BREAK-OUT SEASON: Hannah Young, in action for the Hunters this year, hopes to lead Newcastle to a Waratah Basketball League championship this weekend. Picture: Darren PatemanHannah Young cannot wait to see where her debut WNBL seasontakes her.
But first, the University of Canberra Capitals signinghopes to guide Newcastle to another women’s championship in the Waratah Basketball League.
The Hunters men and women are headed forsemi-final showdowns with Manly and Norths respectively at Hills District Basketball Stadium onSaturday. A win will secure a grand final appearance on Sunday.
Young, aHunters junior, returned to her home town in Marchafter a successful United States college career at Virginia Tech and a brief stint playing professionally in Romania.
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Newcastle women’s coach Shannon Seebohm described the 25-year-old forward as“integral” to his squadand was not surprised to see her earn a contract for the upcoming national league after a break-out season for the Hunters.
Young is averaging 14.3 points per game for Newcastle and is the team’s second-highest scorer behind Jasmin Howe.
“She brings a lot to the team, and not just scoring,” Seebohm said. “She’salso a great defender,a great rebounder and she’s fit in perfectly since day one.
“With her combination of size and athleticism and skill, she’s certainly got the potential to be a good player at the next level and I’m really excited to see where she goes from here and how she uses Newcastle as a springboard to set up the rest of her career.”
Young, whose American-born father Lewis wasa Harlem Globetrotter, was a fringe player with the Hunters when she left Newcastle bound for the US as a 19-year-old.
She returnedwith the goal of securing a WNBL contract.
“I’ve always had my eyes set on Europe … but I gave Europe a shot and, now I’ve got this opportunity, it’s going to help me for n basketball in the future,” Young said.
“If I want to make the Opals, playing in this league will open a lot of doors for me.”
In the nation’s capital, Young will be training and playing alongside n representative Kelsey Griffin.
“She’s an amazing player andI’ll be just so happy I get to train with her every day,” Young said.
“Ijust really want to see where my potential can go, and I want to reach that. There’s nothing worse than leaving a sport or career and you never reach yourpeak.”
The immediate focus, however, is on Waratah Basketball League minor premiers Norths. The two sides have split results in two encounters this season.
Hannah Young has been integral to the Hunters making the Waratah Basketball League finals this weekend. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
“Our season hasbeen up and down,” Young said.
“We didn’t start off too flash but wegot better as the season went on and I’m definitely glad I came back. Hopefully we win the whole thing.That would make it even better.”
Newcastle claimed the women’s Waratah Basketball League championship for the first time in 2016 but, despite the addition of three-time OlympianSuzy Batkovic last year, failed to make the finals in their title defence.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Isabel Palmer has been named in the n team for the FIBAUnder-18 Asia Championships in India starting October 28.