CHLOE Bibby’s continued improvement as an upcoming basketball star was highlighted again when she won South East Australia Basketball League’s youth player of the season award on Sunday.
The Warracknabeal basketballer said she had not expected the award given to the season’s best performed player under the age of 21.
“I feel like I’ve definitely improved over the course of the season to play some pretty solid basketball,” she said.
Bibby was also named part of the All-SEABL first team thanks to her impressive first season with the Bendigo Braves.
She said playing for a new team had challenged her in a different way this season. “I had to step up because I was playing in a different role,” she said. “I’ve been able to put into practice the things I’ve been working hard on.”
The Braves finished the regular season second in the southern conference and will take on the Dandenong Rangers, Bibby’s former side, in the first semi-final on Saturday.
It will be Bibby’s last game before she flies to the United States on Monday to start her college basketball journey with Mississippi State University. “Hopefully the team can go all the way without me,” Bibby said.
After confirming her move to MSU in December, a whirlwind period has included Bibby captaining her country at the recent under-19 FIBA world cup.
She said she was honoured to be selected as captain of the Australian Gems but that did not affect how she played. “I’ve always been a leader on court anyway,” she said. “I just tried to keep playing the same way.”
The 19-year-old said the team played well although it did not get the desired result. It was the last chance for Bibby to represent her country in underage basketball. “Now I just have to keep working hard,” she said. “Hopefully one day I get the chance for the Opals if I work hard enough but I can’t really think about that now.”
Now she is packed and ready for a whole new experience and lifestyle abroad. “It’s certainly been a bit of a blur,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to learning as much as I can.”
Once in America training will start almost immediately before the season starts in October. The time between seasons will be similar to the one previously experience by Bibby between SEABL and WNBL seasons.
“I’m expecting training to be pretty tough though because it is their pre-season,” she said. “It won’t really be much of a break.”