Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

NBA Aspirations For Teen Hooper, Cooper Currie

Image: Rising Souths and Mackay Meteors point guard Cooper Currie, 13, is one of the best junior basketball prospects in Queensland

Just like all aspiring young hoopers, Mackay schoolboy Cooper Currie dreams of one day plying his trade in the American National Basketball Association (NBA) competition.

Having already stamped his mark in Queensland Junior Development squads, the promising 13-year-old point guard, who shows a maturity that far belies his years, has taken giant steps towards realising a lifetime goal of joining the professional ranks of his chosen sport.

Currie is one of a batch of outstanding prospects from the Souths club in the Mackay Junior Basketball Association that have caught the eye of State selectors with impressive performances on the Queensland basketball scene.

The St Patrick’s College student joined talented club mates Treyce Ciantar (power forward) and shooting guard Usai Bickey at a National inter-state tournament for Under 15 Emerging State players in Melbourne this month as part of the Future Development Program.

It was a valuable experience for young Currie who more than held his own against players two years his senior in a pressure-packed national tournament atmosphere.

The competition featured the finest up and coming Under 15 talent from across the nation and provided Cooper and his colleagues with a limited time team preparation prior to playing a number of games, simulating that of an Australian Junior Championship series.  

Prior to the January event, Cooper was one of eleven Mackay Meteors and Meteorettes junior representative players that participated in the Basketball Queensland Under14 Future Development Program All-State Camp in Brisbane along with three coaches that included his mother Renae Currie, Liam Cochrane and Aleisha Catip.

It is fair to say that 2022 was a year to savour for the skillful Cooper on the basketball front.

He skippered the triumphant Mackay Meteors Under 14s team to a North Queensland Age Championship title with superb displays during the three-carnival series in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay – showing his leadership credentials and skills set on the boards.

With Cooper leading the way the Meteors combined effectively with each other on court and demonstrated their tactical nouse and natural lay-up and shooting skills to help bring home the trophy.

There was double reason to celebrate when the Mackay Meteorettes claimed the Under 14 Girls championship in a huge sporting fillip for the region.

Following his North Queensland title success, Currie represented Mackay at the State Junior Basketball Championships in Brisbane and turned in superb performances as a junior member of the Mercy College Year 10 side that finished a creditable seventh at the Champion Schools Basketball tournament on the Gold Coast last October.

When seeking guidance and advice on his game, Cooper has a mentor close at hand.  

His mother Renae is an accomplished player and coach in the Mackay region and a stalwart of the Souths club who has taught her son the finer points of basketball since the age of 5.

From the time a young basketball hopeful in Australia steps on the court, he or she most often aspires to participate in the strongest competitions on the planet – the United States’ National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Cooper is no different.

He shares the same surname and on court position with Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry - widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time and as the greatest shooter in NBA history – and dreams of one day following in the steps of Aussie trailblazers Patty Mills, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), Josh Giddey (Oklahoma City Thunder), Joe Ingles (Portland Trailblazers), Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks), Jock Landale (San Antonio Spurs), Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers), Dyson Daniels (New Orleans Pelicans) and Matthew Dellavedova (Sacramento Kings).

At the same age as Cooper, a young Steph Curry dominated the courts back in 2001-02 in Toronto with the all-conquering Queensway Christian College Saints Grade 7 and 8 boys team – scoring 40 points to 50 points a game as the side won the Canadian Schools Under 13s championship undefeated.

When Steph’s father Dell retired from a 16-year NBA career which included a three-year stint with the Toronto Raptors the family returned to Charlotte with young Curry later linking with the Warriors and proving the architect of four NBA championship titles.

Cooper’s immediate goals are to continue developing his skills with Souths and the Mackay Meteors, St Patrick’s College and force his way into the Queensland Under 16 representative squad.

If natural ability, vision and determination are any guide then the Mackay playmaker is well on the way to realising those dreams.

By Chris Karas

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