Australian under 17 pair Reyne Smith and Taran Armstrong praised by coach after selection
Australian under 17 coach Mark Radford has praised the development of North-West Coast players Reyne Smith and Taran Armstrong following their selection in the national team to play in the Oceania Championships.
Smith and Armstrong made Radford’s final 10-member team after a weekend training camp in Canberra, and will now head to New Caledonia in August for the first step in trying to qualify for the Under 18 Asian Championships next year and the Under 19 World Cup in 2021.
“The selection process was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do because evaluating players in that environment is like splitting hairs,” Radford said.
“Reyne and Taran’s selection was not only taken the from camp but a bulk of work we’ve seen over a period of time like under 18 nationals and other camps they’ve attended.
“But they both had great a camp on the weekend – Reyne had an outstanding game on Saturday night and Taran has gone from strength to strength after nationals.
“He was solid at nationals then had a bout of gastro that didn’t help him, but since then he has got healthy and really kicked on at the Centre of Excellence.”
Radford said the selection of Smith and Armstrong was a tick for the work done not only by Basketball Tasmania, but other organisations.
“Our programs are very consistent and we have full-time coaches, but these boys have had good support through club basketball,” he said.
“They’ve been getting opportunities against older age groups and senior men, and having those places to play where you are continually stretched is a factor.
“But I’ve said to all the boys selected that this tournament is the starting point, it’s not the end point where you are selected as the group going forward, and you have to keep bringing your best and looking to improve.
“Reyne and Taran have to stay on their toes because there are other good players in their positions.”
Basketball Tasmania CEO Chris McCoy said the selection of Smith and Armstrong, along with Radford as coach was a tremendous fillip for the sport in the state.
“We’ve had a great run of players making development camps and national squads and even the teams, but to get Taran and Reyne in this team, two spots out of 10 for Tasmania, is a fantastic performance,” he said.
“Mark’s selection is also a great appointment and another step up for him after other national roles.”