I’VE been asked numerous times what it means to me to reach the 200-game milestone for the Perth Wildcats against Brisbane at Perth Arena on Saturday.
I would be lying if I said it didn’t mean an incredible amount.
It’s common knowledge that I grew up a Perth Wildcats fan.
I went to games at the Entertainment Centre and snuck down from the nosebleeds to get a glimpse of my heroes.
I watched in awe at performances of Wildcats legends as they played on the courts of Challenge Stadium.
Now I share the courts with players who will have their numbers retired at the Perth Arena.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing but that’s made it that much sweeter.
I was naive in thinking I would come back from college and be rewarded with a contract.
I’ve been mentored by some individuals who have had a great impact on my life.
Those conversations, which remain distinct in my mind, have allowed me to grow as an individual.
NBL great Martin Cattalini spoke of taking risks on court; in the early stages of my career this was crucial in putting my hand up to say I belonged in this league.
My former teammate and captain Brad Robbins gave me the belief in becoming a leader and holding teammates accountable; he has been pivotal in my career.
Another former captain Shawn Redhage was momentous in providing the perfect example of what it took to be a Perth Wildcat, the sacrifices and the dedication to your craft.
The last player, who doesn’t get mentioned too often, is West Aussie Cameron Tovey.
I looked up to him in my teens and he reassured me there was a pathway for WA players.
He was the first face I saw at my very first Wildcats session, a fellow sandgroper helping me out.
He inspired me to want to make it and I hope I can do the same to fellow WA juniors.