All the stories you here are true. The amount of effort required to be successful in basketball is not made and those who are willing to put in the time get the rewards. One of those players is Declan Coles, who represented Basketball Victoria Country at the Southern Cross Challenge (SCC). The SCC features some of the best players in the Under 14 and Under 15 age groups and is the culmination of an arduous journey through Skills Day selection, weekly Academy sessions and 2 overnight camps, selection into the overnight Gold Nugget Camp which is the final selection process for the SCC.

For Declan, it was a chance to test his skills against the best Australia has to offer. "I felt that it was a great opportunity for being 1 out of 2 players selected from the Geelong area," Coles said. "It's also a fantastic way to test my skills as a basketballer against the best of my age group from W.A., S.A. and Vic metro." As with a lot of players, tournaments like the SCC allow players to realise that what they do every week for their domestic and representative teams can translate to the elite level. "One of my highlights was playing on a 6'4" player from S.A. and holding him to 4 points," Coles said. "He was normally averaging 20 points a game and dunked regularly. Playing against this sort of opposition helped me believe I can play roles for teams successfully."

One of the biggest issues that young players face is coming through an individual selection process into a team environment. One of the key selection criteria is for a player to be able to fit into their position within the team, something Declan approached with relish. " I learnt that at this level everyone has a role to play and there is no room for individual players. It's all about the team," Coles said."

Declan's performance were noticed, with selection to the State Combine as a bottom aged player his reward. Declan will be competing for selection into the BVC team to compete the Australian Junior Championships. The CBBA wishes Declan the best of luck.


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