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Local Basketballer Jessi Reeves will have a chance to live her dream in a few days time, when she sets foot in Hawaii to start a basketball scholarship at the Hawaii Pacific University (HPU).
Jessi's new college is a Division 2 School playing in the Western Conference and already have form on the board, finishing second in the competition last academic year and aiming to go the whole way in 2014.
Jessi's basketball season will commence in September and if successful will run through until next June and involve travel up and down the west coast of the USA to play other colleges in her conference. Things in Alaska are certain to be very different from sub-tropical Coffs Harbour and also to her new home in tropical Hawaii.
The local Suns graduate will be part of a squad of 15 players, but already the coach has indicated he has high hopes for her involvement in her first year in the potentially four year program.
Reeves has needed to show her academic abilities in order to win a college scholarship. However having already been admitted to a Teaching Degree at Macquarie University after her Year 12 results in 2013 at John Paul College, there was not too much doubt about her ability to meet the USA Academic levels.
When she is not on the basketball court, Jessi will be studying Education at Hawaii Pacific once again with a Maths specialty.
Reeves commenced playing basketball for St Augustine's in the Saturday morning Primary School Competition and took to it like 'a duck to water'.
Asked about her love of the game, Jessi remarked "I just loved the freedom - to move around the court, to do everything and to score."
Reeves was identified as having representative potential and from her debut in the domestic competition, went on to represent the Suns in U12, U14, U16's. U18's and most recently the State League Women.
He participation in Coffs Harbour representative basketball gave Reeves the chance to be seen by Country and State selectors and as a result has participated for NSW Country in 14's, 16's and 18's. Playing basketball for her school, John Paul College Reeves was selected in Combined Catholic Colleges and then the NSW All Schools Team.
Reeves remarked that as a result of her involvement in basketball, there's hardly a place in Australia where she can go where she will not know someone, and she has appreciated what basketball has given her over the years.
During her time with basketball in Coffs Harbour Jessi has come under the influence of a number of different coaches. She credits John Wallace her U12 coach with giving her a good grounding in the fundamental skills of the game and also recognised the contribution of former CHBA Development Officer Matt Shanahan in helping to toughen her up, mentally and physically.
Reeves also was full of praise for current coach Connie Woods, who has taught her the value of hard work and of focus.
Reeves believes her participation in basketball has helped her off the court. In particular, in order to do all that she wanted, she needed to be organised and this is a trait which has served her well across all of the things she does. In addition, through her basketball she has learned that nothing somes without hard work and that if you want something bad enough and you are prepared to put in the effort, you can realise your dreams.
In the Western Conference, Jessi will need to become adjusted to some slight rule changes compared to International basketball, but she does not anticipate too many problems.
Asked to give some advice for young players just starting on the journey she has already travelled, Jessi said "The hard work is worth it. Don't give up and remember, you never achieve anything worthwhile without effort.
Jessi leaves Coffs Harbour with the best wishes of our basketball family. Here is a link to the HPU website for anyone wanting to keep track of Jessi's progress in the months ahead.