USA Tour - 2023
For the first time since 2019, Aussie Prospects took teams over to the United States for a college recruiting tour. The tour once again saw players from Western Australia and Victoria combine to take on some of the top talent in the USA. The 2023 USA Tour kicked off with a 3 day training camp held in Dallas, Texas to finalise preparations for the tournaments. This was the first time we have held our training camp in the USA which provided a completely different feel and tone to the group’s preparation. The training camp was followed by 3 high level tournaments:
GASO Satellite Showcase – St Michaels Catholic Academy – Austin, Texas
Prep Hoops Lonestar State Showdown – Drive Nation – Dallas, Texas
GASO Live Period 1 – Duncanville Fieldhouse – Dallas, Texas
Our team selections were as follows:
6’0 PG – Harry Evans (Geraldton Buccaneers, WA) – Class of 23
6’3 PG – Brodie McWhinney (Keilor Thunder, VIC) – Class of 23
6’3 PG – Taoson Duncan (Lakeside Lightning, WA) – Class of 23
6’3 PG/SG – Joel Sloan (Keilor Thunder, VIC) – Class of 23
6’5 Wing – Edward Lual (East Perth Eagles, WA) – Class of 24
6’5 Wing – Michael Chigumbu (Lakeside Lightning, WA) – Class of 24
6’4 Wing – Majier Adut (Coburg Giants, VIC) – Class of 23
6’8 Wing/SF – Tomas Dobson (Geraldton Buccaneers, WA) – Class of 23
6’11 Centre – Ryan Hunt (Lakeside Lightning, WA) – Class of 24
6’9 F/C – Grantham Milner (Nunawading Spectres, VIC) – Class of 25
5’9 PG – Ethan Port-Louis (Perth Redbacks, WA) – Class of 23
5’9 PG – Ethan Carroll (Lakeside Lightning, WA) – Class of 26
6’0 PG – Philip Gibaut (Southwest Slammers, WA) – Class of 23
6’0 PG – Riley Lenzo (Perry Lakes Hawks, WA) – Class of 23
6’3 SG – Anthony Gennacarro (Keilor Thunder, VIC) – Class of 24
6’5 SF – Ryder Blomeley (Rockingham Flames, WA) – Class of 24
6’5 F – Rory Coplin (Joondalup Wolves, WA) – Class of 24
6’5 Wing – Dean Supljeglav (Rockingham Flames, WA) – Class of 23
6’8 F – Finlay Reid (Joondalup Wolves, WA) – Class of 23
6’8 F – Kaidon Sander (Cockburn Cougars, WA) – Class of 23
The teams took in a range of activities on top of the training camp and the games. This included a range of Campus visits where they received presentations from:
Cooper Land (Head Coach St Michael’s Catholic Academy, previous College Coach and previous import for Rockingham Flames in the NBL1 West). Coach Land shared about his journey through high school, getting recruited and playing for Wright State University (NCAA I) and how he transitioned into being a pro-athlete playing in countries all over the world. He spoke about his experience coaching both at the US College level (Rogers State University, NCAA II) and High School level. Following this, the boys undertook a training session held in the beautiful training facility at St Michael’s Catholic Academy.
Matt Neilsen (Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs – NBA). Coach Neilsen arranged for our teams to meet with him at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas, where the Spurs were based whilst playing their final 2 regular season games in Austin. Coach Neilsen, one of Australia’s best basketball products in history, shared about his journey through junior basketball in Australia, playing in the NBL, representing Australia at multiple Olympics and his coaching journey with the Perth Wildcats (NBL), Boomers (National Team), the Austin Torros (NBA G-League) and the San Antonio Spurs. Coach Neilsen shared about some of the players he has worked with and the key attributes that he saw as keys to success. He talked a lot about Nick Kay’s development as a player from working with him at the Perth Wildcats and now seeing him progress to one of the best Forwards in the country, now representing the Australian Boomers. Coach Neilsen was joined by his son, Blake Nielsen, who is an all-conference Guard at St Edwards University and the team Captain. Blake has an extensive history within the Aussie Prospects program having been a part of our AP Academy doing morning sessions, doing multiple Invitationals as well as touring with us to Dandenong and the USA. Blake shared about his journey to College, playing for renowned West Lake High School for year 11 and 12 in High School and the transition from Australian basketball to the US style of play.
