CHLOE Bibby will become the first Wimmera basketballer since Mitch Creek to wear Australia’s green and gold.
The Warracknabeal star was picked for the 12-person Australian team to compete at next month’s FIBA Under-17 World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic.
Her selection came after a four-day camp at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence in Canberra for an extended 17-player squad.
The camp finished on Sunday and final selections were announced on Monday.
Bibby said she was in shock when she received the phone call.
“I wasn’t screaming or anything, I just didn’t know what to do,” she said.
“It has been something I’ve dreamed about since I was little, and the hard work is finally paying off.”
Bibby will join Creek and Aaron Bruce as the only other Wimmera basketballer to suit up for Australia in the past 10 years.
“It has been something I’ve dreamed about since I was little, and the hard work is finally paying off.”Chloe Bibby
Creek played for the under-19 men at the 2011 FIBA world championship in Latvia, while Bruce represented the Boomers – Australia’s open age men’s team – in 2006.
Bibby said she was not expecting much playing time at the world championships after being picked as a bottom-age player.
She said her role would likely be to provide rebounding, scoring and energy off the bench.
Bibby said the world championship would represent a huge step up in competition.
“America is obviously going to be very strong, and the way European teams play basketball is very different so that’s going to be interesting,” she said.
“I’m just so excited and it’s going to be a great experience.”
Bibby thanked her family, friends and coaches for helping her reach the Australian team.
“I don’t think a lot of people see the time and energy someone like Chloe puts into training to achieve success like this.”Horsham basketball legend Owen Hughan
One of those coaches, Horsham basketball legend Owen Hughan, said Bibby richly deserved her national call-up.
“From the first time I worked out with her, you could tell she had the physical and athletic build to achieve in the game,” he said.
“But you don’t know – you have an idea that they have the ability to do that, but it comes back to what they want to put in.
“I don’t think a lot of people see the time and energy someone like Chloe puts into training to achieve success like this.”
Hughan said Bibby’s meteoric rise through the basketball ranks would continue if she maintained her work ethic.
“It was about two and a half years ago that her mother contacted me and asked if I could start working out with her, and in only two and a half years she has ended up in the national team,” he said.
“She has still got a way to go now, because they’ll likely be playing her out of her usual position.
“She’ll have to adapt to it because I think that’s where she will have to play when she goes into senior basketball, but it can be done if she’s willing to put that sacrifice in.”