NORTON INDUCTED AS LOCAL LEGEND
Townsville Basketball is thrilled to announce the induction of Mitch Norton as our fifth Local Legend. Mitch joins elite company in Kelvin Robertson, Michael Cedar, Peter Crawford and Simone Page to be recognised with Local Legend status for their achievements as players on the local, state, national and international stage. This special award, reserved only for the most successful players from Townsville Basketball was passed by the members at our most recent Annual General Meeting.
Norton’s junior career commenced with Blackstars in 1999 as an U8 player, he quickly showed much promise and represented Townsville as an U12 representative athlete in 2003. He would go onto represent Townsville in Heat junior teams for each of his eight year junior representative career from U12 to U18. Mitch became one of very few Townsville athletes to represent Queensland for five straight years from 2007 to 2011 in the U16, U18 & U20 age groups, helping bring home a silver medal for Queensland in 2011.
Debuting in 2012, Mitch had a break out QBL year averaging 13.1ppg in 11 games following his return from a foot injury which cut short his maiden NBL season. A disrupted 2013 season with junior national team commitments saw Mitch play only 10 games but was a key contributor on a successful Heat team.
In 2014 he grew his role significantly to average 14.3ppg and almost 4rpg. Following the departure of key talent in 2015 Norton would lead the team in scoring at 17.9ppg and win the U23 Youth Player of the Year for the Heat for the second straight season.
From a very young age Mitch demonstrated a burning desire to be a professional player and represent his home city. He could be seen on a daily basis as an under 10 player soaking up the training atmosphere, rebounding for Crocs stars such as Robert Rose and Mike Kelly and even joining in drills at Crocodiles practice. His early exposure to an NBL program drove his passion for the Crocodiles club and in 2011-12 his dream would become a reality, joining the club as a contracted player, however is maiden season was cut short after five games with a foot injury.
In the 2012-13 season would become Norton’s first full year in the NBL, averaging 4.1ppg through his 28 games. Mitch demonstrated his dedication to improving as a player in each and every off season, his 2013-14 NBL numbers blossomed to 6.9ppg & 2.6apg while leading the league in free throw percentage at 88.5%, he also collected the Mark Bragg players player award and Mike Kelly Medal for Best Defensive Player at the Crocodiles annual awards night.
Norton would play two more years with the Crocodiles before their demise following the 2015-16 season. His final year at the club would see him become the youngest ever captain of the franchise, a huge honour to lead his home town team into battle every night. His leadership continued to blossom as well as his on-court production. He boosted his statistical output for the fourth straight year to average 8.8pp, 2.8rpg & 2.8apg while once again shooting above 75% from the free throw line.
Following the demise of the Crocodiles Norton moved to the Illawarra Hawks for the 2016-17 season where he has spent the last two years. The team qualified for the 2017 NBL grand final series where they were defeated by the Perth Wildcats. Mitch recently signed a 3 year deal with the Perth Wildcats to extend his career in the West.
Norton has already played 165 NBL games at the young age of 25, putting him on track to join an elite group of players to play in over 300 NBL games.
Not only has Norton excelled in the NBL but he has proudly represented Townsville on the international stage. In 2010 he represented Australia at the U17 World Championships playing 26 minutes per game for a return of better than 11ppg. The Australian team would finish in 6th place at the tournament.
His Australian representation continued in 2012 when he played at the Stankovic Cup for the senior national team. A young Boomers team would finish second at the tournament behind an experienced Chinese outfit.
Norton would again visit the Stankovic Cup in 2013 where the Boomers would this time come away with a gold medal. This tournament functioned as a lead-up to the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Norton was a starter on the team which bought home a silver medal following a narrow seven-point loss to the host nation in the gold medal game.
Most recently Norton has played a key role in two gold medal winning Boomers teams. The 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The Boomers marched through both tournaments without a loss with Norton playing a steady hand in the point guard position to help lead the team to back to back gold medal performances.
THE LOCAL LEGEND
Townsville Basketball is extremely proud to award Mitch this honour as our fifth Local Legend. Not only have his on-court performances been unmatched in recent times by any Townsville athlete, his selfless nature and team first attitude epitomises the qualities of how Townsville Basketball should be represented.
We will unveil Mitch’ Local Legend banner at our QBL home game against Cairns this Saturday June 30th. Please join us in celebrating the success of one of the finest Townsville Basketball has ever produced.