Tamworth has a rich history of producing Australian representatives in many sports and Hawks forward Nick Kay hopes the NSW country town can soon add a basketballer to that list.
Names like Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (rugby league) and Josh Hazlewood (cricket) have helped put the home of country music on the map in a sporting sense in recent times.
Now, Kay wants to make a similar impact on the basketball court.
The 24-year-old, along with teammate Mitch Norton, has set his sights on making the Boomers squad for the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup.
The pair travelled to the Gold Coast this week as part of a 20-man training squad which will be whittled down to 12 players for the international tournament in Lebanon next month.
It is always the thing growing up that you want to wear that green and goldNick Kay
“I am excited for the opportunity,” Kay said.
“There is a reason I have been asked to go. I need to go up there and do it to the best of my ability. If I do that, then I guess you’re in for a chance.
“It is always the thing growing up that you want to wear that green and gold.
“To represent Australia would be a huge accomplishment.
“It would be a good thing for the Hawks and for Tamworth because for me, to do that for the Tamworth Association would be a big thing.
“It would be great to be able to look back on it and kind of give young kids something to aspire to.”
Kay and Norton are the only Hawks players at the camp gunning for selection.
The pair have spent their off-season playing together at Southland Sharks in the NZ NBL where they finished runners-up to eventual winners Wellington Saints.
Kay and Norton left on Tuesday night for the Boomers camp.
“We have racked up a few hours together,” Kay said.
“But having Mitch there will be a big thing.
“It always makes things a bit easier when someone is there that you are used to playing with. We are used to each other games. We can work together and do that two man stuff that we do for the Hawks.”
London Olympians Chris Goulding, Kevin Lisch and David Andersen all feature in the 20-man squad which is made up mainly of players from the NBL.
“I really want to learn from all the guys,” Kay said.
“There is guys like [coach] Andrej Lemanis and [assistant] Luc Longley who I haven’t played under before, so hopefully I can learn a few things from then. I will also be going up against some of the best players in Australia so that should be a lot of fun.”
The camp is expected to go for seven days.