TAREE basketballer Ben Williams starts a journey this week that will take him to Melbourne and one he hopes will eventually lead to him playing in America.
The 18-year-old has been accepted into the Australian College of Sport, where he will study for a Diploma of Sport Development.
According to the college’s website, this is ‘a highly sophisticated and customised program for the aspiring professional basketball player. Advanced skills training and curriculum in the high performance space are strongly individualised for each student athlete.
“The program curriculum comprises technical, physical, mental and tactical elements of basketball coordinated with sport science, the business of professional sport and career preparation skills. This program has been developed in partnership with national and championship coaches, elite mind experts the IKON Institute of Australia and the Australian College of Sport.’
Williams applied for the college after attending an information day earlier this year in Melbourne. He admits to being a bit apprehensive at the possibility of moving interstate at first. However, he enjoyed his brief foray into life in the Victorian capital and lodged an application.
“I was accepted last week and I’m really stoked.’’
Williams has made a rapid rise in the sport. He’s only been playing since 2015, where’s he’s been involved with the Taree Tornadoes program.
“I was playing football at the time but that wasn’t doing it for me. Then I saw a game of basketball at Saxby’s Stadium and I knew that was form me,” he said.
A quick learner, Williams was soon playing with the Taree junior representative sides in the Northern NSW League. He also took on umpiring duties and has controlled fixtures at major representative carnivals including the Australian Country Championships in Albury in January.
The diploma will open a pathway for Williams that could lead to being a professional basketballer, a coach or a career in administration. However, he wants to make his mark on court.
“If I got an opportunity to play in the NBL – I know that’s a massive step – but I’d love it,’’ he said.
There is the possibility of playing State League while he’s in Melbourne. However, Williams said he’ll mix study with work commitments so there’s nothing definite. He’s been able to secure a transfer to a Bunnings outlet in Melbourne – he’s been employed at the Taree Bunnings since he left year 12.
Williams knows he’ll get home sick at some stage or other, but he said it’s part of the journey..
“If you get these opportunities in life you have to jump on them,’’ he said.