With names like Lauren Jackson, Josh Giddey, Dyson Daniels, Steph Talbot and Patty Mills, it’s not surprising Basketball Australia’s National Performance Camp has a rich history steeped in success.
The camp, held at the Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport, has been a pathway for Australia’s brightest basketballers for more than three decades – unearthing the next generation of talent while also instilling the values of what it takes to pull on the green and gold and have a prosperous career.
This year has been no different as 52 athletes aged between 16-18 years old, representing seven states and territories, converged in Canberra last week to showcase their skills and learn from the best coaches and high performance staff the sport has to offer.
Director – Senior National Teams at Basketball Australia, Jason Smith – who is a dual Olympian and former captain of the Boomers – was excited by the level of talent and work ethic displayed by the young players that walked through the doors.
“You forget how good some kids are at this age,” Smith said.
“Going through the pandemic, they should be relatively behind, but where they’re at and what I’m seeing, it’s really impressive.
“We know that if you’re here you’re skilled, so we need to invest in them, help them build their skill set up and the core fundamentals in order for them to be not only a fantastic athlete but a good teammate and a good person.”
Taking part in five intense on-court sessions, Smith also added that it was important to bring out the players’ naturally competitive spirit against their peers.
“You need to make it competitive, you want to see who competes at this level against the best, but it also gives you a good foundational view on where are the kids at, what are the overall trends and what can we learn from each other and then apply it in a holistic way.”
In addition to the on-court training, the athletes also took part in recovery sessions, educational classes and cultural development sessions to link in with the Opals and Boomers and make them feel connected to the overall basketball family. Basketball Australia’s Director High Performance Coach Development & Talent Identification, Peter Lonergan, said this camp was really the start of the athletes’ basketball journeys and the possibilities were vast.
“We want them to be the best versions of themselves and they’re all on different paths,” he said.
“Some will represent Australia at the FIBA Asia Under-16 World Cup later in the year, some will represent Australia at the Oceania Under-17 Championships in Port Moresby in September, while some will come in here to the Centre of Excellence or the NBA Global Academy, so this is really the start of their journey moving forward.”
For more information on Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence, click here.