ALBURY councillor Ross Jackson said he was excited for all of the Australian Country Junior Basketball Championship participants as he fondly recalled his own time competing in the tournament.
“It was a lot of fun, I’ve got a lot of great memories from there,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet the people you play against in other areas.
“It’s like when the Albury team used to travel to Wollongong to play them — here you’re playing with the guys from the Wollongong team.
“It gives you a great chance to actually meet the people you’re playing against.”
Cr Jackson played in the tournament in 1998 and was on hand yesterday to help officially open the tournament alongside Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman.
During the opening ceremony Cr Wangman joked the reason he didn’t play basketball was because of his height in comparison to the much taller Cr Jackson.
“These sorts of tournaments are absolutely exceptional and wonderful to host,” Cr Wangman said.
“To have so many young people from all over Australia and New Zealand come here to compete is a wonderful sentiment.
“At the end of the tournament they’ll leave with new friends and great memories, and will hopefully look forward to returning here again next year.”
Cr Jackson echoed the statement, saying the bonding with the other players was what made the tournament so special.
“It’s a very proactive environment for people to play in, which is fantastic,” he said.
“I think the main aim is basically relationship building.”
He encouraged all of the teams to give it their best because the sky was the limit.
After all, he knows this better than most, being the brother of Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson.
“If they step up to the next level here, they could be playing (anywhere) in the future,” Cr Jackson said.
“From here they can get pre-selection for the Australian under-22 team, so there’s a long way they can go to from here.”