WA Under-16 Metro Men’s can medal at Australian Junior Championships

Derek Igbenoba and Zachary Harris
Derek Igbenoba and Zachary Harris

THE head coach of the WA Under-16 Metro Men’s team that will travel to July’s Australian Junior Championships believes his side is capable of claiming a medal.

Munster resident Tyrone Thwaites and his assistants had the difficult task of trimming a group of more than 70 talented junior basketballers to a final ten.

Among the squad that will make the trip to Victoria are Cockburn’s Zachary Harris and Derek Igbenoba, and Lakeside’s Benjamin Johnson.

Thwaites said his team could go a long way in the tournament.

“There were probably 16 to 17 kids that were around the mark,” he said.

“That made the process problematic, but not a bad one to have as a coach.

“I’ve got the right bunch of athletes that myself and the rest of the coaching staff think will be capable of winning a medal in July.”

Thwaites, a veteran of 71 State Basketball League games for the Rockingham Flames, promised an exciting style of play come tournament time.

“My offence is pretty fluid, full of movement and requires a good level of basketball IQ,” he said.

“My defence is high intensity and requires a fair bit of toughness, so the boys had to show they could shine in that environment.”

With three months until the tournament, practice games, group training and individual sessions will form a big part of the team’s preparation.

With the side now picked, Thwaites expected his juniors to thrive.

“The best part is the boys now know they are travelling to nationals, so it’s no longer a trial process,” he said.

“I think this will take some pressure off and allow their development to happen a little more naturally.

“It also allows us to really focus on getting the athletes to the right level, instead of trying to figure out if one kid will be a better fit for the team than another.”

Final squad

Willetton – John Bacus, Travis Fee, Lachlan Forrest, Luke Jackson.

Joondalup – Kye Chamberlain.

Cockburn – Zachary Harris, Derek Igbenoba.

Lakeside – Benjamin Johnson.

Stirling – Wani Swaka Lo Buluk.

Rockingham – Luke Travers.