This week marks the beginning of an exciting journey for three exceptional young athletes who have been awarded scholarships to join Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in the heart of Canberra.
Jade Crook (New South Wales Country), Sophie Taylor (Victoria Country), and Sienna Lehmann (South Australia Country) will be starting their CoE scholarship program this week, immersing themselves in the daily training environment where they will be supported by sports science and high-performance experts.
Jade Crook, an Albury native, brings a new level of physicality to the program. Standing at an imposing 6”3, the mobile power forward represented Australia with success at both the recent Oceania and Asian Championships.
“Jade has a real future in our sport, she has a strong physical presence and with further refinement of skills Jade can truly make an impact in the post,” praised David Herbert, Head Coach of the women’s program.
Sophie Taylor, a standout player from Warragul in regional Victoria, earned international recognition as part of the FIBA U15 Oceania Championship Women’s All-Star Five. She possesses an exceptional shooting touch from long range, and her length and athleticism make her the perfect candidate to excel in both the shooting guard and swing positions.
“Sophie has shown huge potential, further work at mastering the defensive end will ensure she will become an impact player in the future,” Herbert emphasised.
Sienna Lehmann, the young rising star from Waikerie, a regional town with fewer than 3,000 people, has already made waves in international basketball when she was crowned MVP at the FIBA Under 16 Asian Championships in Jordan earlier this month.
“Sienna is a great culture piece for the CoE program, she displays leadership beyond her years and is highly committed to achieving personal excellence in her chosen sport. She is a tenacious competitor who is set to make her mark on international levels in the coming years,” Herbert added.
Congratulations, Jade, Sophie and Sienna!