Tiger duo chosen for Wildcats Academy
Willetton Tigers SBL players Michael Garbellini and Travis Fee have been selected for the Perth Wildcats Academy.
This is the third year the Wildcats are running the Academy, which is designed to expose players to a professional basketball environment and provide a pathway to becoming a Development Player on the Wildcats roster.
It has also provided players with the opportunity to train with NBL players and coaches on several occasions.
Travis Fee hopes to one day play in the NBL and is using this opportunity to learn what it takes to make it as a professional athlete.
“It felt great to be asked to take part in the Wildcats Academy, considering one day my goal is to play in the NBL or for the Wildcats,” Fee said.
“I think from being in the academy it’s helped me understand what I have to do to become a better player at a higher level, also as a person learning new things every day about how to listen to others or become a better team member and leader.”
Michael Garbellini is a Willetton junior who is returning to the club this year after three seasons at Lakeside Lightening.
Garbellini hopes to start his professional basketball career in Europe and said the Wildcats Academy is a good introduction to playing at the next level.
“I hope to learn, or at least get a glimpse at the level of intensity the guys play at, at the next level,” Garbellini said.
“I would like to try and play overseas in Europe and see how far I can take it from there.”
Perth Wildcats Pathway Development Coach/Video Coach Jacob Chance said both players are on the right track to making a professional career in basketball.
“Travis has been part of the team that won gold with the U18 WA team last year and he’s someone we really like… he’s a little gritty guard and he’s very smart and he’s a great teammate as well, he’s a great leader,” Chance said.
“He does a lot of the little things on the court that makes team’s great and it’s those little things that sometimes separate SBL players and NBL players.
“Michael is someone we’ve known for a couple of years now… he had a really good couple of years at the SBL level and then he came to NBL player development trials in July and sort of flagged his interest in becoming a DP.
“He’s a really tough competitive wing player that scores the ball really well and has a knack for being in the right spots on the court, but he also works really hard and he’s got a lot of energy and he’s pretty relentless on the court… he’s one of the guys you love to coach.”
Travis has been playing at Willetton since he was a Junior, including WABL and most recently in the SBL team.
He said the club provides a competitive environment that has helped him reach his potential.
“I think Willetton has helped me greatly as it’s provided me with great coaches to teach and help me, and also a great overall basketball environment to help players at Willetton succeed,” Fee said.
Meanwhile Michael is excited to pull on the Tigers jersey again after several seasons away from the club.
“I am actually most looking forward to the 2019 SBL season as I am back with my Junior club and am excited to represent the Tigers jersey,” Garbellini said.
“My Junior career at Willetton created the base for my development as a player and ultimately the player I have become today.”
Both players will continue to play in the SBL while participating in training sessions with the Wildcats Academy throughout the year.