A LETTER FROM KANSAS USA

We often ask for information from Club members that would be of interest to the wider Rockets Community. Well we got an excellent story from Rev. Tony Goodluck, who many (if not most) of you would know.

Tony has coached at NABC, his daughter Jessie played, his son Daniel is a current member of the NABC Men's Premier League side and Tony and Margie were always seen sitting on the sidelines cheering their kids on.

Some of you may not know that Jessie plays College ball in the States. Tony is there on a visit and has kindly sent an article that gives a little clue into what life is like for a College kid, and an update on how a couple of Rocket Girls are getting along.

Thank you Tony, this is great news!!

   

"On a cold and wintry evening, my wife Margie and I sat in the lounge room of a small, snug home in the mid-western city of Independence, Kansas, USA, with our daughter Jessie Goodluck and dear friend Alek Akuen. These two young women, who played their junior basketball at North Adelaide Rockets, are both students at Independence Community College, an NJCAA Div 1 College in the Jayhawks Conference, the heartland of Naismith's beloved basketball. Each one has shown the courage of her convictions by following her dream to the other side of the world.

Alek is a Sophomore (2nd Year) student, who at 6'3” is a dominant inside force at both ends of the court. In her first year she won the 'Jim Goodman Fan Favourite Award' for her Independence 'Lady Pirates' team and in week 3 of the current 2017/18 season she was recognised as the 'Player of the Week' for the Conference. Alek was also recognised as the NJCAA, Div 1 'Player of the Week' for the whole USA for the same week in which she recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds followed by 19 pts and 13 rebounds, for her two matches, making 17 of her 21 shots and 6 from 7 at the free-throw line.

Jessie, at 5' 8” is a Freshman (1st Year) who has just completed her first semester as a 'rookie' and is playing 1, 2 or 3-player, as required. She has two games so far with double digits, one in which she hit 3 from 5 from the arc plus another field goal to finish with 11; and just last week she led the team, on a 1500 km road trip, with 11 points versus Seward County Community College who are rated 15th in the nation. Jessie already has a Diploma of Sports Development from the Victoria University Basketball Academy in Melbourne in 2016.

These two former Rockets juniors are looking out for each other as room-mates and team-mates under Coach Leslie Crane; and their team thus far this season is 10 wins and 2 losses, for Conference games. When I asked them, “What is the hardest thing about being at College?” they both said, “Getting up at 5.30am for training, especially in Winter.” And the best thing? “Apart from sleep . . . the people! We have a great coach, great team-mates and great community support.” Alek has already had a number of NCAA Div 1 Colleges contact her as she begins to consider her options for studying 3rd and 4th years of an Education Degree and pursuing her Basketball Career. Jessie is head down and tail up, working hard at her game, improving every week and getting good grades in 'school'.

“Do you have any words of advice for junior players, who might be thinking about College Ball?” I asked them.

“If you want it enough, you will do what you need to do, no matter how hard it is,” says Alek.

Jessie adds, “Do you really love playing basketball? Really? If you don't have a burning passion and know what you want, you won't be able to handle it.”

Alek and Jessie are both very grateful for the scholarships and subsequent opportunities they have; and recognise what a privilege it is to play and study in the US Collegiate system. They remember their junior years at North Adelaide with real happiness and appreciation for all the fun, all the learning, and all the support and encouragement they received.

Rev Tony Goodluck (8th January 2018, Independence Kansas)"




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