Hooping from Australia to the Sunshine State

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

Worldwide, American basketball is the standard so a 23-hour flight from Australia to Florida is worth it to Coach Kelvin Bowers.

“A lot of kids aspire to play in America,” Bowers said. “The game is a lot more physical here in America so you need to get acclimated and get used to that style of play.”

Bowers brought teams from Australia to southwest Florida to play in The Hamilton International Classic.

The exhibition is put on by Hamilton Hoops, a training program, and Dsean Archilles, who is passionate about getting kids playing opportunities in honor of his brother Sean who was killed in the Club Blu shooting eight years ago.

The games between two Australian teams and two Lee County teams gives kids the experience of what it is like playing in another country.

“Fouls are not called here that would be called in Australia,” Bowers said. “I’ve seen some guys go to the hole with a lot of body contact. They’ll call that in Australia. I like the style here. It’s more acclimated to what kids are going to be used to at a higher level.”

One game in and Australian player Riley Buckley says there is a lot to get used to.

“It’s a lot rougher over here then and then back at home in Australia,” Buckley said. “They play a lot harder and the refs let a lot more go by.”

It is Buckley’s first trip to the states, an opportunity he knew he had to take advantage of.

“In Australia there’s not much you can do with basketball other than NBL and that, but over here there’s a lot more there’s a lot more you can do with high school and college,” Buckley said.

The Australians are off to play in tournaments in Miami and Orlando before they had back to the land down under.

Hamilton Hoops and Dsean Archilles hope to expand the event into a full international tournament.

Archilles told WINK News next year they plan on hosting teams from Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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