Two State Basketball League young guns are on their way to represent the country with the Australian Under 19s teams in Europe, Lakeside Lightning’s Keanu Pinder and Rockingham Flames’ Darcee Garbin have been chosen in the touring teams in the last step before the FIBA World Championships in July.
Talented forward Garbin barely had time to settle back on home soil before she was told she would be again representing Australia in the Gems tour of Europe next month.
Last week, Garbin returned from China after a successful tour which saw the National Under 19 Women’s team win five games from a possible nine. On Thursday the 18-year-old was named in the Gems travelling team which will play in France in June, for the final stage of preparation before the World Championships in Lithuania.
“I’m stoked,” Garbin said.
“I think it will be a lot tougher competition [than China]. There will be harder teams to play against, like Spain and Russia.”
Garbin said the tournament in China provided a good opportunity for Gems head coach Cheryl Chambers to experiment with the newly formed Gems team.
“We haven’t played together before and our coach tried different things each game; changed things up a bit and tried to get good combinations that worked towards the end of the tournament.”
“The team has gelled really well together,” she added.
The West Coast Waves youngster said this year has been jam-packed, splitting her time between playing in the SBL for the Rockingham Flames and going to Canberra to prepare for the Gems tours at the Australian Institute of Sport, where she is training six days a week.
“It’s been pretty rushed for the players. A lot of us have gone straight from the WNBL to [State Competitions] and we’ve only had one camp this year, the tour to China, and in two weeks we leave again for France,” Garbin said.
Another future WA star Keanu Pinder was also named in touring side for the Under 19 Mens team, the Emus. The Perth Wildcats development player left Australian shores on Thursday for the Czech Republic to play in two three-game series against the Czech Republic and Lithuania in the lead up to the World Championships.
Pinder debuted in the SBL for Lakeside Lightning earlier this year and competed in the Under 20s National Championships before he got the call up to the Emus squad. The 17-year-old said he is excited about the opportunity to play at an international level.
“I was excited I got the chance to become part of the Emus squad. It’s a great achievement; it was one of my goals to make the 19s team,” Pinder said.