Five Queensland basketball players, Jaylen Bin Tahal and Aron Farmer from Cairns Marlins, Verle Williams Jr – South West, Elijah Puna – South West and Jessica McDowell-White – Southern Districts are currently in the Gold Coast, Queensland taking part in the FIBA’s first Pacific Youth Leaders Camp.
This camp brings together the Pacific’s best emerging talent between the ages of 17 & 20 to participate in a 10-day elite basketball and youth development camp which kicked off Saturday. It puts the athletes through a strenuous training program, involving elite on-court drills and a youth program which focuses on off-court life lessons.
These athletes have to opportunity to learn directly from some of Australia’s greatest basketball legends and compete against some of the best young players in the Oceanic region. Several past Boomers and Opals stars who are helping lead the camp include Annie La Fleur, Glen Saville, Allison Tranquilli, Paul Rogers and Kelsey Griffin.
In addition to working with the participants on the court, the Australian Basketball greats have scheduled time to share their experiences and life stories. “Basketball shaped my life and I have been lucky in so many ways,” commented La Fleur.
The camp kicked off on Friday morning with a welcome from FIBA Oceania Director, David Crocker who explained that the athletes had not just been chosen for their basketball and athletic skills, but also for their leadership credentials and role model potential.
Saturday the athletes dove straight into their performance testing which included: 20-meter sprints, an agility test, vertical leap tests, wingspan measurements and the yoyo test. At the completion of these tests, Queenslander Verle William Jr was the standout male competitor. Saturday afternoon consisted of the campers attending their first leadership session – which included, discovering their inner voices and challenging one another to get out of their comfort zones.
The campers finally got to see the court on Sunday. The girls focused on shooting with WNBL coach Carrie Graf whilst the boys focused on grading and planning with coach Phil Smyth, a former captain of the Australian Boomers.
Already at day 5 of the 10-day camp, campers continue to attend leaderships session and daily training sessions. In the coming days, campers will also get a chance to play against the recently announced U20 state squads.
Want to know more? Keep up-to-day with the all the news from the Pacific Youth Leaders Camp on the FIBA Oceania Website.