Saint Lucian volleyballer Julian Bissette finally swings into action this weekend with Greek club MENT.
The 6’6″ (1.98m) 23-year-old Middle Blocker’s professional career well and truly gets underway with League Cup action against First Division teams Aris and PAOK. The Greek Volleyball League gets underway for MENT next week with a game against Panathinaikos.
It’s actually been several months since it was announced that Julian had been signed by MENT, after the Greek club was promoted to the First Division for the first time in its long history this year. Officially the Educational Union of Toumba Youth (Morfotiki Enosis Neoleas Toumbas), MENT started as a basketball club in 1926. The team is located in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Since signing with MENT in June, Julian has obtained the requisite medical clearance and has undergone the process of acquiring a Greek visa and work certificate. He has also started several preseason games, including a fundraising mini cup competition in which MENT made the finals. And of course he’s been getting used to his new environment.
In a recent interview, he said: “I was warmly welcomed by the team, the coach [Spyros Gkolitsis] and the staff. I feel good and I try to do my best for the club. It’s my first time here but I am not anxious. I am just happy to be here and I will give my best for the club. My goal this season is to see MENT stays in division one and for me to help the team from my position.”
Julian and MENT had a couple of false starts earlier this month. First, all sport in Greece was suspended for one week due to a stadium accident that claimed the life of a fan. Then it was discovered that the Greece Hellenic League had had some delays in granting licenses to three clubs, thus postponing the intended start of the League Cup.
But now it’s finally game on and game one for Julian, Saint Lucia’s best scorer at the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament, with 68 points and a 52.78 kill percentage on 108 attacks. Julian follows a rich recent sporting lineage from the community of Babonneau, not to mention the storied sporting legacy of St Mary College.