Mildura Weekly : Friday January 13 Vol 11 No 10
28 SPORT MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017 WORLD Champion – and former Lady Heat star – Jas- mine Simmons is hoping to rebound from a crippling back injury in time for April’s Aus- tralian Under 18s Basketball Championships in Townsville. The 17-year-old has been sidelined for the last six months with a bulging disc, experiencing the setback fol- lowing last year’s triumphant FIBA Under 17 World Cham- pionship campaign. Speaking to the Mildura Weekly on Monday, Jasmine said despite the frustration, she’s been focussing all her en- ergy on returning to the court. “In a few years time, I’ll look back at this and see it as a learning experience,” Jas- mine said. “You really need to have such a strong mentality to push through things. “The environment can be really confining, and if you have a long-term injury it can be quite hard. “That’s why it’s great to have a strong support network, but it has been one of the big- gest learning curves of my life.” Working against the clock, Jasmine is hopeful of return- ing for the upcoming nation- als, with July’s FIBA Under 19 World Championships in Italy the long-term goal. Returning home from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for the summer, Jasmine said it still hasn’t sunk in that she captained her country to a drought-breaking world title. “To be honest it still doesn’t feel real,” she said. “Ev- eryone is looking back on it as a great accomplishment, but at the moment it’s a milestone of our career, and we are going to move on to the next thing. “Every time someone men- tions it you get shivers down your spine, and I can’t believe we did it.” Returning to Canberra in two weeks, the dynamic play- maker said she was looking forward to her third year at the AIS. “This year I am one of the oldest, so it’s going to be pretty cool to be a guardian or a role model for the younger kids,” she said. “It’s going to come with ex- tra responsibility, because I’ll be leading the way, and show- ing how you live here, and how it all works. “This year will be an excit- ing one, as we prepare for the Under 19 World Champion- ships in July.” Juggling her AIS commit- ments with Year 12 studies, Jasmine is bracing herself for a big year on and off the court. “School’s always been a massive thing, so you just have to face it as it comes,” she said. “Some of the Year 12 girls last year got so stressed out, and they underperformed in bas- ketball. “Education is the number one thing, and I’ll also be play- ing SEABL, so I’ll just take it as it comes.” Star Jasmine backs herself to return from serious injury • GOLD RUSH: Gol Gol’s Jasmine Simmons – pictured last year with her FIBA Under 17 gold medal – is hoping to get back on track after sustaining a long-term injury. By Adam Luitjes firstname.lastname@example.org @MilduraWeekly @MilduraWeekly RISING stars of the Sunraysia basketball scene have a huge chance to shine for the Lockstar Homes Mildura Heat in 2017. Following the retirement of Jason Spratt and Brent Sy- monds impending move over- seas, young guns Alex New- stead and Dallas Brown will have every opportunity to take a leadership role for the Big V Basketball Division Two side alongside Dave Meyer. The Heat and the Azzco En- gineering Mildura Lady Heat returned to pre-season training this week in sweltering condi- tions at the Toyota Hothouse. Heat coach and Mildura Basketball operations manag- er Russell Knights is buoyant about the prospects of both his men, and Jamie Madigan’s Lady Heat in Division One. “We feel both (teams) can make a real impact in their re- spective divisions,” he said. Fan favourite Calvin Henry will again play the role of im- port for Heat. He will be the only import as, unlike previ- ous seasons, the coaches have decided they will only play the solitary overseas addition. The search continues for a replacement for Ali Gloyd for the Lady Heat, however Knights hopes the new import will be sorted by the end of January. Places are up for grabs in both sides as Knights and Ma- digan assess the pre-season training of their prospective troops. The Heat’s development team will make the switch from the Big V competition to the Country Basketball League (CBL) in 2017. “We think shifting to the CBL will be a better fit for the young men,” Knights said. “We hope it will help their development further, but we do have some young guys who are already showing some good leadership qualities. “Guys such as Will Wilson and Cam Kelly won’t be over- awed being part of the top team.” Final playing squads hope to be sorted in the coming weeks. Young leaders set to feel the heat By Mitch Rodd email@example.com @MilduraWeekly @MilduraWeekly • HEATING UP: Mildura Heat’s Dave Meyer and Alex Newstead are expected to play pivotal roles this season.
Friday January 6 Vol 11 No 9
Friday January 20 Vol 11 No 11