PROMISING Warrnambool basketballer Leigh Saffin is leaving no stone unturned as he strives to reach his playing potential.
The Mailors Flat teenager will use the Warrnambool Seahawks’ Country Basketball League (CBL) south-west conference season to fine-tune his game and push for regular court time with the club’s Big V division one men’s side next season.
The eight-team CBL season tips off tonight, with the Seahawks using the competition to develop teenagers aged between 17 and 19.
At 18, Saffin fits that bill.
He played the final four Big V matches in 2012, averaging a tick over 10 minutes a game.
“I try and do something every day, whether it’s weights, on court or running up hills,” Saffin said.
The Brauer College student spent a year in Lithuania playing basketball and returned in May.
Saffin is the only player on the Seahawks’ CBL roster with overseas experience.
“It was an exchange program and I sent a video of myself playing,” he said.
“It’s a different style of basketball over there. It was good to get to play with the best kids in the country.
“It is a lot quicker over there, more athletic, and the coaches are tougher and practice is more often.”
A shooting guard, Saffin is 195 centimetres tall and “hopefully” still growing.
Saffin said athleticism, shooting and passing were his strengths.
As for the Seahawks’ CBL team, Saffin said most players had been preparing since the Big V season ended in July.
“We have been working very hard. It will be good to finally get it started,” he said.
“We should be a lot faster than the other teams in the league but height and strength will be harder against the stronger teams.”
The Seahawks joined the CBL south-west competition for the 2011-12 season.
Saffin said it was a positive step for Warrnambool basketball.
He said it created a pathway for players wanting to take the next step.
“It is really good. It gives us something to do,” he said.
“It is a summer-type pre-season for the (Big V) Seahawks.
“It will be good to have a good competition to play in against different faces.”
Warrnambool hosts Corio Bay Stingrays at St Joseph’s Primary School stadium at 7pm tonight.
Mount Gambier Lakers have a double-header to start their season, meeting Hamilton Hurricanes tonight and Portland Coasters tomorrow.
Horsham Hornets host Colac Kookas in the other round one match.