Giddey up for a big year

Josh Giddey. Picture Mark Wilson

By Lance Jenkinson

A lot has changed in the space of a year for Yarraville basketballer Josh Giddey.

Twelve months ago, Giddey was best known as a son of a gun, that is the son of Warrick, a long time fan favourite of the Melbourne Tigers, a team he won multiple championships with in the National Basketball League.

Now Giddey is forming his own tag as potentially one of the next stars to come off the Australian basketball production line.

After a whirlwind 2019, Giddey went from relative obscurity to the next big thing in Aussie hoops. You only have to take a peek at Giddey’s highlights reel to see why.

The way he glides from the three-point arc to the hoop with ease, breezing by defenders, is such a weapon.

While he is seen as one of Australia’s most promising basketballers now, that has not always been the case.

Incredibly, next month will only be the second time he represents Victoria, when he takes to the court for the Big V at the Australian U20 national championships.

“This is only my second time representing Victoria, so it’s a pretty big deal,” Giddey said.

“I didn’t make a state team until I was top age 18s.”

That is only the tip of the iceberg for Giddey in 2020. Giddey’s year is paved with new milestones in his basketball career and big competitions to come.

He recently got a call from the Australian national team coach to inform him of his selection in the Boomers squad to play in Asian Olympic qualifiers.

At 17 years and three months, it is believed that Giddey will be the youngest to pull on the green and gold of the Boomers. Giddey is part of the NBA Global Academy, based in Canberra.

It is certainly a far cry from when he played local cricket with Yarraville, football with Yarraville-Seddon Eagles and basketball with the Melbourne Tigers.

“There’s five Australian players and the rest are internationals, but we all live in Canberra,” Giddey said.

“Some of my best mates up there are internationals.

“It’s cool getting to learn about people’s different cultures and backgrounds and in a way and hang out with people from other countries.”

Being part of the NBA Global Academy has accelerated Giddey’s basketball career.

The chance to receive specialist coaching and come up against talented players on a daily basis is an environment he has learned to thrive in.

Josh Giddey. Picture Mark Wilson

It has also led to a jet-setting lifestyle that can take its toll on a teenager, though it did not hamper Giddey last year as he dominated for the NBA Global Academy against elite competition at tournaments in Spain, where he was named MVP, and the USA.

Giddey, an athletic point guard who is adept at positions one through four on the court, earned an All Star Five gong at the U17 Oceania Championships, won by Australia.

Giddey will look back fondly on last year.

“Before last year, I was kind of an unknown,” he said. “I grew a lot and then I moved up to the academy, so last year was a big year for me.”

Once his Victorian and Australian duties are complete, Giddey will head to Chicago for Basketball Without Borders, a three-day camp hosting 60 of the elite youngsters across the planet.