Vague re­al­ity

Canning Times - - NEWS - Jes­sica Nico

Perth Wild­cat Rhys Vague is liv­ing out a bas­ket­ball dream forged from back­yard com­pe­ti­tions with his brother.

STEP­PING on the court for his very first game of bas­ket­ball at the ten­der age of seven, Rhys Vague would have had few peo­ple out­side his par­ents and older brother cheer­ing for him.

These days, the 22-yearold Perth Wild­cat reg­u­larly takes to the court to the bel­low­ing of more than 15,000 rau­cous and pas­sion­ate ‘red army’ sup­port­ers.

Putting on the red jersey and play­ing along­side the likes of Damian Martin, Greg Hire and gun im­port Bryce Cot­ton was never re­ally some­thing Vague be­lieved could hap­pen in his early years.

He said back then his main goal had just been to be bet­ter than his brother.

“He’d like to say it was al­ways a com­pe­ti­tion but I feel like I was bet­ter from day dot,” he laughed.

“I’m the big­gest in the fam­ily so it was prob­a­bly when I was about 12 and he was about 16 that I was bet­ter and there was no look­ing back af­ter that.

“I al­ways played pretty well in my age group and I took it se­ri­ously the whole way through un­til about un­der-16s when I made my first state team and I thought I can maybe do some­thing here and have the po­ten­tial to be­come pro­fes­sional.”

Vague plied his trade from the un­der-10 com­pe­ti­tion through to se­nior bas­ket­ball, first at the Spear­wood Hawks Ju­nior Bas­ket­ball Club, then as part of the Cock­burn Cougars ju­nior pro­gram be­fore SBL stints at the Cougars, East Perth Ea­gles and Stir­ling Sen­a­tors.

In 2014, he was placed on the Wild­cats’ de­vel­op­ment list.

Four years of hard work later, Vague put pen to pa­per on a two-year con­tract that saw him pro­moted to the se­nior Wild­cats list.

He said he loved the sport be­cause it gave young play­ers with a dream and the de­ter­mi­na­tion to work hard a chance to play on the big stage.

“I was ec­static the first year I was picked as a de­vel­op­ment player but then I didn’t know how good it would feel to be an ac­tual con­tracted player,” he said.

“It was a bit of a pinch my­self mo­ment.

“I hope young kids see that it’s pos­si­ble.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Wild­cat Rhys Vague’s ad­vice to young peo­ple on mak­ing it to the NBL: “It’s crazy hard work to get here but if I can do it, they can do it; noth­ing is out of the realm of pos­si­bil­ity for them.”

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