Just 15 and off to a bright start
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
WHEN Nike came up with their world-famous slogan 'Just Do It', I wonder if they had talented Gladstone basketballer Nicole Just in mind.
Just, who celebrates her 15th birthday today is another of the long list of juniors to roll off the Gladstone sporting production line.
An energetic and eloquent young woman, Just has plenty to be proud about.
A state representative in both basketball and volleyball, Just has been pinpointed as a star of the future by being inducted into the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) in Rockhampton last weekend.
"To be inducted in the QAS squad was a huge thrill for me, I was very excited,'' Just said.
"I am the third youngest in the basketball team and I am just happy my hard work has paid off.''
When Just talks about her hard work, she definitely means it ? getting up at 5.30am every morning. Three mornings a week, Just trains under the guidance of Port City Power coaches Dean Page and Ben Claughton, while the other two mornings are devoted to volleyball, where she is part of the Gladstone State High School of Excellence program. Throw that in with school work, afternoon training four days a week, games, travel and gym work ? it doesn't leave her much time for anything else.
"My timetable keeps me busy alright,'' she joked. "But if I didn't enjoy it, I don't think I would be doing it ? I just love basketball and volleyball.
"My coaches Dean, Ben and Mr van der Weide are great and thankfully my teachers have been fantastic too.
"I just hope I don't have to give one or the other away, because I love playing both.''
And backing her every step of the journey is mum Jacquie who Just credits for everything she has achieved.
As for the future, Just knows exactly what she wants. "My goal is to finish school and get a US college scholarship if I can,'' she said.
"It doesn't matter if it is for basketball or volleyball, to get one for either would be just a dream.