Aus­tralia proves fer­tile tal­ent pool for NBA

An elite ju­nior pro­gramme has put play­ers on spot­light

Business Daily (Kenya) - - SPORTS -

If you ask Aus­tralian young­sters who their favourite bas­ket­ball player is, US su­per­stars such as Lebron James or Kevin Du­rant are likely re­sponses, with the mere men­tion of the NBA cre­at­ing a buzz.

But home-grown tal­ent Ben Sim­mons (Philadel­phia 76ers), Patty Mills (San An­to­nio Spurs), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz) and South Su­danese refugee Thon Maker (Mil­wau­kee Bucks) have swelled Aussie num­bers in the world’s top league and height­ened the hopes of young Aus­tralians play­ing the game.

“It def­i­nitely gives you some­thing to aim for, know­ing that they have started where you started and they made it all the way to the top,” Austin Bradtke told AFP af­ter a nar­row win at a re­cent bas­ket­ball car­ni­val in sub­ur­ban Mel­bourne.

“Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Amer­i­can bas­ket­ball, and also the crowds and stuff, it looks re­ally en­tic­ing for a young player, that is where I am keen to go,” added the 17year-old, whose fa­ther Mark was among the ear­li­est Aus­tralians to play in the NBA.

Once a far-flung dream for young hope­fuls, tech­nol­ogy is giv­ing scouts greater ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional tal­ent, while an elite ju­nior pro­gramme is putting promis­ing Aus­tralians at the fore­front of the game, with courts Down Un­der prov­ing fer­tile ground for US re­cruiters.

Aus­tralia’s na­tional side “the Boomers” were ear­lier this month crowned FIBA Asia Cup cham­pi­ons de­spite field­ing a sec­ond-string side be­cause their top in­ter­na­tional stars were un­avail­able.

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