Playing alongside his talented Ballarat Miners teammates and against Olympian David Barlow, Amos Brooks lived out one of his dreams at the Minerdome on Saturday.
The teenager made his South East Australian Basketball League debut in a victory over Sandringham after putting together strong performances in Big V youth league competition.
While transitioning to the nation’s premier winter basketball league was not an easy step, Brooks said his teammates had helped him enjoy the experience.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys and a better coach to have in that situation, they were supportive and getting around me and helping me out,” he said.
“The crowd is always the best crowd in SEABL – it was amazing to be out there and have so many people watching, it was so fulfilling.”
While Brooks has been training with the Ballarat GMHBA Miners for a while and has suited up twice previously, the absence of Cam McCallum meant he would get his chance on the court.
Coach Nathan Cooper-Brown had a word with Brooks about being ready to step up and fill the gap.
“He wanted to see me take it to another level and see how I dealt with that sort of situation, I just hope I did well enough for him,” Brooks said.
“It was definitely a nerve-wracking experience at first, the nerves were there and a lot of emotions.”
Brooks did not have to wait too long before stepping onto court, with his first appearance in the first quarter.
“I was still feeling fresh just coming out of the warm up and not having sat down for too long, but it was a great opportunity to shake off the nerves and just try to play my role,” he said.
Growing up, Brooks watched basketball stars, including role model Eric Hayes, play for the Miners, and was inspired to take up the sport seriously.
“Going from when I was six years old watching the Miners play to finally being on that court, it’s like, ‘oh wow’, and that atmosphere and crowd made it just a thousand times better,” Brooks said.
“Eric coached me in under-12s and has always been a person that I’ve looked up to… and since Nathan (Cooper-Brown) has jumped on board I’ve had access to his wealth of knowledge as a coach.
“Over the past two seasons, (Miners import) Marvin (King-Davis) has taught me a lot and it is the best team to be a part of, they are all my role models in a way.”
Brooks hopes to one day follow in some of his teammates’ footsteps and play in the National Basketball League, while he said representing the country would be his ultimate dream.