Michael Walker 2021 NSWCCC Bar Recipient

Michael Walker from St Francis Xavier’s College Hamilton started playing basketball at 7 years of age and first represented the Newcastle Hunters at the age of 11 as well as representing the Diocese for basketball, athletics, and AFL.

One could say that Michael at 6 ft 7 and still growing is well suited to the game of basketball but what has maintained his interest all these years is the fast-paced nature of the sport. He sees the game as constantly changing and keeps one engaged for the entirety of the contest.

Michael received a NSWCCC Blue for basketball in 2019 when he was just 16. Michael was a significant player in the 2019 NSWCCC team. His offensive and defensive skills were noticed by the selectors and consequently, he was chosen in the NSW All Schools Basketball Team. An impressive achievement for a Year 10 student. In his 2019 citation, it read that “Michael is a strong all-round basketballer with solid defensive and rebounding skills. In attack, he is difficult to guard with his outstanding ball-handling and court awareness.”

Michael has been a Newcastle Hunters representative every year since 2014 and first represented NSW in 2017 when he was selected in the U16 NSW country team. Since then, he has been selected in the State team every year. He has also been part of the State performance program since 2017 and graduated in 2020. Michaels’s talent as an Australian representative was recognised at a young age. He has attended multiple Australian developmental camps at the Australian Institute of Sport. His major accomplishment to date was when he was selected in the U15 Australian team in 2018 that who won gold in the Oceania championship. Michael was then selected in the U16 team the following year and named in the U17 squad that was training for the U18 World Championships to be held in Lebanon. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a stop to all sporting activities including basketball were put on hold, and eventually, the world championships were cancelled.

This year Michael was selected in the under 20’s NSW State team that competed at the Australian Championships in Mackay in a weeklong tournament. Along with this, he has also earned a place on the roster for the Newcastle Hunters championship men’s team in his first year in the senior program. His short-term goal is to be named as a part of the newly named ‘Newcastle falcons’ NBL1 team in 2022. This will open pathways to play basketball professionally around Australia and potentially the NBL in the coming years. Michael is also hoping to be named in the under 20’s NSW State team for 2022, this is a great development pathway while creating exposure to coaches from around the country. Through the school pathway, Michael was selected in the NSWCCC team who competed at the tri-schools tournament, where he along with the team versed NSWCIS and NSWCHS. Throughout the day Michael put on display his versatility, playing in multiple positions, as well as his leadership skills. This resulted in Michael being named in the honorary NSW All Schools team who would usually compete at the NSW All-Schools tournament but was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. Michael received a NSW Bar award but due to COVID-19, the awards ceremony could not take place.

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