Andre Cook (Head Coach) and Steve Ayala (Assistant Coach) of St Edwards University, a NCAA II college in Austin, Texas. Coach Cook and Ayala took the teams on a tour of the campus, sharing the history of the institution and the traditions of the College. The teams were able to walk around the campus and tour the stadium whilst hearing from the two coaches. Coach Cook spoke about his journey as a coach and how he had found success at St Edwards. He shared insights into the attributes they look for in their recruits and spoke very highly of three players he had previously recruited from Aussie Prospects: Corey Shervill (Lakeside Lightning, WA), Jaylen Gordon (Nunawading Spectres, VIC) and Blake Nielsen (East Perth Eagles, WA). Coach Cook also spoke about one of the best players in the Lonestar Conference who plays for a rival program, Rowan Mackenzie (Lakeside Lightning, WA) who was an all-conference Guard for Lubbock Christian University.
Blake Flickner (Head Coach) and Ryan Glenney (Assistant Coach) at Dallas Baptist University, a NCAA II College in Dallas, Texas. Coach Flickner and Coach Glenney arranged for our teams to watch the DBU team go through a practice, followed by an interactive talk with themselves and two of their players, all-conference G/F Cameron Kahn and Guard Graham Kroll. This talk was invaluable to our players and coaches as they were able to ask questions of the coaching staff and two of their key players who shared their insights. Cameron and Graham shared about their recruiting journeys and why they ended up choosing to play for Dallas Baptist. They shared about what it is like on a day to day basis as a college student-athlete and the demands of playing in one of the best NCAA II Conferences in America. The coaches shared their respective insights into their personal journeys and what they look for in recruits. Dallas Baptist, following our tour, secured another previous AP athlete, Deng Dut (Collingwood Allstars, VIC) who transferred from Southern Utah University (NCAA I).
Matt Grahn (Head Coach) of University of Dallas, NCAA III. Team White were able to visit the University of Dallas campus and tour the facilities there whilst also hearing from Coach Grahn. Coach Grahn shared about his journey as a coach and the program he is building at the University of Dallas. He spoke of the particular challenges, as well as the benefits of competing at the NCAA III level. Coach Grahn spoke about the character attributes he looks for in players when recruiting them and the legacy he is wanting to leave on the players who play there. It highlighted the value of Division III programs and dispelled many stereotypes that surround Division III basketball.
David Okwera (Perth Wildcats player, NBL). David spent a good amount of time around our teams, watching our games and speaking with the players whilst in Dallas. David shared about his journey, playing his early basketball in Perth, WA for the Warwick Senators and moving to Melbourne to play with the Kilsyth Cobras as a teenager. David spoke about his transition from junior basketball to the pro’s and his decision to forego college to take up a Development Player roster position with Melbourne United (NBL). David was doing pre-draft workouts with other prospective NBA athletes such as Victor Wembanyama and shared about what the day to day expectations are, the workouts and the difficulty doing it so far from home. David motivated the players to show their best and work together to achieve success and instilled confidence in the boys. It was great to see David proudly wearing his AP jersey at the games embracing the culture of our program.
Whilst in the USA, the group took in a range of other activities that Texas has to offer. The boys became resident Dallas Stars (NHL Hockey) fans, going to multiple playoff games in Dallas. The group experienced a range of well-known Texas BBQ restaurants and the Dallas Fort Worth Stockyards which was one of the key highlights. The cattle workers facilitate a daily parade of Texas Longhorns down the main street and share with the audience the history of the Stockyards and the culture of raising Texas Longhorns through the generations. The renowned Daves Hot Chicken restaurant was a hit for the players. Other favourites were Dairy Queen, Raising Cane’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks and Chic-Fil-A.
We were blessed greatly to have arguably the best basketball videographer in Australia join us on our tour, Garth Nunes from 214 Tribe Media. Garth is an avid basketball fan and from a strong sporting background himself. Garth’s brother Shane was a professional soccer player and played for the Perth Glory. Garth was more than just a videographer on our tour, he was a mentor, advisor, assistant coach and someone who inspired the players to be all they can be. Garth produced some incredible short video’s that really capture the essence of our tour, some of which are included in this website and on our social media pages.
Outcomes following Tour:
Brodie McWhinney – Signed Cameron University
Joel Sloan – Signed South Georgia State College
Majier Adut – Signed Seminole State College
Philip Gibaut – Signed Dakota College at Bottineau
Finlay Reid – Signed Merritt College
Kaidon Sander – Signed Merritt College
Ethan Port-Louis – Signed Knox College
Tomas Dobson – Multiple Offers. Took a visit to Manhattan College (NCAA I) in New York
Dean Supjleglav – Offered
Taoson Duncan – Offered
Rory Coplin – Unofficial Offer
Ryan Hunt – Took a visit to High Point University (NCAA I) in North Carolina