SBL: Joondalup Wolves play Santa for Butler teenager in Perth’s north

Wolves coach Ben Ettridge (left corner) with Atut (in singlet) and family and Wolves representatives.
SBL: Joondalup Wolves play Santa for Butler teenager in Perth’s north
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge (left corner) with Atut (in singlet) and family and Wolves representatives.

JUST as a cricketer will always find a set of makeshift stumps, a basketballer has the innate ability to turn an everyday object into a hoop.

For Butler boy Atut (14) , an empty flower pot acted as the target to sharpen his range.

That was until the Joondalup Wolves turned up on his doorstep on Christmas Eve. Two days earlier, former player and assistant coach Ryan Benson had spotted the youngster firing away at his stopgap set-up, which got him thinking the Wolves could surely improve the basketball situation at the Sudanese family’s home.

He made a play to Joondalup coach Ben Ettridge, who rallied a keen response from his charges.

“In no less than 15 minutes, the guys from the men’s SBL team had put in almost $300 and the use of a trailer,” Benson said.

The group sought help from Joondalup’s Jim Kidd Sports store, which offered them a discounted Los Angeles Lakers NBA hoop, basketballs and jerseys.

While Benson was unable to be there for the delivery, he was told Atut was “speechless and couldn’t stop smiling” when Ettridge and Wolves representatives knocked on his door with a surprise Christmas gift on December 24.

“That is what Christmas is all about and a huge thanks to all at the Wolfpack who showed they’re not just the best club on the on court, but also off it,” he said.

In other Wolves news, versatile athlete Reece Maxwell returns in 2016 after spending last season playing for Claremont in the WAFL reserves competition.

The team has secured championship starters Seb Salinas, Rob Huntington, Trian Iliadis and Joel Questel, while dual championship winner Doug Gates has retired.

Youngsters Sean Easther, Ngor Manyang and Ben Ironmonger also return. Talented big man Louis Timms leaves to play US college basketball with Waylan Baptist College in Texas.