Joel Dyer, from Adelaide, Australia, decided to take his talents to Huntington, Ind., to begin his collegiate basketball career as a Forester. Dyer has fought through adversity in his two years at HU, and he continues to embrace every challenge

By Zach Goodline, Contributor

Joel Dyer received a call from a random phone number at 10 a.m. in his living room while watching an NBA game. 

“I was expecting a phone call from a U.S. number because one of my coaches had a connection with Coach Alford,” said Dyer. “But when I heard the phone start ringing, my heart started racing.”

After that conversation with head men’s basketball coach Kory Alford, Dyer decided he was going to come to the United States to play basketball at HU. It was his first and only collegiate offer, but he was excited for the opportunity. Dyer still struggles with playing time, culture shock, and being away from home for the first time in his life. But he battles through each and every challenge he’s confronted with. 

KANGAROO JOE: Joel Dyer sporting his home jersey on media day. (Photograph by HU Athletics)

“I wasn’t nervous coming to America because this had always been my dream,” said Dyer. “I had been working my whole life for this opportunity, so it was a no-brainer for me.” 

It was not just a change for Dyer but for his whole family back home. Dyer has a 17-year-old sister, Caitlin, an 11-year-old brother, Caleb, and his parents, Jon and Susan.

“It has definitely been odd not having Joel at home,” said his father, Jon, in a phone interview from Australia. “We were sad to see him leave but understood it was a dream of his for so long, so the excitement outweighed any disappointment of him leaving.”

The time difference between Eastern Standard Time and Adelaide, Australia is 13 hours and 30 minutes. 

“My father sometimes stays up till 3 a.m. to watch our games,” said Dyer. “He has always been my biggest fan.”

It was already hard enough for Dyer leaving the country–let alone leaving in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. It took Dyer over a month to get clearance. 

“I had to get an exemption from the country to leave because only a certain amount of people were to leave during the pandemic,” said Dyer. “It took me 32 hours in total with the layovers included for me to arrive in Fort Wayne where Coach Alford picked me up.”

This was the first time Alford and Dyer had meant each other. Immediately after picking Dyer up from the airport, Alford drove him straight to a church in Huntington where he had to quarantine for two weeks.

“It was pretty boring, and it was hard to get food because they had to bring it to me like I was in prison,” said Dyer. “I was pretty scared too because I was the only one there, and there were pictures of nuns on the wall.” 

Dyer said everywhere he looked, there were nuns walking around the church.

Eventually, Dyer was cleared. Since that first practice, his coaches and teammates realized Dyer was a special shooter. 

“He loves basketball and is one of our hardest workers,” said assistant coach Ryan Strohm. “He has a pure shooting stroke and is one of the best shooters I have ever been around.” 

THE CHARITY STRIPE: Dyer focused on cashing in two free throws against Goshen College in February (Photograph by Joane Green)

In the 2021-2022 season, Dyer shot a team leading 50% behind the arc overall but in conference games shot a league best 63.2%.

“I have enjoyed my past two seasons, but I think I have been inconsistent,” said Dyer about his play. “When I have had confidence I have shown what I am able to do on the court.”

Dyer is more than just a sniper on the basketball court. He brings a great attitude and a unique perspective in the locker room.

“Joel is always teaching guys about his lifestyle, and it is often funny to hear them asking him questions about differences in Australia and America,” said graduate assistant Jared Jauch. 

Dyer is looking to improve his game and numbers in the upcoming season and has enjoyed his college experience so far.

“I have had ‘good fun’ in America and I’m happy I made this decision to attend Huntington,” said Dyer.

Yes, “good fun” is some Australian lingo.