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Awer Ajak: Hoop Dreams

Standing at 6 ft 3 in, 14 year old Year 9 student Awer Ajak is at the top of his game in basketball. His height and agility not only contribute to his success on the court but also his commitment and talent, making him an outstanding player with the North Adelaide Rockets Basketball Club.

Introduced to the game at 11 years of age, Awer’s sporting gift was recognised while playing social basketball and he was recruited to join an elite team, training every day, with the exception of Thursday nights. His intense dedication emanates from his passion for the sport and the way it makes him feel.

“It takes my mind off of things,” Awer said.

“I really enjoy playing basketball.”

Awer bumped up his training in preparation for the recent National Championships which took place from 9-12 June in Dandenong, Victoria. Playing six games in U16, Division 1, Awer and his team were selected to compete against teams from all around Australia.

“In last week’s championship we placed 15th out of 30, however, we are aiming to take out the top award and bring home gold when we compete against the top three teams in another competition,” Awer said.

“Last year, we received bronze in the National Championship where the top three teams from each state played each other. We definitely have a chance of winning.”

Awer is no stranger to competitions and top-level performance. Last year he was selected to join Basketball SA’s High Performance U14 Futures Squad where only 20 players were selected out of 100.

“This year I made the National Intensity Training Program (NITP) for U16,” Awer said.

“Basketball SA choose the top elite players for the training program. We train every Tuesday night after club training in preparation for future state teams.”

Having only played basketball for three years, Awer recognises his height is one contributing factor to his brief success.

“I understand I have a higher chance of making the state team,” Awer said.

“My height has shaped my pathway and my decision to play the sport.”

While his prominence is striking, his talent and capability is undeniably noticeable.

“I’ve played basketball in various championships and for the state team now for two years in a row,” Awer said.

“I’ve made Division 1 for two different teams for the last three years.”

Dreaming big and inspiring to be an NBA Hall of Famer, Awer hopes to one day be a professional basketball player and hit the court in the USA.

“My basketball idol is Stephen Curry,” Awer said.

“He’s an American basketball player for the Golden State Warriors and possibly the greatest shooter in NBA history.”

Awer’s success on the court is mirrored in his sister’s playing abilities. Year 7 student Awur has also graced the court and at 12 years of age is only a few inches behind her brother in height. This pocket rocket also has the skills and talent to take her right to the top in women’s basketball with the student this year selected to join Basketball SA’s High Performance U14 Girls’ Futures Squad.

The College looks forward to following the brother and sister team in their basketball journey and road to stardom.

Mrs Amanda Fryer Communications Officer

16/06/17