Five athletes have graduated from Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence as they begin the next step of their careers by departing for US colleges.
Isaiah Lee, Josh Kunen and Hunter Goodrick left on the weekend while Alex Ducas will head off at the end of this week with Kyle Bowen departing next week.
“I am so proud of these athletes and I feel lucky to have coached them,” said Head Coach of the Centre of Excellence men’s program, Adam Caporn.
“They are all very high character, hard working young men that fully invested into our program.
“I would really like to credit all of the CoE, NBA Global and AIS staff that have played integral roles in providing a platform for these guys to achieve something special with their careers.”
The son of former NBL import Jerome, Lee will represent the University of California, Irvine after averaging six points and four assists per game at the Under-18 Asian Championships last year.
A point guard out of New South Wales, Lee also recorded 10.7 points per game through the 2019 NBL1 season and his vision and speed in transition will bolster UC Irvine’s back court.
Kunen has arrived at the University of San Francisco after averaging 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds during his time in NBL1.
Starting his career as a centre, Kunen’s athleticism and ball-handling skills has allowed him to develop as a guard at the CoE and that ability to play inside and outside will be a major factor for USF.
Following an outstanding Australian Under-20 Championships where he led New South Wales to a bronze medal with 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, Goodrick will represent the University of South Dakota in 2019.
He also impressed by starting in each of his 12 NBL1 games, collecting 12.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest which culminated with a 23-point, 16-rebound effort against N/W Tasmania in his final outing.
Ducas and Bowen will continue the tradition of Australia’s connection to St. Mary’s College as they get set to depart over the next week and a half.
A member of the NBA Global Academy in mid-2017 before graduating to earn a CoE scholarship, Ducas was a multi-skilled competitor for WA Country who showcased his ability to defend and attack a number of positions at both ends of the floor.
He paced the CoE through the 2019 NBL1 season with 19.1 points per game, shooting 44% from the field and 40% from the three-point line while adding four rebounds and 1.1 steals.
“My last two years here have been incredible,” said Ducas.
“The rollercoaster of ups-and-downs have definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Through the opportunities provided to travel the world and the lifelong friendships I have made, I am extremely thankful for the coaching and support staff who have guided me along the way.
“I will forever cherish this place and the memories I’ve made.”
Together with Bowen, Ducas helped lead Western Australia to a bronze medal at the 2018 Australian Under-20 Championships before backing up with a silver medal earlier this year where Bowen dominated with 17.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Playing predominantly in the post prior to coming to the CoE, Bowen has developed his perimeter game to become a threat in all areas of the floor and that will hold him in good stead as he heads to St. Mary’s.
“I would like to express how thankful I am for the two years I have been able to spend at the CoE program, from the practises to the opportunities we receive off the court in order to mature as people,” Bowen said.
“This place has taught me valuables lessons and given me friendships I will have and hold close to me for the rest of my life.”