A multi-sport standout in both basketball and Australian rules football, her impressive playing resume is littered with championships and individual awards.
“For me it was pretty easy because basketball is in my genes and runs in the family. I started playing when I was five, so I was one of the youngest in the team,” Duggan recalls on her initial connection with the game.
“I didn’t ever think coaching would be a thing for me,” Duggan admits. “It only really started when my daughter started playing. That was my way of giving something back to the club with my basketball experience.”
Kaylani, 14, is a talented player in her own right with the Northern Territory high performance program, suiting up for multiple representative teams in her young playing career thus far.
“I was at the games as a mum anyway but that’s how I got started in coaching. As the years go by it’s definitely something I want to do full time when I finish playing basketball.
“It’s a lot more technical being the coach because you have to think about the game more as a coach rather than it coming natural on the court. You have to take into account that every player is different so not each individual play you set, or the way you coach will cater to every individual.”
Inspired by her cousin Timmy, Duggan’s role in the game has expanded to involvement in Indigenous Basketball Australia, where she has continued her coaching path.
“Timmy is a big supporter of Indigenous hoops. He was the founder of Hoops 4 Health, so I helped him along the way with coaching,” Duggan said. “He was the reason that I am coaching at the moment in the Indigenous community basketball league that is happening at the moment. Timmy is definitely the one who got me involved in that.”
The off-court role is as much about mentoring the NT youth as it is developing basketball skills, with Duggan’s desire to create successful pathways to adulthood shining through.
“It’s obviously my passion, I want to see the girls have confidence and try to achieve their best and achieve their dreams. It’s just about having the right guidance and supports around them.
“Up in the NT you can go either way and sports is a big saviour for us up here. You find the ones that are heavily involved in sports are busy doing that on the weekends. It’s nice to see the girls still have dreams of wanting to make it big even though they are in the NT. When the time comes, take the opportunities and give it your all.”
A Program Coordinator with the Stars Foundation at Casuarina Senior College, Duggan helps foster full-time support programs for girls in schools with the aim of improving health and education with at-risk groups.
“With the right support they can achieve anything and that is something I’m really passionate about. With the Stars Foundation here in Darwin we have girls that are not only playing sport but it’s about teaching them the right values and have the great supports around them.”
Continuing to assist and guide those girls, Duggan has one simple message to share.
“Be proud of who you are, work hard to achieve your dreams. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Don’t be afraid to want to be bigger and better.”
Written by Kane Pitman, freelance contributor for Basketball Australia
Image courtesy of NT News