s greatest moments.
As a fan he experienced the infamous Apollo Stadium in Adelaide, but his most vivid memory is the 1994 overtime Grand Final at Adelaide Arena.
“I just remember the place was packed, I couldn’t get a seat. I actually had to go into the Apollo Room upstairs and we were all packed in like sardines,” he said.
“The place was just crazy, it was an awesome experience.”
A young Brett Maher was about to launch himself to stardom, but Darryl McDonald stole the show with his amazing game-winner against the 36ers’ tyro.
Schenscher said he “really started to get into it” as a 36ers fan during the “Title Town” days from 1998 to 2002 when Maher led the way to three championships.
But when Schenscher returned from the US, he found it surreal to be playing alongside Adelaide’s favourite son.
“I tried to play it cool and act like it was no big deal but it was huge,” he said.
“To be there for his final game when the court got named after him was very special. I remember in the last quarter he made a huge three from probably a metre behind the NBA three-point line and I just remember the place going absolutely crazy.”
Next stop was Perth, where Schenscher witnessed Kevin Lisch produce one of the NBL’s greatest quarters in the 2010 NBL Grand Final decider.
“It was one of those moments when you just watch one person take over and pretty much win the championship,” he said.
“It’s not something you see very often.”
Schenscher considers himself lucky to have been a part of the NBL’s most successful club.
“They are a very proud bunch over there and rightfully so,” he said.
“Everyone tells you straight away how successful they have been and they make sure you know all the stuff that’s happened in the past and what a great city Perth is.”
After a highly successful stint in Townsville, a club the 216cm giant described as being run by “genuine people who are there for genuine reasons”, Schenscher returned home to Adelaide to be a part of the club’s 30th year.
The first step was Adelaide’s incredible win at the opening of the 12,000-seat Perth Arena, a stadium many believe is the NBL’s first step back to the glory days.
“I still remember we were shooting around that morning and stretching on the railing – the paint was coming off onto our hands it was that new. There were people still screwing seats in and the game was starting in a few hours,” he said.
“It was just great to be there with that massive crowd and to get the win and silence the crowd, that was a great feeling, too.
“A lot of the old stars were there and it was just great for basketball to have a stadium like that packed out.”