Wodonga's Big V recruit paying dividends off the court

CAPTAIN KANNON: Youngsters across the Wodonga Basketball Association have embraced the game with Kannon Burrage leading clinics. Picture: MARK JESSER

CAPTAIN KANNON: Youngsters across the Wodonga Basketball Association have embraced the game with Kannon Burrage leading clinics. Picture: MARK JESSER

EVERY morning from Monday to Thursday, Kannon Burrage hauls himself out of bed in the early hours of the morning to run a basketball clinic.

It's been roughly eight months since the native of East Moline, Illinois made his way to the Border as part of a professional career covering stints in Slovenia and Singapore.

Life in Wodonga is a little bit different to what he's used to, but the 26-year-old is loving every minute of it – especially since becoming the development officer for the Wodonga Basketball Association.

Putting together the early morning 'Breakfast Club', a one-hour clinic running from 7:15 to 8:15 Monday to Thursday is just one of the programs Mr Burrage has started.

He also hosts a free Thursday night clinic in between commitments with Big V squad the North East Bushrangers

“I tried out for a few teams in Melbourne and they actually recommended I come up here to check things out, and the Bushrangers took me on board,” he said.

“I've enjoyed it here since day one, I've got in good with the community, the team have been very gracious.”

He's not the only one enjoying his time here – more and more kids are flocking to his morning and afternoon clinics.

The association even had to put a call out on social media for some helpers after more than 50 showed up to the Thursday clinic a few weeks ago.

Developing a relationship with students is no problem for the easygoing guard, who works as a substitute teacher when he isn't playing.

For Mr Burrage, seeing numbers at the Breakfast Club rise from just a handful to at least 10 almost every day, if not more, has been the most satisfying part of the job.

“I've been extremely humbled, the other day we had 24 come down in the morning,” he said.

“But in a day-to-day sense, I'm waking up every day feeling excited.

“I love what I do.

“I get to spend a lot of my time in the gym working with the kids.

“It's been rewarding, the first day we only had four or five come down, now we're consistently in double digits.

“They’ve been improving noticeably, but the most rewarding part has been the social aspect of it.

“The kids are making friends, they’re getting a good breakfast and a good start to their school day.”

Information about Mr Barrage's clinics can be found on the Wodonga Basketball Association's Facebook page. 

The Bushrangers’ 2017 Big V campaign starts at the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday night from 7pm.

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