Centre of Excellence welcomes New Scholarship Athletes for 2021

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Basketball Australia (BA) is pleased to announce four athletes selected to join BA’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) and NBA Global Academy (NBA GA) programs for 2021.

The two elite programs, based out of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, will welcome Rory Hawke (CoE), Max Mackinnon (CoE), Lachlan Olbrich (CoE) and Yaak Yaak (NBA GA) as new scholarship holders.

“The process of selecting these outstanding athletes has included National Development Camps, Centre of Excellence Recruitment Camps and performance for their respective clubs and states within our national pathway,” explains CoE Men’s Program Head Coach, Adam Caporn.

“We are bringing in four very talented, high character athletes into our 2021 teams and look forward to them being strong contributors in Canberra and to our sport nationally for a long time.”

16-year old Queenslander Rory Hawke, will be one of three new athletes joining the CoE men’s program. The 193cm tall Combo Guard attended the 2019/20 National Performance Camp and the 2020 CoE Recruitment Camp. Hawke was also named in the 2020 U18 State Performance Program for North Queensland and named in the U18 State Team.

Caporn has praised Hawke on his dedication to excel in life and his commitment to refining his practice and skills.

“Rory is a hard-nosed combo guard from Townsville who combines good size and athleticism, with a high level of competitiveness.

“He is a diligent worker and has demonstrated an ability to consistently improve his skill level. Rory is a very good student and one of his best attributes is his consistency and pursuit for excellence across all areas of his life.”

Also joining the CoE program is Max Mackinnon, the son of former NBL MVP and Australian Boomer Sam Mackinnon and WNBL athlete, Rebecca Mackinnon. The 17-year old attended the 2020 CoE Recruitment Camp as well as being named in both the 2020 U18 State Performance Program for South Queensland and U18 South Queensland State team.

The 6’4” Guard/Forward was outstanding at the recruitment camp according to Caporn, who also commended his defensive skill.

“Max has come along in leaps and bounds over the last 18 months and was outstanding at our recruitment camp at the end of 2020.

“He is a good example of the great work our talent ID network continues to execute on the ground throughout the country.

“Max is an elite athlete with the ability to impact the game at both ends of the floor. He is a disruptive defender with quick hands and great anticipation, while offensively he is a constant threat to get in the paint and make something good happen.”

Standing at 207cm, 17-year old South Australian Lachlan Olbrich will be the third new face to join the Men’s Program at the CoE. The Forward was named in the 2020 U18 Metro SA State team, after being named as a reserve in the 2019 team.

Olbrich has impressed the CoE with his competitive nature and shooting capabilities explains Caporn.

“Lachlan is a skilled forward that can play inside and out. He is a deadly 3-point shooter and smart offensive player that can bring others into the game.

“He also impressed us with his overall competitiveness and physicality demonstrated during camps in Canberra and in the NBL1 Central. Our time with Lachlan showed us that he is very coachable and willing to do the little things that will help him be successful.”

Also heading to the AIS is 16-year old South Australian Yaak Yaak, who will join the NBA GA program.

The 210cm big man has previously attended the 2019 NBA Development Camp and the 2020 CoE Recruitment Camp. He was also named in the 2019 U16 SA Metro State squad and the U18 SA Metro Boys State Performance Program for 2020.

“Yaak is an elite athlete and a very exciting prospect. He is a genuine lob threat and shot blocker that can make momentum changing plays at either end,” Caporn said.

“His length athleticism, combined with great mobility and an ever-improving skill set, makes his future very bright.

“Further to his talent, Yaak’s great attitude and strong determination combine to make him a very positive addition to our program.”

The athletes will commence their respective programs on 29 January 2021.

CoE New Scholarship Athlete – 2021
Rory Hawke

CoE New Scholarship Athlete – 2021
Max Mackinnon

CoE New Scholarship Athlete – 2021
Lachlan Olbrich

NBA GA New Scholarship Athlete – 2021
Yaak Yaak


*Images courtesy of Basketball South Australia and Basketball Queensland

*(Top Row L-R) Max Mackinnon, Lachlan Olbrich (Bottom Row L-R) Yaak Yaak, Rory Hawke