The NBA Global Academy is excited to introduce two fresh faces to their scholarship program, with plans for the first addition to settle in at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) later this month.
17-year-old Jensen Bradtke has caught the eye of recruiters while participating in basketball Victoria’s junior development programs and playing with the Sandringham Sabres. Bradtke is expected to arrive at the AIS in November once he wraps up his school exams and is excited for the opportunity to develop his craft alongside some of the top upcoming athletes.
“I am really looking forward to go against the best talent every day. The thrill of competing in this environment is going to be a great challenge but one that I can’t wait to start,” Bradtke told Basketball Australia (BA).
Basketball and the nature of competitive sport runs deep in the Bradtke family. The son of a BA Hall of Famer and four-time Olympian Mark Bradtke and former elite tennis player, Nicole, Jensen has seen first-hand the level of dedication and commitment that is required to find success as a professional athlete.
“Basketball has always been a huge part of my life and to get the opportunity to join the NBA Global Academy is a dream come true.”
NBA GA’s Technical Director, Marty Clark is excited to see how Jensen adapts and develops throughout the next chapter of his basketball journey.
“We are looking forward to having Jensen in a challenging environment where we believe he will flourish. We look forward to broadening his skill base and we want to maximise his athletic abilities.”
After a standout string of performances at the 2021 Under 16 Australian Junior Championships in September, Queensland’s Rocco Zikarsky was simply impossible to miss in the eyes of the NBA GA recruiters. Standing at 7 feet tall at only 15 years of age, Zikarsky provided a highlight reel that put him beyond his years.
A key feature of the U16’s champion Queensland South side, Zikarsky averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game.
Participating in the 2020 Centre of Excellence recruitment camp, Marty Clarke could see that- the then 14-year-old- was going to be exciting to watch.
“His potential was obvious, the combination of size and skill at such a young age, he exhibited an ability to compete with confidence against older-aged talents,” Clarke said.
“We are excited to start working with Rocco, improving his body, refining his skills and watching him develop his potential.”
Zikarsky is eager to make the most of this opportunity as he prepares to get underway in January 2022.
“A few years ago, I wrote down some goals on a piece of paper. One of those goals was to attend the NBA academy and to accomplish my goal is a massive honour and privilege. I’m excited to give my absolute best, be able to get mentored and coached by some of the best coaches in the world, and to play against some of the best young talents every day.”
BA’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) has also welcomed a new addition to the AIS. After leading the Western Australia state team to an Under 18 Championship, Ben Henshall has already settled in and begun training at the CoE.
The 2021 Western Australia Basketball League (WABL) Player of the Year, Henshall provides a versatile skill set that CoE Head Coach, Robbie McKinlay is excited to work with.
“Ben is an athletic guard who can score in multiple ways. His defence is something that also stands out with his ability to lock down the ball.” McKinlay said.
“We’re excited to have Ben join the CoE program, he had a tremendous showing at the recent U18 Nationals with his team capturing Gold and we’re eager to further develop that talent.”