Having won the Championship Division in 2016 with a 68-50 victory over Hills Hornets, the Comets are now aiming to defend their title while they are riding a wave of success into this year’s tournament.
However, Shapiro knows from personal experience that these Championships are about more than just wins and the memories and friendships that the players build are the biggest takeaways.
“I played as a junior, before they were called the Comets when they were known as the Supersonics,” said Shapiro.
“To give back to the kids now is even more important than winning games. I still keep in contact with my old team mates and it’s great to see new friendships growing here.”
The Comets have already received support from Australian Boomer Brad Newley who sent a message via social media to the team and Shapiro knows the club has fans all over the country.
“We have a lot of support. We have set up Facebook and Instagram accounts but we also have a lot of people coming down from Sydney.
“The support from the club, association and families has been fantastic and hopefully we do everyone proud.”
Bailey Chambers is the only returning player from last year’s Championship winning side but Shapiro says the biggest strength of the 2017 team is their depth.
“In terms of playing experience, Bailey is a big part of our team but we are ten players deep. Bailey understands, as do all of the team, that it doesn’t take one individual to win and we are going to need all ten players to perform.”
Included in the Comets team is also Anthony Mundine, son of the boxing champion, and while Shapiro is aware that the team lacks some front court size, he is confident they can make up for that in other areas.
“I’ve taken these boys from Under-12’s into 14’s and we have a very special and unique team.
“We are not necessarily built with a lot of height but we have a lot of ability and speed. Team work has been a crucial part of the year as well as working hard on defence and the boys are gelling together.
“The ultimate goal is for the boys to have a great experience. We want to win like every other team but it’s also about building friendships and creating lifetime experiences.”
Follow along with all the game results from the 2017 Under-14 Club Championships via the Basketball Australia website here.