10 May 2023

Patty’s back in the Torres Strait as talent search begins

| Samuel Davis
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Torres Strait Olympian Patty Mills put kids through their paces at the Wongai basketball court on Thursday Island last week. Picture: Matthew Adekponya

THE quest to find the next Patty Mills has started ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and the Aussie Boomers star is helping lead the way.

The NBA champion stopped by Wongai basketball court on Thursday Island last Wednesday afternoon to run a clinic for kids as part of his Speaking My Language national tour.

With around 120 boys and girls scurrying from outer islands and the Northern Peninsula Area to be in attendance, the bronze medallist ran through skills and drills with trainer DJ Sackmann.

Mills’ uncle and fellow Olympian Danny Morseu sat courtside for the clinic and said the event was a special treat for the community.

“It was excellent and you could see the kids were really excited,” Morseu said.

“I think some of them were just really happy to meet someone who plays in the NBA.”

The former NBL champion said the clinic coincides with You for 2032 – the largest talent search the state has seen as it prepares to find our next great athletes to compete on home soil in a decade’s time.

“There’s a platform now with the Olympics coming to Queensland,” Morseu said.

“We need to start looking at preparing our kids to go to the next level.”

Building better facilities in the Torres Strait for sportspeople was crucial, the ex-Brisbane Bullets star said.

“One of the things we want is to build a proper basketball stadium up here with a wooden floor,” he said.

“We’d link it in with a structured program through the school.

“It could be sort of like a mini-AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) in a way.”

Morseu said he’d mentioned the idea to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during his visit last month and again during Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s most recent stay.

“It’s very important and one of the ways we can create opportunities for Torres Strait Islanders,” he said.

Along with Mills and Morseu, Cape York and the Torres Strait is home to some of Australia’s greatest basketball stars including Nate Jawai, Deba George and Tamuri Wigness.

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