Teen ace in top company

Nick Grantham was shocked to make the Vic Country under-18 team. Picture Damian Visentini

Having represented the state last year, Woodend’s Nick Grantham had a good idea of what to expect going into the trials for the Vic Country under-18 basketball team this time.

Passing through the trial process, Grantham made the Victorian Bushrangers squad that played at the Australian country championships in Albury earlier this year.

The final Vic Country team was selected after those championships.

It was at this event last year that Grantham was selected for the under-16 Vic Country team for the national championships.

Despite making national championships back then, Grantham wasn’t so confident this time around, being a bottom-age player.

“It was definitely a shock to make the team,” he said. “I was just aiming to be an emergency this year so I’m stoked to be picked.

“I played a lot better at the Albury Cup than I expected I would.

“It’s a really good opportunity and I’m excited to play.”

For Grantham, who has grown up around the Macedon Ranges Basketball Association, playing the game was something that just came naturally.

“My whole family has been into basketball,” he said. “My sisters were always playing so I was always at their games.

“Dad took a lot of training sessions and I was taken along to them. I’d then end up training with every age group. It was pretty full-on from a young age.”

So the 15-year-old will be a familiar face at the championships. His training partner, Kyneton’s Seb McCardle, was also selected.

Like Grantham, McCardle was part of the Vic Country under-16 side last season.

“I did a lot of training with Seb,” Grantham says.

“We started playing basketball together at Bendigo and then were at the same school. We’ve ended up in a few teams together.

“We did a lot of shooting and playing one on one and worked on each other’s weaknesses.”

Now in year 10 at Box Hill, Grantham continues to represent the Macedon Ranges Basketball Association under the watchful eye of Jason Balmer, who has coached at state level.

He also plays under-18s at Keilor.

“About two years ago I moved from Bendigo to Keilor to play,” Grantham said. “It was more for mum and dad, to help them with the travel for games and training.”

Grantham is hoping his basketball career will lead him to college in the US in future.

“Box Hill have said they will help me look at trying to get into college there. I’ve got some good contacts and hopefully we can work something out.”

Meanwhile, Sunbury’s Bethany Theodore has been named as an emergency for the Vic Metro under-18 side.

Theodore plays for Bulleen.