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NBL Combine 2017

Australian basketball's rising stars turn up to put in work.

Story by Good Sport May 8th, 2017

Australias young and best Basketballers rolled into Melbourne for the two day combine. Presented by Mitchell & Ness the players performance and ability was tested, analysed and stretched beyond intensity. The two days of showcasing their skills have now dictated a big push and direction in their careers as professional players.

This is a great moment for Australian basketball as it is the first time that all the major governing bodies (NBL, Basketball Australia, Centre of Excellence & the Australian Basketballers’ Association) will work together to deliver a clear pathway for the elite junior talent to continue their development here in Australia.

Being on the inside or looking from the outside in, it's easy to see how far Basketball has come in Australia in the recent years. The talent is world class and the support is beginning to grow and take effect. The gap is closing between Australia and the bigger leagues in America and Europe. There are more eyes looking to see what the players on this side of the world are capable of and it only makes the game more exciting.

Good Sport headed down to the combine to document and catch up with a few of the players to gauge their thoughts on the event, what Basketball in Australia means to them and what goals they are setting for themselves.

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SAM FROLING - #69

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Hey Sam, leading up to the combine did your training intensify by much? I went straight from U18 Nationals to the NBL Combine, so I had enough training load, it was a good transition and I felt ready to take on the combine.

Awesome, what were you most looking forward to over the course of the event? I'm really hyped on playing against some of the future NBL players and definitely in front of NBL coaches. It adds a new sense of intensity to playing knowing you are being monitored.

Thinking about the future of Australian Basketball, where do you see your place in it and what kind of legacy do you want to leave? I just want to be the best I can be and to be one of the players that kids look up to, like when I looked up to players as a little kid. That's something that is really important to me and I hope it will help inspire other people to work hard and make it too.

Dude that's very cool. How do you feel about Australian Basketball at the moment? Where do you hope to see it go? Australian basketball keeps getting better and better, and hopefully we can start to see many medals coming in at Olympic Games and world championships.

What are your thoughts on the culture and community of basketball in Australia? Basketball culture is becoming much bigger than what it used to be, there are so much more people playing it and I think that's very healthy for the sport and how it progresses in the future.

What goals do you have for yourself as a player for this year? To make the FIBA Oceania qualifiers team and help them get through the next round of qualification series and just to get better, which is always a goal, it's never reached cause your threshold gets stretched and you keep aiming higher.

Tell us about your experience at the NBL Combine? Feelings, emotions, friendships, education - things like that. It was a good experience playing against guys of different ages and learning of all the different coaches with loads of experience. I felt that I came away with a new set of skills and added to things I knew already. Definitely a good confidence boost.

Obviously you have lots more going on in your life that surrounds Basketball. How do you balance everything out. What gets hard to manage when training and focusing on the sport is so intense? School can be hard to manage, but so far I have done pretty well handling that. I just have to take it a day at a time, keep my focus and determination strong and i'll be alright.



What drives you to push yourself forward as a player and person.
I want to win and I want to be the best.

MATE COLINA - #75

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Hey Mate, first up - what were you most looking forward to over the course of the event? The main thing I was looking forward to seeing how I went up against the other competitors. I wanted to use this competition to establish where I needed improvement in my overall basketball it was a great place to gauge my own personal goals based on where other players where at.

Did your training intensify during the lead up to the combine? Not a huge amount as it is already at a very high level because I train at the AIS(Australian Institute of Sport), at the Centre of Excellence, I just continued with this high level of training during the lead up to the combine.

Thinking about the future of Australian Basketball, where do you see your place in it and what kind of legacy do you want to leave? I strive to play at Australia's highest level of Basketball, representing our national team, The Boomers. I want to play the type of basketball that will leave a lasting impression on the game and be remembered years after I retire. I want to be a successful leader and be a great role model for future Basketball players worldwide as well.

How do you feel about Australian Basketball at the moment? Where do you hope to see it go? I believe that Australian Basketball is at a very high and competitive level compared to the rest of the world. I would like to see the Boomers win an Olympic gold medal in the future, that would really elevate the culture here and we would see a lot more people start playing, attending games and being more involved.

Tell us about your experience at the NBL Combine? I learnt a lot about the level I need to be at to compete professionally. This made me more determined than ever to make the improvements necessary to my game. It also made me very excited at the prospect of a professional career in the future. It also gave me the opportunity to develop good friendships with other players.

How do you balance everything else surrounding Basketball. What gets hard to manage when training and focusing on the sport is so intense? I balance Basketball training and school by having a planned routine which I learnt was very important to be successful in a high-performance environment (at the AIS, BA Centre of Excellence). It can be difficult to focus on school particularly when we are away for competitions. It is also difficult being away from family when they are so supportive and extremely important to me.


What drives you to push yourself forward as a player and person.
I am driven by my will to be the best at everything that I pursue. I am also driven because I want to leave a lasting legacy on the game as well as make my family proud.

LAT MAYEN - #52

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Hey Lat, what were you most looking forward to over the course of the event? The thing I was most looking forward to was playing with people that are highly talented, it's a great place to see how other people are doing and where I can fit into that. It also drove me to work harder.

How do you feel about Australian Basketball at the moment? Australian Basketball is growing bigger every year and will only get bigger. The world is looking at us and we just have to keep putting in work to show we've got what it takes.

What goals do you have for yourself as a player for this year? I'm looking forward to finishing off SEABL for CoE (Centre of Excellence) with good results and getting better as player, as I head to TCU(Texas Christian University) midyear.

Tell us about your experience at the NBL Combine? The combine was so tough, the players and coaches there were really well experienced it was such a good challenge. I got to meet a few people at the combine that I still talk to after the event finished.

How do you balance life outside of Basketball? My main focus is Basketball and becoming a better person through that so I try to let nothing get in the way, and when training gets hard there is nothing I can really but to go through that phase. It is what it is you know, sometimes you have to roll with it but as you get better and stronger you learn how to cope with the harder things as they come up.



What drives you to push yourself forward as a player and person.
My family
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Footnote: This article is presented in partnership with Mitchell&Ness who are the official apparel partner for the NBL (National Basketball Association) All photographs by Tom Ross.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia