Bill on a roll

Coffs Harbour?s Bill Latham returning from Malaysia after playing in the wheelchair basketball tournament.
Coffs Harbour?s Bill Latham returning from Malaysia after playing in the wheelchair basketball tournament.

COFFS Harbour's Bill Latham, 15, has returned from Malaysia after playing wheelchair basketball in the Asia Oceania World qualifying tournament.

A year 10 student at John Paul College, Bill is the youngest member of the Australian under-23 wheelchair basketball team, the Spinners, who played inthe tournament held over five days in Kuala Lumper.

The team, chosen from across Australia, looks strong with a fabulous depth of experience from the younger players in the Australian men's team, the Rollers.

Bill was an exciting choice from the Australian selectors who overlooked his tender years (15) and chose him on skill and potential.

This followed his wonderful debut season in the National Basketball competition last year playing for the Wentworthville Wheelkings.

The Australian under-23 junior wheelchair basketball team has qualified for the World Junior Championships to be held in Birmingham, England in August this year, after sweeping through the Asia Oceania qualifying tournament undefeated.

The Australian team defeated Japan twice (53-42 and 60-57) and Malaysia twice (117-8 and 123-8).

Bill was the top scorer in the final game against Malaysia.

The team name Spinners was actually chosen by Bill earlier this year, after being voted most popular choice by members of the under-23 squad.

Bill who returned from Malaysia on the weekend will have just one week off before attending the under-20 National Games in the school holidays at Narrabeen in Sydney.

NSW will be involved in games against all Australian States as well as international teams from the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and Papua New Guinea.

Bill, who is again one of the youngest players on this team, was named NSW captain earlier this year.

He will be aiming to again make the Australian All Star team who traditionally play the final game against the top international team (usually USA).

Bill trains very hard for the sport that he loves.

One of his training programs involves swimming squad with Cheryl Neville at the local Olympic pool.

He rarely has the opportunity to compete in swimming due to his basketball commitments but did manage to get to a D sport swim meet in March at Blacktown.

He broke five NSW State age records and three open men's State records in the five events he contested at this meet which is not a bad effort for a basketball player.

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