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Helping Basketball to Grow – Q&A with Jack Bartholomeusz

Interest in basketball in Canberra has grown over the last ten years, with the number of people playing increasing each year. A large reason for this is due to a number of Australians playing in the NBA, but basketball itself has also grown in Australia with the likes of the Waratah Leagues Canberra Gunners, having success over the past seasons.

Jack Bartholomeusz is the starting guard for the Canberra Gunners and has hopes of one day being selected in the NBL or the NBA. But Bartholomeusz also has another goal, to help the younger generation of talent to achieve their dreams.

Bartholomeusz has started coaching under 10’s and under 17’s basketball for both his high school, Marist College Canberra, and for the Canberra Gunners Youth Program.

Image provided by Jack Bartholomeusz

Q: What is it like playing basketball in a small market?

I guess, there is both pros and cons to it. Growing up and playing in a small market meant that you had a better opportunity to play for the state team because there wouldn’t be many people playing.

But, one of the downfalls was that it is hard to be seen by bigger markets such as the NBL and NBA. This was because Canberra was never really known for having a high amount of talent. This has changed however, with the AIS and the NBA Academy being in Canberra it allows for kids to get a greater chance.


Q: Do you think you would have had a better opportunity to play high-level basketball (NBA, NBL) if you grew up in a different state?

I personally believe that I wouldn’t. Everyone in Australia has an equal amount of opportunity, I think it just comes down to how well you play. Obviously living in Canberra means some players don’t get recognised as much as other players around the county, but with social media these days, it is so much easier.


Q: How are you trying to help younger talent to grow?

I think just leading them in the right direction. A lot of the kids that I coach already have the talent and the skill, but some just lack either the confidence or the drive to pursue that goal.

It is also a bit different when you coach different ages. Coaching under 17’s allows you to be a bit more aggressive in your approach to them because they want to learn and they want to achieve their goals. Whereas coaching lower ages such as under 10’s, it means you have to be a bit more patient because they are too young to know what they want, in terms of their basketball dreams.

But I think leading them in a direction where they can have more opportunities while also enhancing their skills and talent is the best way I can help.

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Q: How do you think basketball in Canberra can continue to grow?

I think the way we are going is just fine. There is more and more events, activities and players each year. I think the players and coaches are happy with the way basketball is operating in Canberra. I also believe with more and more Australians in the NBA will also help basketball to grow.


Q: What are your plans for the future for both yourself and for your coaching?

For myself, I think that I want to keep pursuing my own basketball career whether it is NBL or Canberra Gunners. I believe no one should ever give up on a dream but I am also happy coaching.

For my coaching, I like where I am at the moment but I guess I would like to coach higher levels such as Premier League basketball and maybe one day, coaching the Canberra Gunners.

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