Less than 12 months after first donning national colours, Tamworth basketball prodigy Nick Kay is preparing to chase Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast next month.
Kay was on Wednesday named in the Boomers squad that will be shooting for back to back home success after winning gold at the Melbourne games in 2006.
It’s the first time basketball has featured at the games since, and the 25-year old can’t wait to be a part of it.
“I’m looking forward to getting up there and getting to play on home soil again.
“Comm Games is pretty special so to be involved in that is awesome,” Kay said.
Incidentally his Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge was assistant coach of the 2006 side.
“He always said it was a great opportunity and one of those ones that he always looks back on,” Kay said.
“He won a gold there and hopefully we can play well and perform and do the same thing.”
For a lot of the players too, Kay included, it is potentially their ‘Olympics.
“There’s a lot of NBA guys that come back for Olympics and World Cup so this is a great opportunity to show you what you can do in that big competition event.
“And anytime you get the chance to compete to win a gold that fire and fuel will definitely be there,” he said.
It has been a meteoric 12 months for the forward.
He made his international debut in Lebanon in August last year, helping the Boomers win gold at the FIBA Asia Cup.
Impressing there Kay retained his place for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers initially in China and then on home soil, including a memorable home debut in Adelaide late last year.
Now he has the opportunity to wear the green and gold on an even bigger stage.
It will be a special moment too for Kay’s parents Paul and Terrie, who will both be headed up at some stage to catch a game.
“It’s always good when you get these opportunities because it’s as rewarding for them as it is for myself because they did all the trips with me, they drove me everywhere, they drove me down to Sydney and stuck it out all weekend,” Kay said.
The Aussies have been drawn in Pool A and will go in as gold-medal favourites.
“Thankfully we’ve got a similar group that has been working together since July last year and a lot of camps and stuff have been done together so we all know the system and have seen what we are going to be doing and running, so the transition and fluidity of the guys involved has been great and hopefully that will help us transition to the games,” Kay said.
He is pretty happy with his form in the qualifiers. In the four games so far he has averaged 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
”You always like to do a few things better and stuff but that’s part of it, playing against better players that challenge you and make you evolve your game,” he said.
“You’ve just got to keep working and keeping better and just never stay complacent with it.”