Heading sky high

Sally Alden

He’s a long, lean sports machine; and standing at 6.1ft, Primary School student Nathan Clark is heading to the Nationals in his chosen sport of basketball.

Nathan will be heading to Townsville as part of the NSW Primary Schools Boys Basketball Team in mid August.

The 12 year-old from near Caroona enjoys the structure and the challenge of his sport and hopes to make it his career.

“It’s good to utilize my height, shooting and jumping abilities in a team sport that is fun and challenging.”

Nathan believes you get out of sport, what you put into it and credits his friend Liam Faulkner as introducing him to the ball sport.

“Liam asked me back in February 2013 to come to his Quirindi NJL Basketball training. I was nervous but I enjoyed the game and the training. Matt Parsons, Quirindi NJL Basketball Coach encouraged me to come back and play with and for his team. This was the first time I had ever played an actual game of basketball.”

Nathan says his most exciting match so far was the recently played Grand Finals in Bathurst with the North West Team.

“We lost the game 34-36 and were placed second in the Primary Schools Sports Association State Championships. It was an exciting game all the way through with a one to two points difference for most of the game.”

Nathan cites Lebron James who now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durrant who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder as his sporting inspirations because of their amazing athletic abilities.

But most of all Nathan says, basketball has helped build his self-confidence as well as his fitness.

“He’s found a sport that celebrates his height and skills and that’s given him a huge confidence boost,” said his mother and former President of the Quirindi Chamber of Commerce, Tammy Clark.
Nathan revealed the sport has also taught him to respect his team-mates as well as giving him structure to play, to have fun and to stay motivated.

“The sport itself is motivating, I enjoy it, so I continue to practice to get better in the positions I play,” said Nathan who will play Centre at the upcoming Nationals.

Locally, Nathan is a member of the Quirindi Basketball Association where he plays for the Boys National Junior League Under 14 years.

“I also play Wednesday nights in Tamworth’s Secondary School Comps, with the year 7/8 Boy with my team from Quirindi and I play Friday Nights in the Year 6/7 Division Junior Competition which is a co-educational friendly competition where you can just enjoy playing the game.”

When asked some of his strengths for the sport, proud mum Tammy lists his ability to continue to learn and develop his skills.
“His determination and dedication to his development to higher divisions of basketball by going to basketball camps, clinics, staying physical fit and daily basketball practice is admirable.”
Nathan says it’s a great honour and opportunity to have been selected for Nationals.

“It’s amazing to represent my state, school, shire and Quirindi. My height and my abilities to play through the jamborees and basketball camps I have attended have been my strengths so far. I hope to develop my skills and techniques to get better and to understand my duties and responsibilities playing in the position of Centre.”

As a farm kid, Nathan helps his dad, Robert with the farm-work and loves to eat his mum’s lasagne, but he also possesses a focus beyond his years.

“I want to play basketball as a career, I swim and train with the Werris Creek Swim Club during open swim season, run, exercise and practice my basketball drills. My family are proud of what I have achieved so far and support me as much as they can.”

Tammy says Nathan’s success in the sport has also enabled the family to travel to places they may have never otherwise visited.

“The sport means you are doing something with your children, friendships are developed and it brings families closer together, builds self confidence and esteem. Most importantly it is fun.”

Nathan’s younger sister Brianna is also proud of her brother.

“He’s really good at basketball and likes to play it all the time,” she said.

Nathan and his family will be holding a series of local fundraisers to help get him to the Nationals and any community support is welcome.

“We would like to thank the Quirindi Basketball Association, Terry Beresford, Matt Parsons-Quirindi Under 14’s Basketball Coach and Jonathan Willis, the Manager for Nationals and the other coaches for their time, coaching, dedication and support they the given Nathan and all his team-mates that he has played with,” concluded Tammy.

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