Hi Jaylen and thank you for being a part of our Spotlight On series.
So, you are a Wheelchair Basketballer, what made you pursue Basketball as your chosen sport?
I grew up in basketball stadiums watching my Mum play a lot of basketball. That’s where my love for basketball started.
Being based regionally, how do we stack up against the city for opportunities to practice and compete?
It’s hard for me because all of my trainings are in Melbourne. We do have a wheelchair basketball competition in Warrnambool that I play in and I do some training here on my own. There are more opportunities for me in Melbourne.
Can you explain a little about the level of training and competition that is provided locally?
There is a social competition here on a Thursday night that has 5 teams competing in it at the moment. I enjoy playing but it is only a social competition. I do all of my training on my own with Mum or Dad.
There has been a real focus in the last few years on disability inclusion, not only in Australia, but the world, what advice would you give a young kid who wants to get a start in sport, especially locally?
It’s ok to give anything a try, don’t be nervous you will really enjoy being part of a team and playing with your friends.
Wheelchair basketball looks like a very fast paced sport, what is it you love most about the game?
I like that it’s physical and fast.
What did you have to do to become involved?
I started playing in Brisbane. I was invited to a training session and from there I continued to play.
What does your training involve?
At the moment I’m training on my own a lot but when I can I go to Melbourne I train with the Victorian juniors or the NWBL Kilsyth mens team.
Can you tell us about your teammates, being a team sport and knowing very little about basketball, can you, in a basic way, explain what a game involves.
Wheelchair basketball is very similar to able bodied basketball. Most of the rules are the same except in wheelchair basketball each player has a classification, mine is a 4.0. The classifications are 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5. Classifications depend on your disability, the lower the number means the less function your body has. Each team can only have a total of 16 classification points on the court at one time. E.g. you wouldn’t be able to play 5 players on the court as once if they were all 4.0 because you would then have a total of 20 points on the court. The coach needs to know all their players classifications and what combinations of players can play together so that you don’t go over the 16 points.
How long has wheelchair basketball been your dream?
Since I started playing when I was 7.
Have you ever wanted to play any other sports?
I play AFL and able bodied Basketball.
Do you have any heroes or people you would like to be like?
Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA Player)
What is your ultimate sporting goal?
To play for Australia.
If you could encourage someone to try your sport what would you say to them?
Come and have a go, its fast and fun. You will enjoy it.
Locally if a person wanted to get involved, would it be costly, is there specialised equipment here that they could use to try the sport, to give it a go?
It costs $5 a week to play and all of the equipment is there to use, you don’t have to bring anything.
Where do you have to go to compete?
We play at the Arc every Thursday night.
With the Paralympics becoming more widely known, is it your ultimate goal?
Yes, I want to play for Australia at the Olympics and at a World Championship.
What is the pathway you would take to make it to Paralympic level?
I would continue to represent my state at the u23 nationals each yr. I’m currently a part of the Australian u23 squad; I’m hoping to get picked to go to the u23 World Championships in 2021. I would need to start consistently playing in the National League Competition and then hopefully be invited to be a part of the mens Australian training squad to one day be selected to go to the Paralympics.
Do any of your family also play the sport?
My Mum plays Basketball and my Dad played Football.
Can you tell us more about your family, do you have siblings, if they don’t play your sport do they do other sport?
My mum is Louise, she coaches and plays basketball with the Mermaids. My Dad is Matt, he coaches Football at Merrivale and I have a little bother Tommy, his too young to play sport yet.
How long have you been involved with SWAS? What do they do to help and support your journey?
6 Months. The weekly gym sessions have really helped me build up my strength.
Is there anyone you like to thank today?
My Mum and Dad for all their support.
We would like to thank you for being a part of our series; we cannot wait to watch your journey!