For the past 12 years, I have been heavily involved in basketball. I started playing at the age of 7 years old under the influence and coaching eyes of my mum. I can remember watching her play on Wednesday nights. She later became my first coach of my U8 team at my local basketball club. Little did I know then what a huge part basketball would play in my life.
I left my mum’s team to play with a different team (in the same club) which was in a higher division and this was a turning point in the development of my game. I continued to play with this team until my junior years were over and I moved on to another team which was in the Men’s grade. I am currently playing in that league.
I started playing representative basketball (VJBL) in 2005 for Altona Gators until the end of 2008 (4 years) before moving to Melbourne Tigers where I played from 2009 - 2013. During my time at Melbourne Tigers, I have been a part of 2 premierships teams (2009 VJBL competition) and during my 2011 season, my team won the Triple Crown (The Eltham Dandenong Australia Day Tournament, Junior Classic Tournament and VJBL Season competition). This is a highly regarded honour. I have played under great coaches such as Andrew Gaze, Lindsey Gaze, Brad Pineau and Mark Gaze. I have finished playing VJBL and am now playing in the BigV Youth League for Hume City Broncos (Broadmeadows)
Quite surprisingly, I first heard about Deaf Basketball in 2008, after hearing about Deaf Basketball Australian Team Tryouts for the 2009 Deaflympics. I was only 13 years old at that time and began training with Melbourne City Deaf Basketball Club in preparation for the NDBCC (National Deaf Basketball Club Championship) to be held in Brisbane in 2008. The tournament was an eye-opener for me and I really enjoyed playing with other deaf players in a team where communication was not a problem. Since that first tournament, I have played in 3 more Nationals, (Melbourne in 2009, Gold Coast in 2010 and Adelaide in 2011) and represented Australia in the 2012 Asian Pacific Deaf Games (qualifying for the 2013 Deaflympics) and 2013 Deaflympics. I finished 2nd in the MVP at the 2011 NDBCC and won the 2010 NDBCC MVP in Brisbane.
I have just come home from my trip to Korea to represent Melbourne City in the 2nd Asian Pacific Club Championships. This was my first time representing this team internationally, and we have won back to back championships.
I call myself a triple threat in basketball because I am an umpire as well as a coach. I coach 2 teams in my basketball club – U16 Girls and U18 Boys. I started coaching in 2007coaching an U8 team with a mate of mine, before moving with them up to U10 and then U12 as they progressed through the age groups. I moved on to coaching an U12 girls’ team and am still coaching them today. During this current season I have also started coaching an U18 boys’ team. I have also been involved in coaching junior deaf basketballers at a number of the Deaf Basketball Victoria junior development days.
I have been an umpire since 2010. The great thing about being an umpire, coach and a player is that it gives me different aspects of the game, which hopefully helps me become a better player than I am today.
I went to Furlong Park Primary School for the Deaf, then Sunshine College Junior Campus at Ardeer, then Senior College to study VCE. I am currently studying Diploma of Sports Development, adjunction with Basketball Academy at Victoria University, studying one day a week and training 4 times a week under coaches such as Andrew Gaze, Phil Shelley, Nigel Purchase, Nick Abdicevic and Al McAughtry. Last year I studied Bachelor of Sports Science: Human Movement and decided to change course. For my career, I am still deciding whether to become a Personal Trainer, Sports Coach or a PE Teacher. Time can only tell.