Young Sam shoots for the stars

By TONY WHITE

YOUNG Grafton basketballer Sam Wicks has been eagerly counting down the hours before he represents NSW Country at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup at Albury-Wodonga.

The 12-year-old Grafton High School student heads south today for the annual tournament from January 13-22 against teams from South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, ACT and New Zealand.

Sam is one of only 20 players selected for two, 14- to 18-year-old teams from across NSW country areas.

"I was really happy to get picked," he said. "It should be really good."

The family basketball hoop at the Wicks residence has been in regular use as Sam hones his shooting skills.

And he has also put in regular visits to the Grafton Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre in readiness for the prestigious tournament.

Sam plays locally with the Grafton Vikings Under-14 team.

Apart from his experience as part of the Grafton junior representative side, he has previously represented the North Coast in a tournament at Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast.

And in 2003 his school, Westlawn Primary, made it to the finals of the statewide PSSA basketball titles.

"We got beaten in both games by a point," Sam said.

He plays either point guard or shooting guard but he's also adept at goal scoring.

"I think the best I've done is 38 points in a game," Sam said. "I really like basketball, it's a lot of fun and a lot of my friends play.

"I've played for about five or six years."

Soccer and swimming are his other favourite sporting pursuits, but basketball retains his major interest.

"I'd like to keep playing and see how far I can go," Sam said.

His mother Paula said her son had worked hard to achieve representative honours.

"Since he's been attending the Grafton representative training each week he's had to also work on a home program for fitness and skills," she said.

"Sam goes down to the stadium when he can and does his own thing at home.

"He's worked really hard practising. We're proud of his achievements.

"He's very excited about the trip but I don't think it has really hit home yet. Maybe when he gets down there (Albury)."



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