Emu Probert to captain Vic
Bendigo teenager Kevin Probert will mark another career high when he captains Victoria at this month's national under-20 basketball championships on Ballarat's courts.
A talented point or off guard who is in the Australian Emus squad for the 2007 world under-19 titles, Probert will contest his fourth national champioships.
The previous campaigns have been as a Victoria Country representative at under-18 and under-16 level.
Probert said to captain Victoria> at the upcoming nationals would be a tremendous honour.
"To be captain of a Victorian team is right up there with everything I have achieved so far," Probert said yesterday.
Selection trials for Victoria team began four weeks before Christmas.
"Since then we have a training camp every Sunday in Melbourne Probert said of the titles build-up.
He knows his team-mates well.
"I have played in teams with team or against them," he said of the Vics line-up.
"We probably don't have as much height as our opponents, so we will rely a lot on quick movement of the ball," said the captain.
To that extent the guards will play a key role in Victoria's game plan.
The week-long national under-20 championships tip off February 18.
Leading contenders for the title are tipped to be New South Wales and Western Australia
Playing close to home is an advantage the Victorians will be aiming to capitalise on.
Although his focus in on leading Victoria to victory at the under-20 titles, Probert is also aiming to be a member of the Australian Emus squad to compete at the world titles.
He recently returned from the national development camp in Canberra.
Three days of training were followed by competing in the Canberra Classic.
"We played really well to beat Canberra Gunners in the preliminary rounds by a point," Probert said.
"But they beat us in the grand final."
There have been many areas that Probert has worked to improve, with defensive play being the one he has focused on a lot.
Probert is also a member of the Bendigo Telstra Braves team to compete in the South East Australian Basketball League in '07.
The Emus squad will have another three-day camp in late March or early April.
"After that camp the final team will be selected," said Probert.
He has worn the green and gold for Australia in the FIBA Oceania qualifying tournament in Nowra, and also in Germany.
Playing at Ballarat is another crucial step that Probert makes toward being on the court at world championships.
By the Bendigo Advertiser