In a rivalry that stems back over a century, the stage is set for what promises to be an exciting eight days of non-stop basketball when the Under-18 National Championships tips off in a blockbuster opening night with an Origin-style clash between Queensland South and New South Wales Metro on April 8.
Defending champions, Queensland South will be eager to start their campaign on a winning note as they set their sights on retaining their title.
Their line-up will feature star quartet, Roman Siulepa, Indy Cotton, LeBron Brooks and Rocco Zikarsky, who will all look to lead the charge for back-to-back titles.
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Zikarsky, a product of Queensland Basketball and the NBA Global Academy, boasts an imposing physicality that allows him to play above the rim.
A 7’2 sensation, the towering big man is already on NBA radars and will be looking to further cement his reputation as a prospect.
“There is a fierce rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales and when I put on the Queensland jersey, there’s a lot of pride for my home state.
“There's something about playing New South Wales - it brings back memories of my childhood watching the State of Origin. That rivalry carries over to the court where we just want to out-do each other to prove who’s the better Eastern state."
Having last clinched the Merv Emms championship title in 2015 when New South Wales Country dominated the tournament, New South Wales Metro will be on the hunt to regain their former glory, determined to bring the championship back home and will leave no stone unturned in their preparations.
New South Wales Metro will come stacked to the party with the likes of Lachlan Clague, a promising young big who stands at a commanding 6'9, and Emmett Adair, a multi-skilled forward and NBA Global Academy scholarship holder.
Beyond the hardwood, Zikarsky and Adair share a mateship, however, during the showdown between their respective teams, you can expect that the friendly rivalry will intensify as they transform into fierce frenemies when they lay it all on the line in pursuit of bragging rights.
“Going up against Emmett is what I’m most looking forward to on the opening night. There is always talk around the [NBA Global] Academy of who’s going to win, and we’ve been going at each other a little bit about the game,” Zikarsky said.
Tickets are available online only and can be purchased here.
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