THE players’ lounge at the Kennel erupted early on Wednesday afternoon.
Looking forward to a well-deserved bye weekend, our playing group congregated around the TV.
With two-and-a-half minutes left to play in game three of the NBA play-offs, Matthew Dellavedova sunk what many are describing as a “circus shot”.
We already had a number of basketball fanatics before the play-offs, but after Delly’s heroics in game three, we now have a whole lot more.
It has been well documented that a lot of existing AFL footballers were elite junior basketballers.
Scott Pendlebury is probably the most written about, but I would think that the AFL Basketball All-Stars would be a highly talented side.
The Bulldogs alone could put a decent team on the court.
Matthew Boyd tells me he ran the point guard position expertly when he was younger, and Marcus Bontempelli slotted in at shooting guard before he decided to pursue a career in football.
Starting at small forward would be Kobe Stevens, a Victoria Country representative from East Gippsland, and filling the power forward and centre positions would be Ayce Cordy and myself after playing state basketball together in the mid-2000s.
Our depth might be an issue, but Bob Murphy would probably come on as sixth man – he was a skinny but effective shooting guard for Warragul in the mid-1990s.
If Sam Darley lacked skill, he would make up for it with enthusiasm and hustle and Lukas Webb still shoots the ball very well. As with most sports, the longer it is since I have played, the better I tell people I was.
I remember playing against the likes of Taylor Walker, Jack Watts and Anthony Morabito and watching Ballarat’s Mitch and Nathan Brown.
At some point, we all made the same decision.
For me, it was a decision made late in 2007.
I had played a season of TAC Cup footy with the Rebels and before the 2008 pre-season sat down with then-Rebels coach Chris Maple and regional manager Phil Partington.
They dangled a carrot in front of me that any teen would have trouble saying no to, telling me that if I committed my energies to football I was a chance to get drafted and play in the AFL.
Matthew Dellavedova chose the other alternative.
Growing up in Maryborough, he was surrounded by football.
He could have easily chosen to play with Stewart Crameri or Troy Chaplin, who both hail from the same town, but he chose the round ball.
For years he played for Bendigo and tormented our Ballarat basketball teams before playing for the state, the country, in the American college system and ultimately alongside arguably the best player the game has ever seen at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Who is to say that if he had chosen football he would not be dashing down the Great Southern Stand wing at the MCG this weekend?
WESTERN Bulldogs vice-captain Jordan Roughead writes an exclusive column for The Courier fortnightly. Roughead was drafted from North Ballarat Rebels in the 2008 AFL Draft and made his AFL debut in round five, 2010. He played his junior football with Lake Wendouree.