Shepparton basketball talent Jordan Michel will have the opportunity to develop his skills through an elite program.
The rising star has been included in Basketball Australia’s National Performance Program after a strong season on the court.
Michel represented Victoria Country at the recent under-16 junior national championships and his Shepparton Gators coach Josh Waight believed this new accolade was well deserved.
‘‘It’s a fantastic effort to be recognised like this,’’ Waight said.
‘‘It shows that all the hard work he has been putting in is being noticed and rewarded.’’
Playing alongside teammate Oscar Hide, Michel averaged more than seven points, two steals, two assists and three rebounds across nine matches at the championships to impress plenty of onlookers.
The NPP is designed to help athletes on the fringe of national selection to further their chances through working with elite coaches and fellow prospects, and means Michel is one step closer to the international arena.
‘‘From my understanding it is a program for potential Australian players,’’ Waight said.
‘‘If he keeps putting in the hard work, the rest will take care of itself.
‘‘It will expose him to more high-level coaches on a regular basis.’’
Michel showcased his prowess on the court at the Shepparton Sport Stadium on Friday night, managing 19 points in a match-winning performance against McKinnon.
‘‘He did a good job of facilitating the offence, making sure everyone was involved, but also did some good defending as well, which was pleasing,’’ Waight said.
The Victorian Junior Basketball League Championship Reserve clash came down to the wire, but the Gators were able to secure an important 54-49 victory.
‘‘It was a great team effort, it was really pleasing,’’ Waight said.
‘‘We really came out ready to play and took it right up to them even though they were the bigger side.
‘‘It was fantastic, and hopefully we can build on it (tonight).’’
Mitch Markby and Charlie Young scored 11 points each in the win, with Josh Evans and Will Dwyer scoring six, and a similarly well-rounded performance will be needed from the sixth-placed Gators when they take on Latrobe City (eighth) at Eltham High tonight.
Meanwhile, the under-16 girls face a tough Metro Two fixture against Dandenong.
The teams sit at opposite ends of the table, but Shepparton will be looking to bounce back quickly from a 26-44 home loss to Keilor last week.
‘‘I think the girls are still doing well, they are progressing and getting tougher every week,’’ coach Tony Long said.
‘‘We got more shots away than them last week, but just couldn’t get the ball to drop.’’