With less than three weeks to go before the U16 Australian Junior Championship tips off from Kilsyth, excitement is building towards the tournament, which has seen the start of many great careers.
Most recently, the likes of Gretel Tippett and Hugh Greenwood, both who will be taking to the floor in the U19 World Championship, all came up through the AJC tournaments, Gretel stating recently that she misses those days and competing for her state.
“Yeah they were great,” said Tippett. “I miss the U16 and U18 Nationals. I enjoyed every one of them and definitely learned a lot during each one of those championships. I just love the whole atmosphere of it. You’re fighting for your state against other states and you become friends with the girls from the other teams throughout the years and I loved it.”
Another rising star, Mitch Creek who currently plays in the NBL for the Adelaide 36ers and is also heading to the U19 World Championship with the Emus recalls his junior tournament days.
“I miss them to death,” said Creek. “I have photos and videos on VHS tapes of playing, even when I was 14. They were probably the best memories I have of basketball in my junior days. They were awesome. They are the only reason why I am where I am now.”
It’s a great start for some of our most talented young basketballers and like all AJC tournaments, no doubt the competition will be fierce and exciting to watch, for the coaches, fans, but also the scouts, who will be looking for the next big thing in Basketball.
Head coach of the AIS men’s program, Ian Stacker, is always on the look-out for another future AIS scholarship holder.
“The AIS’s objective is to get kids who could play for our senior men’s team one day. That’s the key focus for us,” he said.
The coach of the AIS women’s program agrees, but also commented on some of the other traits that they look for, and where they get it from.
“It’s important that we have kids that want to work hard and that aspire to the higher levels, that are coachable,” he said. “…These are the things that we are working at through the states with our network of coaches, with our NITP coaches emphasising some of these areas as well as some of the technical areas of the game,” he said.
Your Kilsyth Cobras play host to the Eltham Wildcats in the NBL1 Game of the Week on Saturday night. The Cobras look to defend home court in a key late season doubleheader, with the Women needing a win to stay in postseason contention, while the 11-6 Men look to continue their rapid rise up
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