By Gauthier Gerard of Australiabasket.com with Ben Hawes
Queensland Cedar the key
Chris Cedar is regarded as one of the best young point guards in Australia and after leading Townsville High School to the 2006 National Schools title in December last year, he will represent Queensland in this month’s U20 National championships in Ballarat, Victoria.
The 188cm guard starred for Townsville High School and will again be the man to lead Queensland.
Gauthier Gerard of AustraliaBasket.com recently caught up with Chris to chat about family, fun and the future.
AB: Chris, how would you describe yourself as a basketball player?
CC: Well, I would describe myself as a quick point guard that can get to the basket and is not scared to go up against the big guys. I can find the open man off dribble penetration, I am a team player and a rebounding guard who will push the break.
What kind of person are you off the court?
I just love mucking around with my team mates. I find that’s when you find out more about them and what they’re like.
Your older brother Michael is playing in the NBL with the Townsville Crocodiles; did he help you to work on your game?
Yes he did a lot back when we both were at school. I was the youngest in the team when I started so he was on my back a bit to try and get the most out of me.
I got in trouble a lot from him, which was a negative and positive thing but when I got the negative side he would always come back and tell me what I need to do to fix it.
Is there another talent coming from the Cedar family?
Not at the moment but hopefully in the future there will be.
You led Townsville High to the 2006 National School Tournament Gold medal. What are your memories of the event?
My biggest memory was our first game. We lost by 17 points and that was the biggest thing that brought me back down to earth. If we wanted to win we could not perform that way again but once we started playing, we couldn’t be stopped.
Another memory I have was of our semi final. There was 17 seconds left, we were down by one and our coach gave me the ball. We set a high screen which I used; I then went at the corner of the backboard and shot a runner. I don’t remember it going in but everyone was cheering after the shot and after that game I knew we would win the final.
That would have been pretty intense?
Yeah it was. I had the same kind of situation at the State Championships but this time I was triple teamed and turned the ball over – I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Did the team (Townsville High) expect such success at the start of the season?
We had high expectations and our coach believed in us from the start. He knew we had the talent to win it. We were the wild card team but we knew the year before us the wild card team had won the title so that gave us enough confidence to think we could do it.
But I admit when Steve Costanzo got injured four weeks before we had to play, it went through my mind that we would be there just to make up the numbers and not compete for the title.
When did you graduate from Townsville High?
I hoped I never would but I did in November last year.
What do you plan to do next? Do you want to pursue a NCAA career?
I would love to go to College just for the experience. I know staying in Townsville won’t help improve me as a player.
What kind of college are you looking for?
I want one that would suit my up tempo game. It doesn’t bother me if they are big or small just as long as I can contribute towards the team I will be happy.
You have been selected in the Queensland team for the upcoming U20 Nationals in Ballarat, Victoria? How was the selection process?
It is a lot tougher then junior state teams because you are up against the best in your state but I was lucky because I was part of the team last year so that helped a lot with my selection.
Our assistant coach from last year is now our coach and we get along. We are on the same page and want to achieve the same prize at the end of the day.
What will be the goal for QLD at the Nationals?
At the moment it is to be top four. If we achieve that I would like to think we will be in the gold medal game.
Do you think the girl’s squad can reach the semi finals too?
Yeah, they have a lot of talent. Six of the girls were in the team last year and with Marianna Tolo and the younger girls coming up, they will be tough.
What are your thoughts on your team mates in QLD team?
We have a lot of talent in our team. Three of our players are part of the Emus (U19 Men) squad and another is currently at the AIS. Behind those players we still have a lot of talent and a lot of us have been a part of State teams before and know what it takes to win at this level.
I think highly of my team mates and I will be disappointed if we don’t achieve the high standards we set ourselves.
What is the schedule for your team before the tournament?
We head to Melbourne a week before the tournament to play against Victorian BIG V and SEABL teams and then the Victoria state side. All of these games will help us prepare for the real thing.