BREAKING: Knight picked for Qld North state basketball team
BASKETBALL: It probably has not come as much of a surprise to many observers, but it has to Ben Knight.
The basketball prodigy, who stands at 195cm, is the sole Central Queenslander selected in the Queensland North team that will play in the Australian Under-16 Junior Championships in Darwin from July6-13.
"Still can't believe it, to be honest ... I'm totally stoked and can't wait to get to it," Knight said.
Oh, he can also slam dunk - at age 14! A rarity.
His ability to bring the ball down the floor in transition is a weapon few of his size have and Knight believes this attribute may have delivered him the state gig.
"I think generally my speed, strength and agility for my size is possibly an advantage," he said.
"I love to attack the basket, which is not something that the bigger players do as much usually."
Knight stood tall at the recent under-16 Classics in Brisbane, where the youth version of the Gladstone Port City Power finished third.
He averaged 21.29 points in seven games, shot five three-pointers and also attended two state training camps under coaches Brady Walmsley, Ray Cooper and Luke Cann.
"At the camps, I think I got a lot more confident with being more physical against bigger players," Knight said.
And indeed there were bigger players, such as his state teammate, Townsville's Kane Runnalls.
Knight's confidence and aggression might have perhaps cost him at times in his journey, but his maturity and control were on show for the coaches, who just encouraged him to do what he does best.
"The coaches just said for me to keep doing what I was doing, and that's driving hard to the hoop and shoot when I'm open," he said.
With older brothers Mitch (already getting more minutes with the Power's QBL side) and Luke (one of the Power's three development players) showing the way, Knight will no doubt follow suit.
"In the last couple of years, I think I've really improved with my ball-handling and speed up the court, finishing at the hoop with my shots," he said.
"Now I can dunk which is also an advantage for someone my age.
"Can't wait to get into it."
Meanwhile former Gladstone player Haizyn Mellars (Gold Coast) has been selected in the U16 South Queensland team which will also compete in the same championship in the Top End.
U16 Queensland North team
Jaylon Beecroft, Cairns; Aidan Collins, Mackay; Reagan Crees, Cairns; Rory Hawke, Townsville; Tyrese Jones, Mackay; Ben Knight, Gladstone; Joseph Macpherson, Townsville; Kaleb Mitchelhill, Townsville; Kane Runnalls, Cairns; Luca Yates, Townsville