U18 CHAMPS AND KEVIN COOMBS CUP PREVIEW- NEW SOUTH WALES

U18 CHAMPS AND KEVIN COOMBS CUP PREVIEW- NEW SOUTH WALES

In the lead-up to the Under-18 Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup held in Townsville from April 13-20, we preview the teams from all eight state and territories, continuing with New South Wales.

Under-18 Men’s NSW Metro Team List:

Ryan Abbott, Biwali Bayles, Kwabena Brefo, Clancy Bird, Angus Lake, Jack McWilliams, Robert Moore, Benjamin Moult, Joshua Pain, Michael Yoong.

NSW Metro will bring a talented squad to Townsville for this year’s Championships and have three returning players to add some experience including Clancy Bird and Robert Moore.

Biwali Bayles also returns after starring at the 2018 tournament with 15.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals per contest while Jack McWilliams makes the jump from the Under-16's.

Already standing at 7-feet tall, McWilliams was named to the All-Star Five at the Under-15 Oceania Championships last year so will be coming into this year's Champs full of confidence.

McWilliams will be joined by Angus Lake, who was also a member of NSW Metro's Under-16's team where he added a solid seven points per contest.

Under-18 Men’s NSW Country Team List:

Jay Cole, Philip Dopud, Kaia Isaac, Evan Kilminster, Fletcher MacDonald, Harry Morris, Tyler Ottosson, Jamal Shoaib, Zak Simons, Michael Walker.

Returning players Phillip Dopud and Harry Morris will lead NSW Country into this year’s U-18 Championships, with Morris one year removed from posting ten points and 7.2 rebounds per game at last year's Under-18's.

Leading the bottom-age contingent is Michael Walker who impressed at last year's Under-15 Oceania Championships with 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest including a 15-point outing against Samoa while he also added a near double-double average at the 2018 Under-16's.

Evan Kilminster and Fletcher MacDonald will also be aiming to make a statement at this year's competition after NSW Country finished fifth last year, behind NSW Metro who claimed the bronze medal.

Under-18 Women’s NSW Metro Team List:

Riley Crawford, Alana Goodchild, Catriona Henderson, Isabelle Morgan, Erica Pitman, Millie Prior, Inez Tanoi, Elles Van Der Maas, Daila Walker, Holly Wills.

A couple of Australian representatives in Alana Goodchild and Millie Prior headline the NSW Metro list.

Goodchild (10.2 points per game) impressed at the Under-15 Oceania Championships after finishing as one of eight players to average double-figures in scoring while Prior finished third for rebounds after adding six points and 4.5 boards per game.

Elles Van Der Maas brings further major competition experience after the Sydney based forward represented the Netherlands at the Under-16 European Championships where she averaged 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Van Der Maas is one of two returning players from last year's Under-18's and is joined by another capable scorer in Catriona Henderson whose 10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game helped NSW Metro to a fifth-placed finish.

The team also boasts a feel-good story with Daila Walker set to return from an ACL injury that has sidelined her from the game since 2016.

“Daila was selected for the 2016 Under-16's but tore her ACL at a state session” said NSW Metro head coach Alek Horenko.

“She had surgery and did all the rehab to return for 2019 state trials and played her first game back during the East Coast Challenge which is the last chance for athletes to be seen and selected.

“Daila hadn’t played a basketball game from April 2016 until January 2019 and had to play her first games back in the same stadium she tore her ACL in.”

Walker’s return to elite basketball in Townsville is sure to give her team an added boost heading into this year's competition.

Under-18 Women’s NSW Country Team List:

Zali Andrews, Shannon Burton, Ella Dent, Chyra Evans, Kate Kingham, Ruby-Belle MacDonald, Sara Matthews, Audra Pasakarnis, Amelia Raidaveta, Jessica Relf.

MacDonald is the sole returning player from last year's Under-18's for NSW Country and only three players have made the jump from Under-16's which places this team as one of the real unknowns for the tournament.

Chyra Evans is back after recording 9.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game at Under-16's, a performance that helped her secure a spot in the Australian Under-15 Oceania Championship side while newcomers will also be looking to Raidaveta and Pasarkarnis as players that have come up through the pathway.

Andrews is a strong player who can control proceedings in the paint but also enjoys bringing the ball down the court as someone who can switch between any position.

Ella Dent is also back in NSW colours after playing at Under-16's in 2016 and 2017, coming off dominant performances with Illawarra Basketball and in the Warratah Basketball League.

Kevin Coombs Cup New South Wales Team List:

Taitum Brown, Jess Cronje, Jarrod Emeny, Breanna Fisk, Luke Greco, Ethan Hallak, Maryanne Latu, Anderson Parker, Ashlea Pellow, Victoria Simpson, Keltan Williams.

A number of future Australian Rollers and Gliders prospects have been named for this year’s New South Wales team including Taitum Brown and Anderson Parker who are members of the Under-23 Spinners team.

Jess Cronje and Maryanne Latu represent the Under-25 Devils and are coming off an international series against Japan while Latu is currently attending a development camp in Thailand with four other Aussies.

Both players will also utilise this tournament in their lead-up to the Under-25 World Championships in May with that final team not yet decided.

“In addition to those national players, Williams provides great support in the mid-field and is developing into a very handy player alongside Hallak,” said team manager Kristine Riley.

“Both players are looking to improve on last year’s performances.

“Low-pointer Pellow has wonderful basketball smarts and we have some new talent in the likes of Simpson, Greco and Emeny.”

Led by Paralympic legend and soon-to-be Australian Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Troy Sachs, NSW will be keen to avenge their last two defeats in the bronze medal playoff and replicate their efforts from 2016 when they won gold.

“Hopefully we can make the most of our older players and utilise their skills and experience while we still have them as well as working together as a team to develop our basketball IQ,” said Riley.