JARRYD MCGUANE THE ADVOCATE North-West Thunder and Wynyard guard Tre Armstrong says the opportunity to represent Australia has given him confidence to chase loftier basketball goals.
Armstrong came off the bench and played the shooting guard and small forward positions for the duration of the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship, which the Australian Emus won with an unbeaten record.
The 18-year-old said representing Australia was a great experience and the gold medal was a bonus.
“The special thing with my achievement is that it is rare, not many people have had the opportunity to play for Australia,” Armstrong said.
“So the fact that I have a gold medal to account for it in something not many people get the chance to do is very special.”
Armstrong said it took the team some time to realise they were the team to beat at the championship.
“We knew we were one of the better teams there, but we didn’t think we would win by as much as we did in our opening games.
“We built confidence with every game we played, so by the end we knew we were favourites and had to take care of what we were supposed to do.”
A noted shooter and scorer at SEABL and NWBU level, Armstrong played more of a support role in the side and was happy to do the little things to help the Emus to the win.
“I came off the bench in short spurts to be a ball mover, play good and hard defence and be a leader with my voice.
“When you have got players around you, you don’t need to score as much and I didn’t shoot as well as I liked during the week, but I passed the ball and rebounded really well.”
Coming back to Australia with his SEABL and NWBU senior commitments over, the Marist Regional College student said he would focus on the upcoming NWBU under 22 season.
“My focus will turn back to Wynyard, playing for the under 22s and the state league before the National Under 20 Championship in February.
“It is a good opportunity to come back and be one of the main leaders, when you come in and have experience like I have, there is an expectation you have to lead more.”
Coming to the end of his schooling this year, Armstrong said he had been talking to American colleges and would be taking the next few months to work through the interested schools.
“At the moment I have been talking to American colleges and hopefully by the end of the year I will have a fair grasp where I want to go and I will commit to a school.
“I have got all the school stuff sorted, it is just about collecting a few more scholarships and then making that decisions.
“I have spoken to six or seven schools all up, but my main interest has come from California Baptist, Montana and Cal State Fullerton.”
It has been a big year in basketball for the Armstrong family, with Tre’s brother Taran awarded with a NBA Global Academy Scholarship with Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
Their father Ben was a skilled basketballer in his own right on the Coast and he said he was so proud of the success his boys had achieved.
“I am so proud of them, it is so hard to say what it means because it is the start of a journey from their junior days,” Ben Armstrong said.
“They were always going succeed at some level, but it has all come all of a sudden and it is a higher level than I got to by a long, long way.”