Tiger’s duo get set for college
Tiger’s players Carla Drennan and Ben Counsel will be heading off to the States next year to pursue their basketball dream.
Both players have been with the Tigers for several years, playing for the Domestic, WABL and SBL teams, and are now looking to take their careers to an elite level with college basketball.
Carla Drennan will be studying as a student athlete at California State University in Northridge.
“It’s a lengthy process trying to find the best fit for a college as there are so many factors to consider, I chose Cal State as being in Los Angeles it’s pretty easy for my family to visit me and for me to go home.” Drennan said.
“It offers the course I want to study, but also and equally as important, a great basketball development program.”
Meanwhile Ben Counsel will be heading off to Virginia Wesleyan University.
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to play college basketball, and I’ve always wanted to live abroad.” Counsel said.
“On top of this, playing college basketball gives me an opportunity to complete my education, while furthering my basketball career.”
Despite having the opportunity to develop over many years with the Tigers, Carla says the next best step in her career is to go to the States.
“The pathways in Australia are limited in basketball so it forces you to look at other options if you want to improve your game.” Drennan said.
“To have an opportunity to play at an elite level at college and develop my game whilst also getting an education and have some great life experiences in another country, puts me in a great position to come back and play at the highest level when I return home to Australia.”
Ben echoes these sentiments, saying the appeal of living overseas is matched by the opportunity to grow as a player against tougher competition.
“I’d say I’m most excited to experience living abroad, as well as the responsibilities that come with it.” Counsel said.
“I’m also excited to play against the tougher opposition that I will face over there, which I hope will improve my basketball.”
Carla played seven years in the Tigers WABL team, and recently completed her third season at WSBL level.
Over the years she says there have been many highlights, including having the opportunity to play alongside import and WNBL players.
“It’s really great to have an opportunity to play with the import players as they bring a lot of knowledge and a fresh style of play to our team.” Drennan said.
“I’ve also really enjoyed and have learnt so much from playing with the older and more experienced players such as Zoe Harper, Kate Malpass and Sam Norwood who all played in the WNBL.
“I’ve been lucky to have had some amazing coaches and mentors along during the journey… People who are passionate about the game and have freely given up their time to help me get where I am today.”
Meanwhile Ben says some of his most memorable experiences have been winning championships with the Tigers.
“I’d have to say winning the championship in under 14’s, and recently in under 18’s last year would have to be my highlights, as well as getting to go away for the under 14 club nationals.” Counsel said.
Ben gives credit for his individual and team success to the variety of coaches Willetton offers.
“I’ve had the privilege to be coached by many different coaches at Willetton, which has exposed me to a wide variety of different play styles, and has developed me as a player overall.” Counsel said.
Aside from his success with the Tigers, Ben says it’s the culture at the club that he will miss most.
“I think it’s the family culture at Willetton, as well as playing with supportive teammates that I’ve played with since I was a junior.” Counsel said.
Carla won’t be leaving until July next year, but she already knows it’s the same friendly environment that she will miss.
“The Tigers is my second family; everyone is very friendly and supportive.”
“I’m going to miss all the girls, the coaching staff and all the opportunities I have been given to be in the position I am in today.
“Also to all the young players and fans of the club that come to support us in games and cheer us on when we win and lose, it means so much.”