Opals name local gem

July 08, 2017

Shepparton basketballer Maddie Garrick has been named in the Australian Opals side for the Asian Cup.

Shepparton’s Maddie Garrick is part of the Australian Opals side to travel to India for the Asian Cup this month.

Garrick was chosen as part of the 12-person squad, following a camp in Phoenix, Arizona, where new Australian coach Sandy Brondello cast an eye across the talent.

The 25-year-old returned to Australia on Wednesday and said she thrived on the experience to train in the city where Brondello coaches the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.

‘‘It was kind of crazy, it was an amazing experience just to go to an Opals camp and then to go to America and Phoenix and experience that culture,’’ she said.

‘‘Everyone knows everyone from playing in the WNBL or being apart of the Opals before so it was more so getting to know the new coaches.’’

The Melbourne Boomers player missed the official team naming with a minor injury concern, but she is confident of returning to fitness by the Asian Cup.

‘‘On the last day of camp they announced the team for the group and I actually missed it, I injured my adductor in the last session and I was away getting an MRI,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s heightening to be selected even though I’m slightly injured but not out, it’s exciting.’’

With a mild adductor issue Garrick should only miss about two weeks, focusing on her recovery with a tight turnaround between returning from America and jetting off to India on July 17.

‘‘For the moment I’m focused on getting my body right and building on everything from the first camp and setting myself on the style Sandy and the coaches want,’’ she said.

Garrick’s junior coach Leigh Bathman saw the Australian player through her development years and said she was always a basketballer destined to progress up the ranks.

Bathman coached the guard during her time with Shepparton region’s National Intensive Training Program and said she was always determined to be better.

‘‘She is one of the most dedicated young basketballers I ever had the pleasure of working with and girls, boys, senior men, senior women, I’ve coached a lot of them over the years,’’ he said.

‘‘But her dedication is a testament to upbringing of her parents because she was also one of the most respectful.

‘‘I’m not surprised she’s reached the top level because of her drive and motivation.’’

The Opals start the Asian Cup against Korea on July 23, playing the Philippines and Japan during the group stages.

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