ON THE BENCH: DEKLAN O'TOOLE
When you start making Country Victorian teams, it's a natural assumption that you are comfortable putting lots of points on the board unless you are a point guard. For Deklan O'Toole, that assumption couldn't be more wrong. For Deklan, he is much more comfortable setting up for a team mate than he is taking over a game. But his deferential manner of playing is not the only unusual thing about his selection into the Country Victorian team at the Southern Cross Challenge. Deklan was forced to watch from the stands during the Gold Nugget camp with a broken arm. But his body of work during the Academy sessions and camps was enough to secure selection.
"The number one thing I learnt at the Southern Cross Challenge was whenever you come to any game ,or training, always be ready to give 110% both physically and mentally," O'Toole said. "You can always improve your skills as an individual and a team on the court and on the sideline."
For Deklan, the Southern Cross Challenge was a chance to celebrate a year of hard work on the court. "When I found out that I got selected to represent Country Victoria at the Southern Cross Challenge I was extremely excited because after 20 weeks of hard work and dedication it all had paid off," O'Toole said. "I was glad that I could improve my skills further, and play at such a high level, with very skilled players and with extremely knowledgeable coaches."
One thing that stood out for Deklan was the step up in what was required when playing at the elite level. "Training at academy compared to stingrays, was more intense psychically, as well as mentally, due to having to take notes, learning a lot of new drills, as well have having to study the drills to enable you to play as well as the player beside you," O'Toole said.
Deklan won't be resting on his laurels though, using this selection as a springboard for the next years. "My highlight of the tournament was working with my coaches, developing as a player, representing Country Victoria and also representing Corio Bay Basketball," said O'Toole. "All in all I took many things away and would love to do it again."