Thursday, May 11, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A GENUINE passion for hoops and strong will to succeed have helped transform schoolboy Zac Uhr into a prolific scoring whiz kid in the fast paced sport of wheelchair basketball.
Since his introduction to the game as a fresh faced ten year old the rangy Uhr has developed into one of the region’s best young ‘bigs’ – with the 2025 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships well in his sights.
It has been a meteoric rise for the 16 year old St Patrick’s College Mackay student who was quickly elevated to the Australian Under 23 Spinners Program under the guidance of five time Paralympian and former Rollers captain Brad Ness.
The promising Uhr has attended Under 16 Emerging Camps at the Australian Institute of Sport since the age of 15 where Head Coach Ness has provided an elite training environment that helps athletes identify what it takes to represent the ‘green and gold’ on an international stage.
Zac was recruited by the Mackay Machines at the age of ten and blooded in the Northern Challenge competition where he developed his scoring and rebounding against sides from Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton.
“I learnt so much in those formative years by simply observing matches and just being part of the group,” recalled Zac.
By the age of 13, Uhr was a regular in the Mackay side where he blossomed under the coaching of Peter Sumpter and held his own against older and wiser opponents.
Revelling in his role as a ‘big,’ Zac showed courage and skill to help the Machines reach the Challenge Final and this year achieved a personal milestone when appointed team captain.
He made his State debut for the Queensland Rolling Thunder at the 2019 National Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Townsville.
Zac recently skippered the Machines at the Classics tournament in Brisbane where they finished runners up to Rockhampton – teaming up with talented Australian U/23s colleague Brayden Foxley-Conolly, 18; Jordan Williams, Ryan Williams, Shannon Buxton and Sherri Jennings.
Uhr also plays basketball for the Renegades Under 16s and Under 18s and in July will participate in the inaugural National Wheelchair Basketball League round robin series for Southern District Spartans against teams from Sydney, Wollongong, Darwin and Perth.
“My dream is to attend college in the United States, study sports journalism and represent the Australian Rollers one day at the Olympics and World Championships” revealed Zac.
By Chris Karas
Wheelchair basketball ace Zac Uhr has achieved plenty at the age of 16 – captaining the Mackay Machines and forcing his way into the Australia Under 23 Spinners squad