Kian Dennis was just an 11 year old living on the Sunshine Coast when his friends introduced him to basketball, and the many opportunities that can come from playing. A year later he was playing in Sunshine Coast Rip’s Under 12 squad, where his love for the game fully matured.
Kian’s big break came after he was selected to play for the Queensland Primary School U12 boys team and, after playing in the National Championship, he was offered a scholarship to Brisbane Boy’s College (BBC). This was only the beginning for Kian, in grade 8 he was selected to participate in the State Performance Program with some of the best players his age in the state.
The following year he was selected for BBC’s Open First V team, as well as the first division Brisbane Capitals team. Later that year he joined the Emerging Queensland U15 team for their tour of the United States.
In top age of U16’s, he made his first non-school Queensland team, of where was named Captain. The following year he was selected as a reserve for the State’s U18 team, and the year after that, Kian finally played in the National Championships. His team’s performance earned them all a silver medal, and the attention of scouts around Australia. Kian earned himself a place on the Australian Crocs team for the 2018 U17 FIBA World Cup in Argentina, along with his teammate Blake Jones.
Kian’s career wasn’t going unnoticed, when he returned home he got the chance to trial for the Brisbane Bullet’s Development and Training Squad. He was selected, his persistence and work ethic paying off, and Kian was catapulted into the next level of Australian Basketball.
Only a few weeks before he was due to play for Queensland’s U20 side in the National Tournament, he got the call to attend his first Australian Development Camp with 40 other players from around Australia. There, he was offered a scholarship by the Centre of Excellence.
“For me personally the biggest take away is that there is always something you can work on no matter how good you are…”
“Moving to the COE was amazing, the experience was the best thing to develop my game,”
“The environment there was really professional and the transition from there to the NBL was made a lot easier.”
After his stint in Canberra, Kian re-joined the Bullets Development roster for the 2019/20 season and, during the preseason, joined the Australia squad for the FIBA3x3 U18 Asia Cup. Dennis’ vocal leadership and impressive athletic ability quickly made him a fan favourite as he led his team to a bronze medal.
However, Kian’s basketball career has only just begun, and he is constantly trying to improve.
“For me personally the biggest take away is that there is always something you can work on no matter how good you are,”
“I have taken multiple things from all of my coaches over the years and used them to my advantage and worked on what they’ve said.”
Like most young players entering the next stage of their career, Kian found himself suddenly playing veterans of the game. But for Kian, it was a constant opportunity to learn.
“There is a lot to learn from watching some of the best players in the country and being able to train with them every day,”
“I constantly need to be ready to learn something new about the game and about my personal performance.”
Taking a Different Path
Kian’s basketball path was a little different to many of his contemporaries who opt for the American College pathway. Kian believes that the NBL is just getting better and better and is the perfect place to push himself.
“Personally, I found the Australian pathway a better option for me, we have great coaches and great talent in our league and this gives me an opportunity to play with experienced players, who can help me grow and develop.”
From here, Kian hopes to become a fully contracted NBL player and then eventually to the NBA or Euroleague. However, Kian’s ultimate goal is to make the Boomers squad and play for his country at the highest possible level.
“…I found the Australian pathway a better option for me, we have great coaches and great talent in our league…who can help me grow and develop.”
Kian’s Advice to Younger Players
Kian’s determination and tenacity played a major part in his success throughout his career, and he gives the same advice to his peers.
“For the younger players that are just starting out I can’t express enough that you need to keep pushing,”
“If you don’t make a team or if someone says you’re not good enough, prove them wrong so that those coaches and people who said you aren’t good enough regret what they thought.”