BASKETBALL: Two Scots – Malcolm Winning (James Gillespie’s High School) and Gregor Gray (North Berwick High School) – have been selected to represent Team GB at next month’s Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.
“I was surprised and shocked to be selected,” said 16-year-old Malcolm. “But I am extremely excited to compete and learn from this opportunity. I am sure that all the teams we play will be very skilful and that the level of competition will be extremely high”.
Basketball 3 x 3 is the discipline Team GB will compete in in Australia from 17-20 January. It is a fast-paced brand of the sport played in over 200 countries, and which was a major success in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
The discipline is played on half-court featuring one ten-minute period and a 12-second shot clock that produces a high intensity and exciting sport for both athletes and spectators.
“3 x 3 is a very different game so a lot of learning to do,” suggested Gregor, also 16. “To be part of 120 athletes from Team GB and to compete alongside 1,700 athletes from 30 nations is going to be an amazing experience and a fantastic start to 2013”.
The two English players selected for Team GB are Dwane Lautier-Ogunleye (Bristol) and Harlow’s Joshua Steel.
Gregor is a guard forward and has already been selected to represent Scotland at under-18 level in 2013. He was a key player in the Edinburgh Kings Cadets’ unbeaten season last year - leading his team to league, Scottish Cup and playoff victories.
After an impressive club season he represented Scotland in the European Championships at under-16s and under-18 level. At Euro C in 2012, Scotland Under-16s came away with a second-place finish after being beaten in a close final against Monaco. Gregor’s individual performance was recognised by the organisers as he made the all star tournament team. This year, he has a lead role in his club who are in the hunt for the league title.
Malcolm Winning is a small forward and considered one of the best three point shooters in Scotland. He is a terrific shooter and was one of the top players/scorers in last year’s Scotland Under-16s second place finish at the European Championships.
He was also a star player in last year’s club season at cadet level – leading the Boroughmuir Blaze team to the play-off and Scottish Cup finals. Malcolm has been re-selected to represent this season’s Scottish under-18s, and the main goal will be the European Championships in Macedonia.