After a fierce showing at the 2022 National Under 16s Championships, we look at some of the best young talents in Australia.
Australia’s rich history of producing international, NBA and WNBA players is set to continue if this year’s National Under 16s Championships is any indication.
The nation’s finest boys and girls under 16s players put on a show in Warwick, Western Australia last week as they aim to secure their professional futures.
Victoria Metro claimed the boys’ championship, with a 85-70 win over Queensland South in the Final on Sunday, led by 24 points from captain Harrison Beauchamp.
In the girls draw, NSW Metro charged to the national title following a commanding 89-61 win over South Australia Metro.
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NSW Metro captain and guard Jessie-May Hall starred with a stat-stuffing performance. Hall dropped 26 points while she added 10 assists and eight rebounds.
The 14-year-old Bankstown Bruin’s star shooter, who is averaging 35 points per game in the Junior Waratah League this year, produced a consistent tournament with 29, 23, 12, 22 and 28 points in her pool games.
Brett Coxsedge, Basketball NSW’s General Manager Coach and Development says Hall is destined for success.
“Jessie-May has got the ability to take over a game and she has all the attributes required to one day play for Australia,” Coxsedge said.
“She is our leading scorer, she is a super athletic kid, and her strength is her speed and agility.”
Victoria Country finished sixth in the boys’ division, but the team’s guard Dash Daniels – the younger brother to 2022 NBA draft pick, Dyson Daniels, has a bright future if he puts his mind to it.
Dash recently told Basketball Australia he’s taking inspiration from his brother’s recent NBA success.
Dyson was taken by the New Orleans Pelicans with the eighth pick in this year’s draft.
Dash now has his eyes set on getting to the NBA after he attended the draft with his brother and family.
“That’s the main goal to get to the NBA, and hopefully I can get there one day,” said Dash Daniels, who starred against Tasmania in the pool rounds with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“It [the draft] was incredible. The people you meet, the facilities and all that was great.
“Competing in the backyard every day after school, it’s very competitive between us two and he’s got me to where I am today and look at where he is today.”
TOP 20 PLAYERS AT THE UNDER 16S NATIONAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dash Daniels, Vic Country men (guard)
The younger brother of recent Australian NBA draftee, Dyson Daniels. Like Dyson, Dash is a skilful guard who can shoot and make others look better through pinpoint passing and vision. He averaged 17.25 points in his eight games at the Nationals.
Indy Cotton, QLD South (guard)
Athletically gifted while he has the ability to beat his opponents with sheer speed. Cotton consistently scored in double figures at the National Championships.
Lachlan Clague, NSW Metro (centre)
Standing at 210cm tall, Clague is the biggest kid at the Nationals tournament.
His size helps him dominate in the paint, with rebounds and blocks.
Harrison Beauchamp, Vic Metro (guard/forward)
The Victoria Metro captain and Hawthorn Magic product is physically strong and possesses a sound overall game. Beauchamp excelled in the Final, dropping 24 points. He has length and athleticism while he has a tremendous ability to get up and down the floor.
Deng Manyang, SA Metro (forward)
A standout shot blocker who has bucketloads of potential given his 196cm frame.
Manyang’s inside presence gives him an edge in any game he plays.
Nash Walker, Tasmania (guard)
Walker has been one of Tasmania’s best players at the National Championships, averaging 20.75 points a game.
A consistent shooter who can drive to the rim and fire from range. Walker has caught the eye of officials from the Tasmania JackJumpers.
Ariik Pech, NSW Metro (forward)
Rated by NSW officials as the most athletic player at the Nationals by a “country mile”
The Sudanese-born forward is a handful with his reach and speed.
Sam Blain, NSW Country (point guard)
The boy from Port Macquarie is among the top three or four guard at the Nationals.
Skilful, accurate and a genuine leader, Blain has a bright future.
Emerson Juhasz, QLD South (Guard/forward)
A big body who can use his size and strength to dominate the paint at both ends of the floor.
Juhasz has the ability to go far in the game.
Oscar Marr-McGuire, SA Country (guard)
The go-to guy for SA country and one of the tournament’s best shooters.
Marr-McGuire is also tough, which will hold him in good stead in the future.
Daisy Nousis, VIC Metro (guard)
The McKinnon product has long terrorised Victorian rivals – now she is doing the same on the National stage.
Regularly scores in double figures while she is also more than capable on the defensive end.
Jade Crook, NSW Country (power forward)
The girl from Albury is NSW Country’s best player, and fittingly officials can see a young Lauren Jackson in the way she plays.
Crook has long arms, an ability to rebound and put the ball on floor.
Sitaya Fagan, VIC Metro (forward)
One official likens Fagan to Opals star Ezi Magbegor with her size and dominance in the paint.
Like Magbegor, Fagan is also athletic and can make a difference on the defensive end.
Sophie Taylor, VIC Country (guard)
One of the tournament’s best three-point shooters, Taylor is a formidable force.
She recently put together a weekend of strong performances at the National Junior Classic where she had five games in double figures, including 29 points in a big win over Frankston.
Jessie-May Hall, NSW Metro (guard)
Arguably the best girl’s player at the tournament, Hall is a genuine prospect for the future.
She ticks most basketball boxes and has positive and determined attitude to match.
Sienna Lehmann, SA Country (guard)
Widely regarded as the second-best player at Nationals, Lehmann has special vision and an ability to create open shots for teammates.
She is extremely fit, which helps her run the floor and take over games. The niece of Opals legend Rachael Sporn.
Emma Petrie, QLD South (forward)
The daughter of former NBL power forward Anthony Petrie has the basketball pedigree to achieve at the highest level.
Petrie junior stood out in a pool win over Western Australia Country, scoring 12 points and adding seven rebounds.
Emilija Dakic, VIC Metro (point guard)
Dakic is guard who can steer a side around with his passing while she can create scoring.
She carried good form into the tournament having scored consistently in the Victorian Junior Basketball League.
Andrianna Francis, QLD North (forward/centre)
Rated the best player on the Queensland North team, Francis has the size to dominate any game.
National selectors are keeping a close eye on her.
Zara Russell, ACT (guard)
Crafty, decent shot and has the ability to play multiple positions. Russell is a natural leader.
Coco Hodges, SA Metro (guard)
Hodges knows how to find a basket as SA Metro’s leading scorer. One of the best emerging players in Australia.
Originally published as Australia’s best Under 16’s basketball talent showcase class and future NBA/WNBA potential