It came as a surprise, but a call from Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence coach Adam Caporn is one scholarship recipient Josh Kunen remembers fondly.
Kunen, who found his passion for basketball in Ballarat, is hoping to use this great opportunity to springboard his dream of playing professional basketball.
Having first taken to the court in grade six, he then joined Saints Basketball Club which led to selection in under-16 and under-18 representative sides before moving to Melbourne at the start of 2016 and once more to Canberra mid-way through 2017 to further his basketball ambitions.
Kunen has taken his game overseas during his studies at Box Hill Secondary College and has represented Country Victoria. The youngster is not lacking in height, towering over many of his opponents throughout his junior career.
He hopes being involved in an environment like Canberra’s Centre of Excellence will allow him to fast track his development.
“It (the phone call) came as a surprise, a good surprise obviously,” Kunen said.
“I just want to play professionally wherever I can, Europe, Australia, NBA – just anywhere I can play professionally.
“I think for a lot of kids, they have the skills, but it’s the whole body that they need to develop (the CoE will help me with that).”
Kunen is not lacking in dedication when it comes to his basketball, the travel factor has been something that is par for the course when it comes to paving a career. But he has even changed position throughout his short career, something that is not always a smooth transition.
Kunen played as a centre throughout much of his junior days, using his height to his advantage. But as he progressed through the ranks, pure height was not always as effective. The young gun is now a guard – and excelling at it.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot, I won’t say it’s been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it. I think some of it comes naturally, some guys find it hard to transition positions, I think if you put in the work it will come.”
The Centre of Excellence combines studies and high performance training to benefit young athletes.