WARRNAMBOOL has a new Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Australian basketballer Nathan Sobey scored 10 points in the Boomers’ 87-47 thumping of Canada on the Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon.
The 2016 Warrnambool Seahawks championship winner and Emmanuel College alumni reeled in eight rebounds and had three assists in the comfortable victory.
He was also the equal second-highest scorer for Australia – Melbourne United shooting guard Chris Goulding drained 11 and Illawarra Hawks’ Nick Kay also sank 10.
Former Warrnambool Seahawks mentor Matt Alexander, who coached Sobey at Big V level just two years ago, said the Adelaide 36ers guard was encouraging a new generation of south-west basketballers.
“The kids look at the NBA and they are dreaming big and watching Nathan make the Australian team is inspiring,” he told The Standard.
“A lot of our boys have Nathan Sobey tops and go and watch him play whenever they can.”
Alexander said the athletic Sobey had the ability to hold his spot on the Boomers’ roster once it regains its star-studded NBA contingent.
“He’s a playmaker who has put his best foot forward when all the NBA guys come back,” he said.
“I think he fits into the Australian system very well. He gets assists and gets to the rim.
“The Australian coaches have to be thinking that Nathan gets to the rim any time he wants.
“Nathan’s always been able to do that, it’s a strong part of his game.”
Current Warrnambool Seahawks coach Tim Gainey, who played Big V with the gold medallist, said Sobey’s story was one of persistence.
“Nowadays they throw (the young players) into the fire, whereas Nathan had older guys around so he sat and watched and took it all in,” Gainey said of Sobey’s introduction to Big V ranks.
“He kept working hard and tightened up his skills, attitude and body language. When he went away (to college in the United States) he matured with school and workouts.
“He was always going to improve his game and put it all together. He didn’t make state teams, so it goes to show that’s not everything, you just have to keep working and it will happen.”
Current Warrnambool Mermaids coach Louise Brown said Sobey had “done an amazing job”.
“I think it is great, especially because he played here in 2016, so it’s good for the young kids who all watched him play for the Seahawks,” she said.
“They feel like they have a bit of a connection.”
Sobey became the second Warrnambool athlete to win a medal at the Games after Hockeyroos striker Madi Ratcliffe secured silver on Saturday.
Hamilton export Melissa Tapper won gold on Saturday in the TT10-6 singles on Saturday.