From humble beginnings to basketball royalty: an exploration of the Froling family legacy
A story of competitive spirit, with maybe just a little friendly trash talk thrown in for good measure.
Please note, the interviews conducted for this article took place in late 2022, prior to the incident involving Harry Froling on 22 January of this year. As such, no further reference will be made to the events that transpired on that night.
The Collingwood kids
When compiling a list of Australian basketball’s great families, a few names will come up early and often. Whether it’s the Gaze squad, whose members range from the FIBA Hall of Fame father-son duo of Lindsay and Andrew to 3-time WNBL champion Kate, or the Daltons with three Olympian siblings, there’s no shortage of talent to draw from the well.
Surely, the Frolings have staked their claim amongst the top echelons. Shane and Jenny both enjoyed long, storied careers on the court and the sidelines, and each of their four children — brothers Harry and Sam, and twin sisters Keely and Alicia — have carved out their own decorated hardwood careers.
If you were to rewind the clock to the earliest days of this legacy, however, you may be forgiven for thinking it to be an unlikely result. As a teenager, Shane Froling lived in Fitzroy’s high-rise commission housing flats, growing up in an environment where money was hard to come by, and the vices were all too easy to succumb to.
“In and around that area, it was pretty rough and ready,” Shane explained. “I was probably heading down the wrong pathways.”
His experience with basketball starting out was nothing particularly noteworthy, having played a single season at age 11 before deciding he wasn’t especially interested. Other than an amusing coincidence of familial history — his grandmother worked alongside Andrew Gaze’s in the canteen at Albert Park — the roundball seeds weren’t exactly sprouting in those early days.
Grant Cadee, then of St. Joseph’s School in Collingwood, was in the fledgling stages of his own basketball journey. His father, Colin, was on the hunt for teammates for Grant, to provide an opportunity for his skills to grow. Amongst the ranks would be a 15-year-old Shane Froling.
“Colin wanted to round a number of kids up so Grant could play in a competitive basketball team for Collingwood,” Shane said. “So he ended up with a whole heap of us little ratbags that could play, and he coached us.”
From his humble beginnings, Shane would begin to show a knack for the sport, playing in both the under 16s lineup and the under 18s when a lack of numbers pushed him into action, often playing two games on the same night around the suburbs of Melbourne.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Pick and Roll to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.