Seven Aussies to participate at NBA All-Star Weekend

Australia will be well represented at the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, with seven locals – three men and four women – being selected to the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp.

Claudia Armato, Britney Epperson, Chelsea D’Angelo and Cassidy Gould will fly the Aussie flag in the women’s camp, while Samson Froling, Jacob Epperson and Callum Dalton are the trio of men heading to New Orleans.

Adding to the Australian flavour, Thon Maker, will be one of the coaches at the camp. Also, former Sydney Kings head coach, Joe Connelly, will be on the coaching staff. Connelly is now an assistant for the Denver Nuggets.

The camp is in its third year, as 67 boys and girls from 32 countries and territories will descend at All-Star Weekend to enhance their basketball skills.

“The Basketball Without Borders Global Camp is a great opportunity for the top male and female prospects from around the world to compete against one another, learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches, and experience the excitement of NBA All-Star,” NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations & Head of Elite Basketball, Brooks Meek said.

“The Basketball Without Borders program was founded on the belief that basketball brings young players from different backgrounds together and transcends cultural boundaries.”

Australia has had success at previous events, as Harry Froling took out the MVP award last year, where Maker, Matur Maker and Williams McDowell-White joined him. Other Aussies to attend the camp in the past include Isaac Humphries and Tom Wilson.

The Aussie links extend past the playing and coaching groups as well. President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches, Australian Patrick Hunt, will be one of four camp directors.

Along with Maker, other current NBA players who will serve as coaches at the event include Emmanuel Mudiay, Meyers Leonard, Wayne Ellington, Justin Holiday and Cheick Diallo.

These players, along with the other coaches and directors, will put the campers through the ringer over the three-day event. The activities will include numerous on-court skills, such as movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting, 5-on-5 games and more. Furthermore, off-court aspects, such as life skill seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication, will also be a part of the camp.

Froling and Dalton have represented Australia at the 2016 FIBA Under-17 World Championships, and both also hold scholarships at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence. Epperson is a senior at La Lumiere School in Indiana, where major colleges are recruiting him across America.

D’Aneglo and Gould are both on the Melbourne Boomers WNBL roster, Epperson has represented the Melbourne Tigers at state level and Armato is one of Australia’s top point guard prospects.

The BWB camp has yielded great success over the years. Since 2001, 43 campers have been drafted into the NBA, while 23 former participants were on opening night rosters for the 2016/17 season.

“We look forward to the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp taking place in New Orleans and tipping off another exciting year of the BWB program,” FIBA National Federations & Sport Director, Zoran Radovic, said.

“The camp, which brings together youth players from across the globe, has already gone from strength to strength in a very short period of time and provides campers with the experience of a lifetime, both on and off the court."