The 2018 Under 18 State Championships start tomorrow, Tuesday the 16th of January – 20th of January. There are 71 teams competing, with the event showcasing some of the most promising talent from around the state. In the lead up to the event, we preview a few of the players to look out for:
Under 18 Boys – Division 1
Tamuri Wigness (Cairns)
The name is well recognised and deservedly so. The NBA global academy scholarships holder returns to represent the Cairns Marlins at the U18 state championship tournament. After leading the Queensland North U16 boys to Gold medal glory at the 2017 Australian Junior Championship, Wigness will be eager to put those abilities on display again during this tournament. Possessing an unrivalled array of playmaking skills and athleticism, expect Tamuri to be in attack mode all tournament long. The Marlins are far from a one-man band and will look to maximise the contributions of those around Tamuri. Cairns will start as one of the favourites in a competition that should be heavily contested.
Tom Cordwell (USC)
Tom Cordwell is a ferocious leader and competitor, who will do whatever is required to help his team find success. With a handy offensive arsenal, Cordwell can score the basketball in a variety of ways. As a dangerous ball screen user, expect to see Cordwell probing the heart of opposition defences with great success. Being the current BQJBC leading scorer, we trust that form will continue at this tournament. USC’s success will be directly linked to the play of Cordwell and we don’t expect he will shy away from that responsibility.
Sean Baker (Mackay)
In terms of players to watch, there will be eyes on the Mackay big man. Returning to this stage after a medical absence, Baker is the key to the Meteors chances of presenting as a competitive outfit at this tournament. With outstanding versatility and skills to operate on the inside and outside, Baker is a tough cover for any defender. Sean is an equal threat with his back to the basket, as he is in face-up situations. With an ever improving perimeter game, it is scary to think the impact he can have on the offensive end. It will be great to see Sean back on this stage and we expect he will take the opportunity to re-affirm his status as one of the state’s best.
Donovan Crowe (BBI)
The most established big man in this competition, Donovan Crowe will be eager to have a significant impact on the tournament. A primary offensive focus for Brisbane, Crowe is a handful around the basket with his good touch and great timing. While teams may start in single coverage, Crowe has the ability to demand a double team on any catch on the block. Donnie has shown range that extends to beyond the 3-point line, meaning he has the capacity to draw opposing big’s into unfamiliar defensive territory when required. If Crowe can commit to establishing himself as a defensive anchor for this team, Brisbane will find themselves in the mix.
Boston Mazlin (Townsville)
Boston Mazlin comes into this tournament with a reputation as one of the state’s most accurate distance shooters. With time and space, Mazlin is automatic from behind the arc and is comfortable stretching his range well beyond the 3-point line. Unfortunately for opponents, he is also developing into a well-rounded scorer, with the ability to get deep into the paint and finish creatively around the rim. If Boston wants to be considered as one of the best guards in this competition, he will need to establish himself on the defensive side of the ball with equal enthusiasm. Finishing second in the QNJBC competition, Townsville need to find a better balance between isolation playmaking and team first basketball. If they get that right, they could be an x-factor.
Under 18 Girls – Division 1
Alex Fowler (Townsville)
With recent experience as an U17 Australian Sapphires representative, Alex Fowler will look to use that as leverage as she leads a formidable Townsville Flames outfit. With an incredible work rate and competitive motor, Fowler is a dangerous rebounder that continually wins extra possessions for her team. Fowler’s unique comfort with physicality means that her presence is always felt by opposition players. Typically demonstrating remarkable efficiency, Alex doesn’t need many opportunities to make a significant impact on a basketball game. If Townsville have ambitions of competing for a medal, it will be on the back of strong performances by Fowler.
Summah Evans (Cairns)
One of the most exciting prospects in the age group, Summah Evans is worth following as she makes her assault on the state championship competition. Possessing great length, extraordinary athleticism and sound basketball instincts, Evans is an impact player who can affect the game in a number of different ways. Of most note is Evan’s ability to terrorise teams with her activity in the passing lane, often leading to easy transition opportunities for herself or her teammates. Summah plays the game with a refreshing enthusiasm and we look forward to tracking her performances as a member of the Cairns Dolphins.
Catherine Macgregor (Ipswich)
Catherine Macgregor will look to continue her stellar form as a bottom age player on this Ipswich team. Macgregor’s separating skill is her ability to shoot the ball with incredibly accuracy from the 3-point line. In addition to her shooting abilities, Macgregor compliments that with impressive finishing skills around the hoop. Catherine is a smooth guard who plays with good timing and control, but will need to find a way to have a presence defensively if she wants to announce herself as one of the best guards at the tournament.
Dustie Obah (SC Pheonix)
One of the more hard-nosed competitors on the girl’s side of the tournament, Dustie Obah will look to lead by example as her SC Pheonix team compete for relevance against tough competition. Obah has a great combination of strength and size, allowing her to create an advantage against any matchup she sees. As a modern day stretch 4, Obah has demonstrated an ability to take and make open perimeter shots with good consistency. There aren’t many players at the tournament with Dustie’s combination of physicality and finesse, leaving us to expect her impact will be significant.
Adelaide Fuller (Brisbane)
Adelaide’s game has skyrocketed in the past 12 months, culminating in a scholarship to the Centre of Excellence at the AIS. As an agile big, expect Adelaide to dominate the middle lane and out run her opponent rim to rim. Adelaide is also adept at changing shots of guards who dare to penetrate the key, showing great timing and use of her athleticism. Adelaide’s presence at both ends of the floor will be imperative to Brisbane’s success at this tournament.