Smithton Basketball Club’s Ryan Nibbs represented the state for a fourth time in the Australian Under 20 and Ivor Burke Championships last month.
Having also received encouragement to try out for state sides in football and cricket, Nibbs chose to pursue basketball.
In his last season playing cricket, Nibbs managed an average of 179 runs in the Under 16 division and was dismissed just twice throughout the year, both during finals for 90 and 115 runs.
A promising career in football also loomed for Nibbs, who played a season with the Circular Head Giants’ Under 17 side before retiring to focus on basketball.
Nibbs has nursed a love of basketball from a young age and recently increased his level of dedication, training every day to improve his technique and physical fitness. He has since received good return on his invested effort, playing for several Tasmanian representative sides including in the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup and national championships.
He feels his frequent selection for state sides has had a positive impact on his personal performance in competition and on the team’s collective performance.
“I’ve played a lot of years of basketball with those blokes,” he says.
“It helps. We work fairly well as a team and it means we’re all mates, which makes it a bit easier.”
Due to the size of the selection pool in the state, Tasmania generally heads into tournaments as a favourite to take home a hiding.
“We made finals this year, that was definitely a highlight,” says Nibbs.
“We lost. And then we lost the play-off for bronze. But we still over performed.”
A career in basketball has been a long term goal for Nibbs, who has dreamt of playing basketball professionally since he was young.
“I want to take it to the highest level that I can. It doesn’t matter how high that is, I’d just love to do it for a living.”
Nibbs eluded that a career in basketball may not be realistic, but remained hopeful.
“I’m 18 this year, if I was gonna make it to the NBA or anything like that I’d know by now,” he says.
“I’m not disheartened by that though. I just want to take it as far as I can, however far that is.”
This year, Nibbs will balance his year 12 studies at Hellyer College while recovering from injury to play as much of the North West Basketball Union season as possible.
Ryan Nibbs took part in his fourth national competition for basketball in February. Picture: Isaac Popowski.